FAQ'S | Answers to your carpet and flooring questions

Why shop at a specialty retailer instead of a big box store? This is one of the most frequent questions we hear, and one of our most favorites to answer. We believe that service and experience are the strongest reasons for shopping at specialty retailers like us.

The Straus Carpets difference is that we take the time to listen to your needs and then only show you the materials that will work for you. Sales, while obviously important, are not our focus when we’re talking about solutions with you. We’ve worked in flooring for decades and know style, color and design. We have a Contractor’s License (#464457) and we stand by our work from beginning to end.

If you have a problem, you call us directly. We will be here to answer any questions.

What is a Berber carpet? Berber carpets are named after the Berber tribe in Morocco who handloom their individual rugs. This type of carpet is looped and incorporates more than one color. Manufacturers produce both 12-foot and 15-foot wide carpets, which is good for the customer because Berber is often difficult to seam — the rows of loops have to be cut and put back together during installation, making the seam more noticeable — and the greater width accommodates a larger room without seaming.

What is the difference between linoleum and vinyl? About $40 a square yard.

But seriously, linoleum is an all-natural product manufactured in Europe.It is two meters wide (6 feet, 7 inches) and the seams must be welded together during installation using a torch and welding rod. For that reason, installers should be certified by at least one linoleum manufacturer so that you know it’s being done correctly. Linoleum does not come with a “no wax” finish and must be maintained by the customer for the life of the product. Most linoleum comes with marbleized patterns and muted tones.

Vinyl, on the other hand, is a petroleum product. It comes in either six foot or 12-foot widths. It can either be heat or chemical sealed. Almost all vinyl is “no wax” and is very low maintenance. One plus to vinyl is the number of patterns and textures available.

Is furniture moving included in your price? No, that is an additional service. Since we don’t know what type of furniture you have until we arrive at your home or office, we can’t know exactly how much work it’s going to take. Since we don’t charge for estimates, though, we’re happy to come out to measure and assess your needs.

Do we need to Scotchgard (trademark sign) the carpet after the first steam cleaning? No. All nylon carpets are treated with some form of stain resistance and a topical application of Scotchgard (trademark sign) will not add more protection. Do not use a product like Scotchgard (trademark sign) on wool carpets, as it will cause discoloration.

Is there a risk of formaldehyde gassing if I install bamboo flooring? Straus Carpets only carries bamboo flooring that uses water-based coatings and solvents and doesn’t produce dangerous off-gasses. But, yes, most bamboo flooring is made with formaldehyde.

How do I figure square yards? Take the square footage and divide by 9. While this will give you the exact amount of square yards, this number does not allow for seaming. If you want to get a little closer to the amount of flooring you will actually need, take the square footage and divide by 8 1/2.

What is an inlaid vinyl? Inlaid vinyl is manufactured with the pattern extending from the surface to the backing. Most vinyl is printed and backed using what is called a rotogravure method; inlaid vinyl is made using vinyl chips of color in a stencil pattern and heating those chips until they bond into a single material. This dense, heavy, and durable material is then coated with “no wax’” layers to insure long lasting shine. Inlaid vinyl is more difficult to install than rotogravure vinyl and is not a do-it-yourself item if seaming is involved.

What makes one carpet more expensive than another? For nylon carpets, the weight of the nylon is the determining factor. Simply put, the more nylon in a square yard, the higher the price. While different types of patterns can also affect a price, it always comes down to which carpet is heavier when comparing two different types.

If you’re comparing nylon to polyester, nylon will be more expensive because it costs more to produce. One reason is that nylon has “memory” and polyester does not.

What determines whether I need new underlayment prior to installing my new vinyl or linoleum floor? Any imperfections in your floor will be obvious when any new vinyl or linoleum is installed. If your existing floor is in good shape, we can float the new floor by laying down quick drying cement, and that will be enough to eliminate old imperfections. Quick drying cement is also the right solution if the existing floor is asbestos.

So, if the existing underlayment or vinyl is uneven then we should install new underlayment. We recommend ACH plywood, because it is finished on one side and does not have any knotholes.

Do stair rods work? Stair rods are great decoration in the right setting, but do nothing to hold stair runners in place.

Are remnants a bargain? Always. For small areas — carpet or vinyl — remnants will cost less than ordering a new product. We typically have a room of carpet or a kitchen/bathroom amount of vinyl always available. We suggest measuring your room and then come down to see what we have in stock. The savings can be great.

Is there such a thing as soundproof pad? Yes. In fact, the best pad in the business is rated to cut 55 percent of sound. While it’s not cheap, it can be far less expensive than sound insulations that are sprayed or laid down between floors. We’ve installed these types of pads in schools, apartments and condominium buildings.

If you have a question that we didn't answer here, please feel free to reach out to us. We would be happy to take the time to help you.

-Tom Straus

(510) 428-2828 Tom@StrausCarpets.com

Armstrong Carpets and Vinyl flooring from Straus Carpets in Oakland, California, serving the Bay Area and East Bay

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