How To Choose Carpet
Buying carpet for the first time can be an overwhelming experience. Negotiating the seemingly endless variety of colors, styles, and brands can be a daunting task for the first time carpet buyer. Fortunately, it’s really not as difficult as it may first appear.
We recommend that you first choose a carpet style. Although some people do select different styles for different rooms, (formal plush in the bedrooms, textured cut pile throughout the rest of the house) most carpet buyers select one style and color for the entire house. One benefit of remaining with the same color and style of carpet is that the seams will be less visible. Keep in mind that whenever you change carpet styles and/or colors, a seam will be visible.
First we’ll introduce the main styles of carpet.
Cut Pile Carpet
Cut pile carpet includes everything from the standard textured cut pile carpet that you’ll see in most apartments to the very formal plushest you’ll find in elegant master bedrooms. A textured cut pile has alternating lengths of fibers that help mask footprints and vacuum marks. A textured cut pile is a great all round carpet.
A formal plush carpet is very soft containing thinner, level fibers. A plush will show nearly every footprint and every vacuum mark. The most common location for a plush carpet is the bedroom as it is very soft and comfortable to walk on.
One more style of cut pile carpet that we should mention is cable carpet. A cable cut pile carpet simply has thicker fibers, hence the name cable. Each individual strand is significantly thicker than the standard fiber. This creates a softer feel when walked upon without showing footprints as easily as a formal carpet.
A berber carpet isn’t a brand name as some people believe. Berber is any carpet with loops. A standard berber carpet consists of repeating tightly looped fibers of the same length. Berber is very strong and track resistant due to its strong loops. Berber holds up especially well on stairs and in hallways. Another plus is that it will not show footprints or vacuum marks.
Besides the standard berber, multi-level berber and cut loop carpet is available. Multi-level loop carpet is simply any berber with different loop heights. This is usually done to create various textures and patterns, such as floral patterns or diamonds.
A cut loop carpet is a combination of both a berber carpet and a cut pile carpet. It contains loops followed by cut pile. Similar to multi-level loop carpet, this is done to create textures and patterns. A cut loop carpet is usually much softer than a standard berber or multi-level loop carpet due to the patches of cut pile stuck in between the loops. Choosing a cut loop carpet can be a good compromise between a cut pile and a classic berber carpet.
“What is a frieze carpet?” This is the first question people usually ask upon spotting a frieze. A frieze carpet is a cut pile carpet with fibers that have been twisted and then crimped somewhere along their length. This causes the carpet to look wild and squiggly, various strands bending randomly in different directions. By crimping the strand along its length, in theory this causes the fiber to bend so that you’re walking on the side of the fiber which extends the carpet’s life while at the same time hiding both vacuum marks and footprints. Frieze carpet is one of the most durable carpets that you can purchase.
Nylon is the most popular carpet fiber made today. More than 70% of carpet is made from nylon. This is because nylon is soft and very stain resistant. Chances are your feet are resting on nylon right at this very moment.
Nylon Tactesse Carpet
Nylon Tactesse carpet is a stronger, much softer form of nylon. Nylon tactesse contains smaller, more densely packed fibers that create a softer feel while at the same time being much more durable. If you can afford the added price of nylon tactesse we highly recommend it. A carpet containing nylon tactesse will retain its texture longer than a standard nylon carpet.
Wool being a natural fiber is much more expensive than any other carpet fiber. It’s also much softer and durable. Wool is the softest, most durable carpet fiber that you can purchase. The only drawback to wool besides its hefty price tag, is that it is also the least stain resistant. Wool sucks up spills like a sponge. It can be difficult to remove some stains from wool carpet so we recommend exercising caution if you have young children. Otherwise wool is a fantastic choice, especially if you’re interested in berber which usually does not have a very soft feel. Wool berber with large thick loops is a joy to walk upon.
Olefin (Polypropylene) used to primarily be a commercial grade fiber. Although extremely durable and resistant to traffic, much of it has a rough feel to it. Walking barefoot on Olefin is not usually a pleasant experience.
Recently companies have been producing Polypropylene carpet that has a very soft, plush-like feel to it. We no longer try to steer people away from this fiber. Just make sure you do your homework and purchase it from a reputable company.
Also available are eco friendly carpets made with natural fibers & occurring sugars from crops such as corn, and provide superior quality
How – To – Tips
In addition to types and fibers, the savvy carpet shopper should be familiar with these terms, which relate to carpet quality:
1. Resilience is a carpet’s ability to recover it’s original appearance after being crushed or compressed.
2. Twist is the winding of the yarn around itself. The way in which the carpet is twisted is the major quality factor. The better the twist, the better it holds up.
3. Density is the amount of yarn in the carpet and the closeness of the tufts – the denser, the better.
4. Heat-setting is the process that sets the twist by heat or steam enabling yarns to hold their twist over time. Most nylon, olefin and polyester cut pile carpets are heat-set.
5. Performance is a rating scale for choosing carpet for various traffic areas – high, moderate, or low. Choose a performance level based on the way the carpeted space in your home will be used.