There are countless styles, patterns and colors to choose from when considering adding (or replacing) carpet to any room. Carpet tend to be more economical than other types of flooring and it also absorbs noise, which is great if you have a lot of little feet (human or furry!) running through the house. And because of its insulating properties, carpet provides and additional warmth that you don't necessarily get with other types of floors. Generally, homeowners like to put down an area rug on hard-surface floors -- with carpet, that's not needed, which is another added savings when considering what type of floors to put in your space.
Nylon: this durable and stain-resistant fiber (when treated with stain protection) is generally the fiber of choice for homes with pets and children -- or even for those homeowners who like to entertain a lot and tend to have a lot of foot traffic.
Polyester: this fiber is known for its luxurious look and feel. It's good for a home, or room, which an average amount of foot traffic.
Olefin: while is doesn't wear as well as nylon and polyester, it's a good stain- and moisture-resistant fiber. It is best for loop pile construction or high, very dense cut piles.
Wool: wool carpet has natural soil-resistant qualities but is not genetically stain resistant. It tends to look good for a very long time and is well constructed. Homeowners tend to use wool in high-traffic areas.
How long your carpet lasts will depend on how well it's made -- and how many twists of the fibers there are and the density of the tufts.
Twists refer to high tightly the carpet yarn has been twisted. The tighter the fibers are twisted, the better the carpet will withstand to crushing, matting, foot traffic, etc. This is especially true for cut-pile carpet because the tips are exposed (versus loop carpets that don't have exposed ends). Frieze carpet has the highest twists per inch (TPI) at 7-9 where as most cut-pile carpets are in the 3-6 TPI range.
Density refers to the amount and how tightly packed together the fibers are. The closer together the fibers are placed, the more dense the carpet will be and the better will will wear.
Ways to check for the density of carpet is to try to reach the carpet backing with your fingers -- the harder it is to find the carpet backing when doing this trick, the denser the carpet.
CUT PILE: As we discussed earlier in this post, there are cut-pile and loop carpet types. Cut pile refers to yarns that are cut and exposed at the ends. Cut pile carpet feels very comfortable on feet and people tend to like installing this in bedrooms or other comfortable areas of their homes. There are five basic styles of cut pile carpet: cable, frieze, Saxony, shag, and velvet. The difference between each of these are the TPI -- talk to your carpet professional to figure out which style would be best for your space.
LOOP: As the name suggests, loop carpet has yarns that are looped and uncut on the carpet surface. The pile height can vary. Some benefits of loop-style carpet is its strength and soil-hiding characteristics. Like some of the other characteristics we mentioned earlier in this post, loop style carpet is ideal for heavy-traffic areas.
CUT-LOOP: This is exactly what you think -- a combo of high cut tufts and lower loops in a variety of sculptured patterns. These can offer a bit of a fun element to your carpet if you don't want your carpet to have more than one color but would like it to have more than one dimension. This is a pretty durable style type but is slightly less durable than loop.
Don't treat your floor like the ugly step child. Treat it like a 5th wall! There are many elements carpet can bring into a room that homeowners don't think of. If you have plain, solid furniture, consider a patterned carpet. We have complimentary designers on staff to help you make the right decision!