Installation is Everything
The first time a rug installer comes to your door, the only tools he should have are a pencil, a pad of paper and a tape measure. All of the sales reps and installers we spoke with warned against taking measurements yourself. "A pro is trained to see things that a homeowner wouldn't, such as traffic patterns and incoming light, and he can suggest the best places to hide seams," says Allen. "A pro measurer can prevent waste," adds Grable. "And if someone's going to make a mistake, we'd rather it be us."
The floor plan of the installation should be included in your contract. "Pay attention to the location of the seams," says Baxter. "Few seams are invisible, but they can sometimes be positioned under furniture, or out of major traffic patterns."
While inspecting the floor plan, ask how the installers will do the job. "In order to tell the difference between a good installer and a mediocre one, you need to ask about installation details," says Emad Ghanim, a carpet mechanic who has worked in the New York area for more than 20 years.
For instance, discuss how stairs will carpeted. With a cap-and-band treatment, the carpet is tacked under each thread. In the waterfall approach, the carpet flows over the tread and onto the next step. "The waterfall is a more modern look and works well with smaller patterns, but most people prefer cap-and-band because it looks more traditional," says Ghanim. Exposed edges are typically turned under and tacked in place, but if you have a short, tight pile, or want a more finished look, the edge should be bound. Most installers will bind edges at their shop; Ghanim uses a portable machine.
In most cases, says Ghanim, the installers are responsible for moving furniture and removing any existing carpet. "We can move heavy furniture easily using special nylon skids," he says. "The only things we don't move are antiques or delicate items, like crystal or china," Grable adds.
Also ask about removal of the old carpet. If there's an extra charge for this, you might be able to cut about $2 per square yard off the bill by doing this part yourself.

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