While many people opt for hardwood or laminate flooring, carpeting is a wonderful flooring alternative. It feels great to walk on, and thanks to modern developments in stain protection, is relatively easy to clean. Like any type of flooring, deciding on the right kind of carpeting for your house is about evaluating your lifestyle. Do you have children, pets, or host a lot of gatherings? Or do you live in a household that’s a bit smaller, with less traffic roaming the hallways? Making these kind of distinctions will help you decide which kind of carpet is right for you. Determine your high traffic areas to determine which kinds of carpet will work best for your home.
When you’re shopping, pay attention to the following terms in carpeting descriptions:
Twist type: Carpet fibers that are twisted and heated into shape. The more twists, the better the quality.
Fiber type: This refers to the kind of yarn used in the carpet.
Density: The overall thickness of the carpet. Remember that higher densities don’t necessarily determine quality.
There are also different types of carpeting materials, each with their own set of negatives and positives. Think about what your priorities are before deciding on a carpet material:
Olefin or Polypropylene is hard wearing, but tends to mat down and wear faster than something like nylon. It’s also extremely water and chemical resistant. It dries easily, doesn’t cause static, and is one of the lightest carpet fibers.
Acrylic can look a lot like wool, cotton, or other natural blends. This material dries easily, is resistant to moths, is stain resistant, and doesn’t fade in sun. However, it doesn’t wear as well as other materials.
Nylon is arguably one of the strongest carpeting materials. It stands up extremely well in high traffic areas, and has a wide variety of color options, since it holds dye well. It’s also very soft, and doesn’t absorb much moisture. However, this material is also the easiest to stain, so look for nylon carpets with great stain protection.
Polyester is a strong and soft material that is naturally stain resistant. However, it has poor resiliency, and tends to wick after cleaning. Because it doesn’t do very well in high traffic areas, polyester is mostly chosen for its texture.
Wool is an extremely warm natural fiber that wears well and is very durable. It holds dye very well, and is naturally flame and fire resistant. However, it’s one of the more expensive fibers, and doesn’t react well with strong cleaning products.
Pile refers to the way the fibers are cut and put together. There are several different techniques, which all create different textures and appearances.
Cut pile refers to a carpet where the usual loops are cut flat, for a flat-top finish.
Level loop means that the loops of pile are the same height.
Multi-level loop is similar to the level loop, but the loops of pile are at different heights, to create different patterns and textures.
Berber carpet refers to any carpet that’s made out of loops, so both level loop and multi-level loop are berber carpets.
Textured or Frieze pile means that the loops are cut and twisted to form a patterned carpet.