Carpet 101


Carpets 101 – Your Buying Guide

We all love that unmistakable cozy and soft feel that only carpet delivers. It provides warmth in the winter and refreshing coolness when it’s hot. And no other flooring reduces noise like thick, plush carpet.

Carpet doesn’t have to be beige and boring. Not when you can choose from many thousands of carpet styles and colors to personalize your living space. You’re limited only by your imagination. Many homeowners mix carpet with tile, hardwood and resilient flooring for an attractive combination of pattern, texture and color. It doesn’t matter where you carpet your floors – today’s fibers are incredibly soil and stain resistant.

How to Choose Carpets for Your Floors

Before shopping for carpet, answer the following questions:

  • How is the room going to be used?
  • Will it have heavy or light traffic?
  • Will the room be the center of activity for family and entertaining?
  • Are there pets in the home?
  • Is there direct access from outside, or will the carpet be away from entrances?
  • Will the carpet receive direct sunlight?

Your answers will refine the many choices available, from color to construction and more. Your carpet dealer will be able to help give you expert guidance on finding the right carpet.

Know Your Carpet Types

Carpet is made with cut pile tufts, loop pile tufts or a combination of both.

Cut Pile ─ The look can be smooth (Saxony) or slightly textured (textured Saxony or textured plush) or as if covered by very curly ends (frieze). Cut pile carpets are extremely versatile and are commonly used in bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms and home theaters. The more textured or twisted yarns, the less they will show foot prints and vacuum cleaner marks.

Loop Pile ─ A knobby appearance comes from the tufts ends being pushed into the backing so that only a loop shows. Loop pile carpets are generally more durable than cut pile styles. The surface can be level (loops all the same height) or multi-level to form a pattern or add more texture.

Cut & Loop ─ This type features both loops and cut pile yarns in combination to create patterned designs. Patterned carpets can help hide traffic patterns as well as give the floor a more interesting visual appearance. Family or game rooms are perfect places for a patterned cut and loop carpeting, especially if there’s a lot of traffic.

Know Your Carpet Fibers

Carpet fibers create the color and pattern, define the texture and softness, and determine how long a carpet will resist wear and staining. Fibers react to wear and tear in varying degrees, so it’s important to understand each type in terms of durability, stain resistance and fading. Here are the most common fibers:

Nylon ─ This popular fiber is also the strongest and most durable
Polyester ─ Offers superior stain and fade resistance while delivering vibrant coloration
Triexta ─ Comprised of 39 percent corn sugars, which contributes to extreme softness
Olefin ─ Least expensive of carpet fibers, it repels UV rays to resist fading
Wool ─ Considered a premium carpet fiber, wool offers excellent durability and a soft, luxurious feel

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Carpeting and Allergies

You can breath a little easier with carpet on the floors. Scientific research has shown that carpet fibers can help allergy sufferers by trapping particles that would normally be airborne and circulating in the indoor airstream. For allergy and asthma sufferers, it’s recommended that carpets be cleaned using a high quality HEPA-filter vacuum to fully remove irritating particles.