Shaw carpet... please tell me all about it
You might check with a designer showroom or another real flooring store if you are concerned. Brokers that work directly for carpet mills like Shaw (a great company although my projects did not call often for wtw carpeting) are not uncommon and they do come to your house with samples. In theory they cut out the retail middle man so should be able to offer good pricing. They can make it hard for real retailers to survive though.
Working with an interior designer would bring quality samples to your home as well and one could save you money if your interior needs, current or projected, are beyond just flooring.
If I were you one thing I would do is ask around and line up top installers. They probably do not work for the box stores and nicely stretched carpet can add a lot to its life. The Shaw broker may or may not know who they are. A high end flooring store, not a box store, will. This is one reason to work through a real flooring store.
Don't skimp on padding either. Good padding will really increase the life of carpet.
As for odors and associated VOCs? No doubt that fabrics and materials like carpeting and padding will outgas some but they will dissipate over time and there is not much you can do about them if wtw carpeting is what you need or want for flooring. Things like nice smelling household cleaners and freshly dry cleaned clothes are as dangerous or more so than carpeting though.
There are of course Stainmaster type carpets that may be worth looking into if you have kids, pets or are just plain sloppy! When I have had carpeting in my homes it has usually been more natural fiber and I treated it with a process like FibreSeal. If you follow directions, and use the kit that comes with treatment, it seems impossible for a stain to stick. Scotchguard has been around for a long time but it coats fibers rather than absorbing into them.
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Last edited by sdsester; 10-22-2012 at 10:20 AM.