In some cases, and when carpet has life left but even intensive cleaning can't correct a problem, spot-dyeing or whole-carpet coloring may provide a cost-effective alternative to spending $1,000 or more on new carpet.
Experts our consumer researchers interviewed say dyeing your carpet can cost 30 percent to 80 percent less than buying new.
Carpets can be partially or spot-dyed so that faded or stained areas match the rest of the carpet. Or, in cases where a new color is preferred, the entire carpet can be dyed.
For instance, one of our members described how happy he was with the work of a company that changed his baby blue carpet to a warm sand color.
Carpet dye is usually applied with a sprayer and then scrubbed in. Experts our consumer researchers interviewed say dyed carpet can be walked on almost immediately and that the material and process are safe for children and pets.
Dyeing works best on carpets made of nylon, wool or silk. Dye will not penetrate some carpet types, including stain-resistant and extra thick carpets.
To be effective, the color of the dye must be as dark or darker than the original carpet color.
Experts recommend having your carpet cleaned more or less annually, depending on how much traffic it receives. If you hire a professional carpet cleaner, expect to pay $100 to $200 a room, or more for corrective, intensive cleaning.
However, cleaning can't remove all stains, and can't restore a sun- or bleach-faded area.
The cost of dyeing varies, depending on the size of the job, among other factors. One highly rated dyer told our researcher that he charges 70 cents per square foot.
Be aware that carpet dyeing is a specialty industry with a limited number of businesses that offer the service. Dyeing is generally most popular with specific consumer groups, such as landlords, hotel operators and people planning to sell a home.
Highly rated carpet experts our researchers interviewed were not united in recommending dyeing as a long-term investment. Some said results can't be expected to last much more than a year, but others say they've had customers who are happy with the results of full-room dyeing even after 10 years.
Highly rated carpet dyers told our team that it's crucial to hire a company that properly trains employees. Be sure to ask what kind of training the company gives its employees in carpet and paint technologies.
Also, confirm that the products used are safe for the people and animals in your home.
In addition, ask for several references and take the time to contact them, especially asking how well the dyeing has held up over time.
Be sure to consider hiring only companies that are highly rated on a trusted online source or are recommended by someone you know. Make sure to ask the company for a sample of what the new color will look like.
Angie Hicks is the founder of Angie's List, a resource for local consumer reviews on everything from home repair to health care; www.angieslist.com/.
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