Carpet Novice Needs Help with Karastan SmartStrand Carpet Choice

pmacbeeJanuary 10, 2010

We are buying an under-construction spec home--so the builder has his own standard materials, but we are able to make changes if we like. The house will have a walkout-basement level that includes a guestroom, hallway and rec-room as well as stairs to be carpeted. The builder spec is a Stainmaster Berber, but we would prefer a much softer carpet--we expect to lie on the floor to play games and watch movies, among other things. We have a 7 year old boy who will use the room for Wii and to play with friends in bad weatherr--and who tends to spill juice. We also hope to have a dog (most likely a big one if we run true to form) some time after we've been in the house for a few months, and very likely a kitten.

The flooring vender showed us a Karastan "Essential Living" sample today--which he described as a "frisee"--made with SmartStrand and we loved it and said, yes, yes, this is it. But on reflection, I realized we hadn't thought about the stairs. I'm not sure it's appropriate for stairs, and maybe not even safe. It's a longish pile, and Karastan describes it as a saxony, not a frieze (I'm learning).

A number of carpet glossaries suggest that saxony is prone to matting and is not a good choice for stairs, high traffic areas, or areas with active kids. True? True of THIS saxony?

It looks like Karastan has two other cut pile rugs made with Smartstrand: Nature's Harmony and Woodland Pass. The vender didn't show us either of these, but it looks like Nature's Harmony is much less expensive (cheaper?). Anybody know anything about these carpets? Is either a frieze? Are they soft? Durable? Would either be a more appropriate choice for somebody with stairs, an active kid, probable pets and a desire for a soft, stain resistant carpet than the Essential Living? We've always had wood floors before, so carpet is all new to me! Thanks for your help!

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there is a carpet store near me that stocks a ton of Smartstrand carpet. I used to work for Mohawk as a rep. They have many samples and literature showing how good Smartstrand performs in high traffic and with lots of different stain materials being applied to it vs nylon and it hold up exceptionally well. I wouldn't have any concern about using it on stairs.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 5:38PM
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I am not aware of a true Saxony smart strand in Karastan or a frieze. The problem you have matching them on line is karastan offers all their products in 4 label names..only placing one of them online normally. Most of my Karastan products are not found on line. They do this for protective reasons. My Karastan rep will not allow me to sell a Karastan product that I do not show. I am just not aware of a Saxony Karastan in a smart strand. I am going to look on line at it then give you my thoughts,

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 6:30PM
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Thanks so much boxers and echofloring. Ecoflooring, I'd love to have your further thoughts. The vender was surprised to hear that the website called it a saxony, too--he says his Karastan rep has always referred to it as a frieze. It IS a fairly deep, somewhat loose pile in any event, which does make me wonder about safety on stairs.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 10:33PM
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No, a frieze is fine on stairs. That is really an overstated issue, that never comes to reality unless you have an undersized tread. I just looked at the carpet on the Karastan site. It is not a saxoney...not even close. it is a textured carpet..probably a frieze.. To be a frieze i believe the yarn must have like 7 twists giving it a spring like look. i can not tell from the picture. One thing for sure, Karastan and smartstrand together in a texture should be an excellent product. We have several of them and never have gotten a complaint. Remember, they are fairly new so I always refrain from pounding my fist about a product until it has had real time to prove it self. Smartstrand However does seem to be the real deal. The step thing though is a non issue. Trust me on that.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2010 at 10:08PM
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Thank you so much, echoflooring. You were absolutely right!

We went back to the carpet store to get comfortable on all this before finalizing the order, and I figured I'd circle back for the benefit of anyone in the future who looks at this question. We went back and compared the carpet we chose to the "true friezes" and "true saxonies" they had. This Essential Living is something Karastan calls a "textured saxony." Fiber is much, much thicker, and considerable looser than a real saxony. Unlike the saxony, you can't make lasting footprints (or draw smiley faces as my son did), in the Essential Living carpet. About the same texture as the friezes, just a teeny bit longer and a little bit looser, and a bit softer. It's not as long as I remember it, and carpet vendor says they've had lots of experience putting it on stairs with no wear or safety issues. With his guidance we did scale the padding on the stairs back to a dense, thinner, pretty unyielding felt that should reduce concerns about too much padding/curve on stair treads. Thanks so much for all your help!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 3:06PM
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So disappointed with my choice of Essential Living - by Karastan. It was very expensive, shows every foort/toe print and every vacuum mark. The color is great - the feel is great. Maintenace will be a pain. The store is offering to replace - would I have the same problem with the "Nature's Harmony" since it is a shorter nap? Big loss of money to us! Help! Any other Karastan products to recommend as we need to deal with the same store. Thank you!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 10:05PM
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