Updated: Oct 4, 2022
Carpet Warranty: Does My Vacuum Cleaner Matter?
You have just spent a ton of time shopping for new carpet, you have lived through the installation process, and now you think you're all done with the home confusion and floor remodeling project, right?
Did your salesperson review and give you a copy of your carpet warranty? If not, you might be in for a shock. Did you know most carpet warranties have specific guidelines on what vacuum cleaners you should be using on your new rug? You might be looking at buying a new vacuum cleaner, simply due to the requirements of your carpet warranty.
In this article, we will review some of the major carpet manufacturer's warranties, and show you what they say about vacuum cleaner use. If you just purchased a new carpet, or if you're looking to purchase a new carpet, read on... You don't want to miss this information.
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Carpet Warranty: Does My Vacuum Cleaner Matter?
Carpet Warranty: Does My Vacuum Cleaner Matter?
On the back of most carpet samples, you will find a product label, that will give you the style name of the carpet, color name, manufacturer name, etc...Most of the time, on this label, you will also see information about the product warranty.
Here are a few warranty examples of what might be on the product label:
"Lifetime Stain & Soil Warranty"
"25 Year Quality Warranty"
"Ten Year Product Warranty"
"30 Day Customer Guarantee"
The question becomes: what do these types of statements actually mean? As a customer, you should know they don't mean anything. These statements are nothing more than marketing and sales propaganda. If you ever have a need to file a carpet warranty claim, the manufacturer will not be looking at the back of the carpet sample for approval. Rather, they will use their full carpet warranty, which is usually full of disclaimers, exclusions, and requirements.
Each carpet manufacturer has a carpet warranty, written by lawyers and professionals, that makes it sometimes quite difficult to get a claim paid.
These warranties are on each company's website, usually found with a link, hidden at the bottom of their website page. In a perfect world, retail salespeople should print you a copy of the warranty, and discuss with you what is in the document, and what you need to do to protect your warranty.
However.....very few stores actually do this. Most of the time, you buy your carpet, get it installed, pay your bill, and the salesperson and store are on to the next customer.
There are all sorts of useful information in most carpet warranties, and one of those useful pieces of information that every customer should know about is: what is an approved vacuum cleaner?
Imagine, spending a ton of money on a new carpet, and then something happens, and you're facing a carpet claim. You get with your local flooring professional, turn in a claim, and a few weeks later, you discover that your claim is denied...simply because you were not using an approved vacuum cleaner. We don't want that to happen.
We thought it would be a good idea to examine some of the major carpet manufacturers, and take a look at some of their warranties. As we look at some of these examples, we think some of the language used, and exclusion listed in these warranty brochures might surprise you.
When making a large purchase (like a carpet), you always want to be informed. No one likes unpleasant surprises, especially if it costs you money.
Carpet Warranty: Mohawk Flooring
Mohawk Flooring has a 26-page carpet warranty brochure that you can see on their website.
If you take a close look at the Mohawk Warranty, it is filled with items that most customers simply don't know about. Most local stores never take the time to review product warranties.
In the brochure Mohawk Flooring states:
"Most dirt, and even dust, takes the form of hard, dry particles, which can be removed with a vacuum cleaner. When left in the carpet, these gritty, sharp particles abrade the pile of the carpet. Regular vacuuming literally extends your carpet’s life as well as enhancing its appearance, so the type of vacuum cleaner you use is important. A vacuum’s performance will vary based on the carpet’s fiber type and construction. A good vacuum typically has features that allow you to adjust the height, beater bar rotation, and fan speed. Vacuums with large wheels, self-propelled vacuums, and/or specialty tools can also help ensure easy and effective carpet maintenance." - Mohawk Flooring Warranty Brochure
One of Mohawk Floorings' most popular types of Carpet has the SmartStrand Technology" label on it (we have a great article, SmartStrand Carpet Cleaning Guide, that does a wonderful job of explaining what this is). Interestingly enough, on the Mohawk Flooring Website, they have a section completely dedicated to "Approved SmartStrand Carpet Vacuum Cleaners." Mohawk Flooring gives you a list of recommended and approved vacuum cleaners. In other words, if you buy a SmartStrand Carpet, and don't use one of their approved vacuum cleaners, you could be putting your carpet warranty at risk.
Carpet Warranty: Shaw Floors
Similar to Mohawk Flooring, Shaw Floors has an entire section on its website devoted to carpet warranties. You can find it here: carpet warranty
As stated above, it is very important to get a copy of your carpet warranty, and fully understand what is covered, and what is not covered.
"Invest in a quality vacuum certified through the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval/Green Label Vacuum Cleaner Program.
For light traffic areas - vacuum the carpet traffic lanes twice weekly and the entire area once weekly. For heavy traffic areas - vacuum the carpet traffic lanes daily and the entire area twice weekly.
For shag, wool and wool-blend styles, suction-only vacuum or a vacuum with an adjustable brush lifted away from the carpet so it does not agitate the pile.
For Shaw Floors Caress styles, select from a Shaw Floors approved vacuum cleaner which has proven to be gentle enough for the most luxurious of plush carpet.
For all other carpet styles, use a vacuum with a rotating brush or combination beater/brush bar that agitates the carpet pile and mechanically loosens soil.
Test the beater/brush bar in an inconspicuous location before regular use to make sure it doesn't produce excessive fuzzing." - Shaw Floors Vacuuming Your Carpet
The above quote was taken directly from the Shaw Floors Vacuuming Your Carpet Section on the Shaw Floors Website Page. The interesting lines in this statement (we put in bold) are:
Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval/Green Label Vacuum Cleaner Program (we will discuss the Carpet and Rug Institute a little bit later in this article).
Shaw Floors approved vacuum cleaner
The important thing to notice is: Shaw Floors goes out of its way to discuss vacuum cleaners, and which type of vacuum cleaner to purchase.
Carpet Warranty: Dream Weaver Carpet
The Dream Weaver Carpet Brand, owned and operated by Engineered Floors, is one of the newer carpet mills in the U.S. We have a good article, Dream Weaver Carpet Review, that discusses all of the different products within this line, that you might find helpful.
Upon examination of the Dream Weaver Website, you will find a question and answer section that asks, "What type of vacuum should I use and how often do you recommend vacuuming?" They answer this question in a very interesting manner:
"The Carpet and Rug Institute provides a great list of recommended vacuums that can be found here. The CRI recommends vacuuming your carpets at least once a week, and daily in areas of high-traffic use." - Engineered Floors Website
In the Dream Weaver Warranty Brochure, it states: "WARRANTY EXCLUSIONS These warranties specifically exclude any carpet that has been treated after installation with any foreign agents, non-residential installations, abnormal abuse, and carpet exposed to hot substances or other abusive conditions that deteriorate the appearance of the pile fibers. Specifically excluded from this warranty is crushing caused by furniture and damage caused by tears, pulls, burns, wheel traffic, or athletic equipment."
If you take this a step further, if you are using a vacuum cleaner that is deemed to cause crushing, you might have an issue with your Dream Weaver Warranty.
Once again, a common theme with all of these carpet manufacturer warranties is referring to the Carpet and Rug Institute. What is the Carpet & Rug Institute?
Carpet Warranty: The Carpet and Rug Institute
The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) is the trade association for the North American carpet industry. One of the activities the CRI has in place is the only scientific program to test and measure the effectiveness of cleaning products and equipment on carpets.
From the CRI Website:
What is Being Tested?
"There are seven performance attributes SOA products (Seal of Approval) are evaluated on:
Soil Removal Efficacy: How effective is the product at removing soil?
Resoiling: Does the cleaned sample attract soil at an accelerated rate or not? (solutions and systems)
Residual Moisture: Does the extractor or cleaning system remove most of the moisture that results from a wet cleaning process?
Surface Appearance Change: Does the product leave the carpet minimally changed after multiple cleanings? (vacuums and extractors)
Colorfastness: Does the product cause a color change in the carpet fiber? (solutions and systems)
pH Level: Is the pH level between 4 and 10? (solutions and systems)
Optical Brighteners: Does the product contain optical brighteners? None are allowed for SOA certification. (solutions and systems)" - CRI
With many of the national carpet manufacturer's executives involved in the CRI, most carpet manufacturer refers to this testing and seal of approval as the "standard" for approved vacuum cleaners.
In fact, the CRI has a website page dedicated to helping you search for vacuum cleaners that carry their seal of approval. You can visit this page here: carpet warranty: CRI Seal Of Approval Vacuum Cleaners.
Bonus Tip On Carpet Warranty: The Carpet and Rug Institute & Professional Cleaning
One of the other important parts of most carpet warranties is to have your carpet professionally cleaned. In many cases, if you have an ongoing claim, you will need to provide actual receipts of your cleaning expenses.
The Carpet and Rug Institute also has an entire section devoted to professional carpet cleaning. The most common type of carpet cleaning is done with a hot water extraction (HWE) system. The CRI has a website page, dedicated to helping you search for a vendor that is certified with their program: certified vendor search
Conclusion - Carpet Warranty: Does My Vacuum Cleaner Matter?
When purchasing a new carpet, we feel that it is not only extremely important that you understand what is in your carpet warranty, but it is critical that you understand what type of vacuum cleaner your carpet manufacturer has approved for use.
Each manufacturer has different requirements. But in general terms, most carpet warranties require you to use a vacuum cleaner that can be adjusted in height, and that has a mild impact on your carpet.
Before purchasing a new carpet, you want to make sure you review the vacuum requirements. It might be hard to come up with an extra $300 or more on a vacuum cleaner if you didn't know about the expense ahead of time.
We recommend that you discuss this issue with your flooring professional. Depending on the carpet, they should have a clear understanding of the warranty requirements.
Likewise, when purchasing a new carpet, make sure to have your flooring professional print you a full copy of the warranty, and if needed, how to submit a claim. Each manufacturer has different requirements, and knowing this information could save you a ton of money, in the event of a product failure.
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