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How to choose the right carpet for your home

Despite the trend toward hard surfaces, homeowners still select carpet for some areas of their home. Whether to keep within their budget or to add color and texture to an individual room, consumers take advantage of the comfort and affordability that carpet offers.

To ensure you select the carpet that is right for your particular needs, some things to consider are the fiber type, the construction, the weight or density and the pattern.

Fiber type

Carpets are made using wool, nylon, polyester or olefin fiber. The type of fiber used in manufacturing affects the feel and function of the carpet.

Wool is a natural fiber that is very resilient, keeping its shape despite heavy furniture or traffic. However, wool is the most expensive of the fibers available and has poor stain removal. Nylon was the first synthetic fiber used in carpet manufacturing in the 1940’s and is long-wearing and durable. Most nylons are treated to improve stain resistance.

Polyester fiber is less resilient than nylon but holds brighter colors and is more fade resistant. Most PET polyester fiber is made from recycled soda bottles and is very stain resistant and durable in frieze or dense cut-pile constructions.

Olefin fiber is used mostly in loop, or berber, construction carpets since it is the least resistant to crushing. The loops help the fiber maintain its shape but care should be taken to avoid snagging.

Olefin is similar to a carrot in that its color goes all the way through the fiber. Unless it is solution-dyed, a nylon fiber is more like an apple with a red surface but white center. Solution-dyed fibers are colorfast and more resistant to stain since the pores of the fiber are already filled with dye.


The second feature to consider is the carpet construction. As with the fiber type, each construction has its advantages and disadvantages.

A loop construction carpet is very durable but is vulnerable to pulling, especially in homes with pets. Loop construction carpets are the most difficult to seam, so seams should be avoided by making use of wider 15-foot goods.

Cut-pile carpets are the most common style. A cut-pile saxony carpet is formal and shows vacuum marks and footprints while a textured cut-pile carpet scatters light and is more casual for an active household.

A modern choice in the cut-pile category is the frieze or high twist carpet. It offers the flecks of color found in a looped carpet without the potential for snags. The high twist resists crushing found when carpet fibers unwind and mat down. Another popular option is a combination of cut and loop. These two constructions are combined to create geometric or graphic patterns to add texture to a solid colored carpet.

Weight and density

Since a majority of a carpet’s cost involves the fiber itself, the trick is to maximize the weight and density of the fiber for your money. A loop construction carpet will wear better at a lower weight than the same amount of fiber in a cut-pile carpet. The same budget will afford a higher weight in polyester carpet than in nylon.

Density or compactness is important in areas like hallways or stairs to try to offset the amount of traffic they experience. Some carpet styles are available in varying weights so customers can have the same color in different rooms while concentrating their budget on the more active areas.

Cut and loop carpets are typically short-piled and are a good choice for dens and game rooms or in homes that require wheelchair access. High twist frieze carpets are more expensive to manufacture but are durable at a lower weight and density than a normal cut-pile carpet.


Finally, a homeowner should consider the pattern of their carpet selection. Most customers prefer carpet underfoot in bedrooms, and this is the perfect place to take advantage of colors and patterns to pull together their décor.

Cut and loop styles can add the whimsy of leafy patterns or bold geometric designs to any room. Keep in mind that patterns will require extra yardage to match at seams, so using wider 15-foot goods can help avoid seams in larger rooms. Customers should consider their wall and trim colors and always take home samples to see the carpet in their lighting and surroundings.

Carpet has come a long way since its introduction and no one style is right for every room or every home. Your best resource is an educated and friendly salesperson to guide you through the process with your specific needs and concerns in mind. Whatever your budget, he or she can find the style that is right for you.

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