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Carpet which is correctly installed and well fitted will not only look good but will retain its appearance for longer. Remember that carpet fitting is a skill and should be left to an expert. There is also no such thing as 'free fitting'.

The condition of the sub-floor prior to fitting is your responsibility. As is the cost of remedial work such as the installation of a hardboard inter-layment. The retailer must also be notified of any special circumstances in the area where the carpet is to be installed.

Agreement should also be reached with the retailer on topics such as:

- The removal, shortening where necessary, and re-fitting of doors
- Clearing the room of furniture
- Disconnection of electrical or electronic equipment
- Uplift and disposal of the old carpet
- The number and position of seams if necessary

1. Consider the room it is for and how much wear it will receive. A hall, stairs and landing, for example, will need a heavier wearing carpet than a bedroom.
2. Are there any particular fabrics or existing décor to be matched? What are your future decorating plans? Remember to choose the carpet first and install it last!
3. Do you want a plain carpet, patterned carpet, one with texture or a border? You have a large choice so experiment with colour and design.
4. How long do you reasonably expect your new carpet to last? Is it a 'quick fix' or a long term purchase?
5. How much do you want to spend? Don't forget to include the cost of fitting and underlay and other materials.

Having answered these questions, you are ready to buy. When you do, always remember to:
6. Get your room professionally measured. If you do it yourself you could end up ordering too much or too little.
7. Ask your retailer for a sample to take back home to see in your own environment and in your own natural light.
8. Buy new underlay. It will prolong the life of your new carpet by up to 40 percent as well as giving added comfort.
9. Always have your carpet fitted professionally and always use a reputable retailer like a Carpet Foundation member, who operates under a Consumer Code of Practice approved by the Office of Fair Trading. Keep any surplus carpet - you never know when it will come in handy!
10. Buy the best carpet you can afford. As with everything else, you get what you pay for and carpet is no exception. You should expect to pay £20/m2 plus underlay and fitting.