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Claims File: Warranty headaches

by Lew Migliore

Second of two parts

In part one of this column we discussed stain and soil warranties. Now, we’ll tackle the unanswered questions from the last issue.

What’s an ideal cushion to protect a customer’s investment in good carpet?

The denser the cushion the better the performance. Thinner is also usually better. One of the best cushion products is one like Healthier Choice, a low-profile, high-density—about 10 pounds—cushion. Lower profiles allow for perpendicular engagement of the carpet onto the tackstrip, giving a better installation. This will also prevent excessive vertical and lat- eral movement, helping eliminate callbacks and claims for wrinkles and buckles in the carpet.

This type of cushion also offers better support for carpet performance and is a better sound absorber. Just think of what a good pair of athletic shoes does for your feet and make that comparison to your customer when selling this type of cushion.

What is the real difference in fibers? Is there any real difference between Stainmaster and Anso nylon?

Yes, there is. Stainmaster, the most recognized brand name in the carpet industry, is a type 6,6 nylon which means it has a denser molecular structure.

Anso is a type 6 nylon. If both are used in the exact same construction with solution dyed fiber there is really no difference in performance. If aqueous dyed—dye applied with water—6,6 nylon can have greater colorfast- ness properties. The shape of the fiber will also hide soil. There is a difference but you have to take other factors into consideration, not just the 6 versus 6,6.

Is SmartStrand as good as the promotions say it is?

SmartStrand is the new triexta fiber and it is pretty great. It actually has the positive attributes of nylon and polyester. That is, it has the resiliency and abrasion resistance of nylon and the colorfastness and inherent stain resistance of polyester.

This fiber has actually been around for a while and has proven itself in some of the harshest conditions, such as apartment rentals. It won’t be long before it makes its way into the commercial market as well. However, as with all things, if you oversell it you’ll be asking for trouble. It is a great product but isn’t bulletproof in all styles and constructions.

We have a tendency in this industry to get so excited about new product technology that we read what we want into warranties and fail to understand the reality. Certainly, new technology makes products better but you have to keep in mind that everything has its limitations. If you don’t know what those limits are and you sell products simply because you believe all the hype and excitement, you’re going to get yourself in trouble.

Remember, the right product that will deliver the expected performance exists for every application. You have to be professional enough to understand products and limitations so you can sell the right product in the right place. Also, remember that the first reason for complaints and claims is that someone sold the wrong product or installation method into the wrong place and it failed to live up to the expectations of the end user. If you can grasp that concept you’ll eliminate com- plaints. It means selling honestly and qualifying your customer. There are a lot more changes coming so you better get up to speed educating yourselves about the products you sell.

And keep asking questions so we can continue getting you straight answers. There’s only so much space here but you can call and I’ll help you as much as I can.