Carpet Remnants Buying Guide (and Fatal Mistakes to Avoid)

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Want to save $1,000+ on your carpet? Consider carpet remnants. These carpet scraps or “leftovers” are frequently discounted at large percentages. With a big investment like carpet, a big discount is enough savings to pay for an all-inclusive vacation. So what’s the catch? We’ll cover that and how to buy carpet remnants in this article. Interested? Read on…

What are carpet remnants?

There’s lots of misinformation on what carpet remnants actually are. Some people think remnants are damaged goods. Some think it’s out of style carpet. Neither of these is true.

The easiest way to describe remnants is this: leftover carpet.

But what does this mean? Usually, it’s the end of a roll of carpet. Carpet is manufactured in large rolls (think of something to similar to wrapping paper). When you buy carpet, carpet is cut off from the roll. Eventually, the remaining carpet on the roll won’t be enough to cover most houses. The retailer doesn’t want to leave carpet out that won’t do the job for most people, but they also don’t want the remaining carpet taking up storage space. The remaining carpet is put is discounted to sell and called a remnant.

How much can you save on carpet remnants?

There’s no straightforward answer here. Depending on how much carpet there is, the style, how desperate the seller is to get it off their hands, and who’s selling it, you can expect discounts from as low as 10% to as much as 90%. As you can imagine, it’s not unheard to save thousands of dollars on a house.

What are the drawbacks of carpet remnants?

Anytime you hear of huge savings, you have to ask yourself, “What’s the catch?” Why isn’t everyone buying remnants?

The first reason is that many people haven’t heard of remnants. But you now know about remnants, so the real question is why shouldn’t you buy this discounted carpet?

Buying remnants takes a little more time and effort on your part. It’s unlikely you find remnants that will fit throughout your entire home (or possibly even entire room), so you may have to mix and match types of carpet to come up with something you like. The other reason is remnants don’t always include the protection of warranties and guarantees that you get with normal carpet.

These drawbacks aren’t a big deal in certain situations. So what are some examples?

Ideal ways to use carpet remnants

Considering the drawbacks of remnants, the most surefire way to have remnants work out is areas that don’t require super durable carpet and that don’t require as much carpet. It’s not that remnants can’t be high-quality, but it’s less risk when you don’t need them to be.

In other words, consider remnants for rooms you don’t use frequently, or in a house where you don’t need the carpet to last long (you’re moving, you like to change the style frequently, a rental property, etc). Also, the less carpet you need, the better chance you can get your carpet all from one remnant. Smaller rooms allow you to buy remnants without having to mix and match.

Another cool use of remnants is to make an area rug. Need to know how to do it. Check our article for step by step instruction to create a rug out of remnants.

Use caution ordering carpet remnants in these situations

Many homeowners buy carpet hoping it will last 10 years in heavily trafficked areas. If you get all the details right, your hope isn’t too much to ask for. But since remnants sometimes aren’t well labeled and don’t come with guarantees, they may make sleeping at night difficult if your goal is for your carpet to be durable. Rooms where you likely want durable carpet are hallways, stairs, living rooms, family rooms, and anywhere else where people frequently walk.

You also may want to consider going for normal wall-to-wall carpet if you’re carpeting your whole house. This isn’t because remnants won’t work in an entire house, but it will take more work. You’ll have to spend time and use some creativity to find remnants that look good throughout your whole house.

With these warnings in mind, it’s also worth mentioning if you can make remnants work in highly trafficked rooms and/or your entire home, that’s where you’ll find the potential for the greatest savings.More on how to figure out what carpet you’ll want for high traffic areas below.

Where to buy carpet remnants?

We touched on this earlier: remnants can be purchased from nearly anyone in the carpet business. This includes carpet stores specializing in the sale of remnants, local carpet stores, big box carpet retailers, carpet manufacturers, and online sellers. It also includes places you may not expect such as carpet installers and even sometimes carpet cleaners.

So where’s the best place to buy remnants? My preference is stores that have remnants but don’t necessarily want them. This is typically the carpet stores, whether it’s local or a big box retailer. The reason I like these stores is there’s a good chance they’ll have a decent selection of remnants and they’ll be priced to sell.

Remnants stores will offer a great selection but may not be as cheap as other options. Manufacturers and online sellers are decent options but lack the customer service and ability to see the carpet in person. Carpet cleaners and installers might be your cheapest option can be good for small areas you need carpeting—they generally don’t keep a very big stock, but also often sell the carpet dirt cheap to get rid of it.

Tips for buying carpet remnants

Now you know what remnants are, where to get them, and their pros and cons. Before you make the dive into your savings with remnants, it’s important to do a little homework.

This is what you’ll want to find out: square footage of carpet you need, the details of the carpet you want, and how to comparison shop and determine what type of carpet you’re getting. These skills are extra important with remnants because the amount of carpet you need determines what remnants you’re eligible for and the details of the carpet is important because they may not be as well labeled and without guarantees.

To determine the amount of carpet you’ll need, check out our page on how to budget and measure carpet. If you already have an installer in mind, you can have him come out and give you an exact estimate.

As far as figuring out what type of carpet you’re getting, the Carpet Captain Carpet Buying Guide has you covered. It shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes to get through the entire guide.

Captain’s parting words!

Remnants can be a gold mine of savings. They’re safest for smaller jobs, or areas where the durability of the carpet is not as big of a concern. But you’ll get the biggest savings from high-quality remnants for your entire home. This is higher risk but much higher reward. If you go this route, I highly recommend you check out our carpet buying guide. It’s a good idea for all carpet shoppers, but buying remnants is riskier, so the tips in the guide really pay off. Enjoy your left over cash!

Any questions on buying carpet remnants? Let me know in the comments below.

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16 thoughts on “Carpet Remnants Buying Guide (and Fatal Mistakes to Avoid)”

  1. My friend moved into a rental, she did so on an as is basis to help save a little $(deposit). The carpet is old an just rough looking. Not dirty so much as just worn! Could they take a piece of remnant carpet and install it over this carpet to have a little more padded feel?

  2. Where do I get these remnants bound? Or are these remnants already bound and cut to specific sizes? I want to buy and have it cut to certain dimensions and then bound. I need a runner, a large room. maybe 10×12 and a small rug maybe 2×3 . Where should I go for my needs? Thanks!

    1. Carpet Captain

      I’d go with a Berber remnant… cats love the loops. You can shop local stores, but especially with such a small amount needed, I’d look up local installers and see if any would keep some leftover from a job for you. Bet you can find one that will give you a great deal.

  3. Hi My bedroom was a former sunroom built on a concrete base, it has a wood floor and is very cold here in the winter. I was wondering what type of carpet would be the warmest, should I go with a wool rug. thanks

    1. Wool is the best insulator, so it’d be a great option. Consider the padding too… I’d go with a fiber pad or rebond pad for more insulation.

  4. Hi I’m looking for carpet for my dog house. It’s 40 x 48. I live in the Central Valley in calif. It can get in the 30s and in the summer a lot of days over 100. What kind of carpet and what kind of padding?
    Thank you
    Terri Morley

    1. Hi Terri – those conditions won’t be easy on any carpet, but I think you’ve got it right–remnants are perfect for this situation. Your biggest enemy will be moisture causing mold and mildew. Avoid this by going synthetic. My choice would be polypropylene/olefin and my next choice would be PET polyester. For the padding, I’d probably go with waffle rubber because it’s cheaper than slab. Again, avoid moisture absorbing materials (unlike indoors, you won’t want rebond).

  5. I’m shopping for a remnant for a small child’s room in a rental property. Not heavily trafficked area. Is it ok to buy nylon or is wool so much better?

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