Carpet Selection for Your Home
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Carpet Selection for Your Home

Carpet remains a popular choice for many rooms in the home and in commercial establishments. Carpet offers a variety of colors, patterns and styles to match any decor. Carpets have a cushioned surface that absorbs sound and is easier to walk on than hard surface flooring. Carpet has one of the lowest installation costs of any type of flooring. This article will discuss the various types of carpet styles and construction to assist you in selecting the best carpet for different areas in your home.

Carpet remains a popular choice for many rooms in the home and in commercial establishments. Carpet offers a variety of colors, patterns and styles to match any decor. Carpets have a cushioned surface that absorbs sound and is easier to walk on than hard surface flooring. Carpet has one of the lowest installation costs of any type of flooring. Most synthetic carpets are treated with static, stain and soil resistant treatments, making them easy to clean and maintain. Carpeting also contains a high percentage of recycled material making it a green building material.

Selecting the Fiber

To pick the right fiber, consider how you live in each room. There are basically four types of fiber:

Nylon

Nylon is the most durable and stain resistant carpet fiber available when treated with stain protection. Nylon works well for families with active lifestyles, pets, young children, and for those who entertain a lot. Nylon works well in high traffic areas such as hallways and stairs.

Polyester

Polyester is known for its luxurious look, feel and wide selection of colors and styles. It's a good value for homes with a normal amount of traffic.

Olefin

Olefin offers good stain and moisture resistance, but scores below nylon and polyester for durability. It is best suited for loop pile construction or high, very dense cut piles.

Wool

Favored for its inherent beauty, wool carpet has natural soil resistant qualities, but is not naturally stain resistant. Wool looks good for a long time and is well constructed. Wool also has fire resistant properties.

Carpet Construction

Over 90% of residential carpet is manufactured as tufted carpet. A tufting machine works like an oversized sewing machine with hundreds of needles that insert loops of fiber, called tufts or stitches, into the carpet's backing to form the face pile of the carpet.

How long your carpet will last depends on how well it is made. Quality construction will affect the durability, appearance and price of the carpet and is most influenced by the twist of the fibers and the density of the tufts.

Twist

Twist refers to how tightly the fiber, which is the carpet yarn, has been twisted. This is especially important in cut pile carpet because the tips are exposed and can become untwisted, giving the carpet a matted and worn appearance. The tighter the yarn is twisted, the better the carpet will stand up to crushing and matting.

Frieze carpet has the highest twist level at about 7-9 twists per inch (TPI), whereas most cut pile carpet styles have between 3-6 twists per inch.

Density

Density refers to both the amount, and how tightly packed together the fibers are within the carpet. The closer together the fibers are placed, the denser the carpet will be, and the better it will wear and perform.

Ways to check for carpet density include trying to reach the carpet backing by pressing your fingers on the carpet fibers. The more difficult it is to reach the backing, the denser the carpet.

You can also test density of carpet with outward facing tufts by bending the carpet into a U-shape and look at how much of the carpet backing is visible; the less backing that shows, the denser the carpet.

Stain Resistance

Stain resistance can vary from room to room. If you have kids, pets, and high traffic areas or entertain a lot, you will want to choose a carpet with stain resistance.

The primary factor in determining stain resistance is carpet fiber type: nylon, polyester, olefin or wool. Beyond fiber type, most manufacturers apply stain protection treatments to enhance the natural stain resistant properties of any fiber. You can obtain information on stain resistance and manufacturer’s warranty from the carpet distributor or sales representative.

Color Selection

When choosing the color of your carpeting you may want to consider the floor as the fifth wall that connects all other design elements in the room. Consider the walls, window treatments and other furnishings when choosing a color scheme. Any fabric samples or paint colors will help you determine the color of the carpet.

Carpet Styles

Cut

Cut carpet consists of yarns that are cut at the ends. The soft feel of cut carpet makes it a good choice for the most comfortable areas of your home such as bedrooms, living rooms and family rooms.

There are five basic styles of cut pile carpet: Velvet, Saxony, Frieze, Shag, and Cable, each provide a different look and texture. The primary difference among these styles is the amount of twist in the yarns that will ultimately influence the carpet's durability.

Loop

Loop carpet has yarns that are looped and uncut on the carpet surface. The pile height can vary from low, tightly constructed to a more luxurious high-level pile.

Loop carpet has, strength and soil hiding capabilities. This style is ideal for heavy traffic areas. Berber is the most popular style of loop carpet that can be constructed as a level-loop or multi-loop carpet.

Cut-loop

As the name suggests, this carpet has a combination of high cut tufts and lower loops in a variety of sculptured patterns.

Cut-loop carpets offer good performance but are slightly less durable than loop carpets.

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Comments (2)

Thanks for the clear descriptions of these materials and the pieces of advices.

There's so much to think about when making a major purchase like this, and you listed those items well.

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