Types of Carpet

Key Factors to Consider When Shopping for Carpet

By Mark J. Donovan

Before going out and visiting your local carpet store it’s smart to spend some time surfing the internet and doing some research on carpet first. There are many manufacturers of wall to wall carpet and a plethora of carpet types to choose from. Having a little knowledge up front can help you weed through all of the sales hype and prepare you to ask the right questions before actually buying carpet. In particular you’re going to want to know something about carpet fibers, carpet durability, and carpet stain, mildew, fading and moisture resistance when shopping for carpet.

For all intents and purposes all of the carpeting you will most likely look at will be constructed out of man made fibers that include polyester, acrylic, nylon and olefin.

Often the carpeting is made out of a blend of these types of fibers. Some carpet types are also made out of recycled plastic. It is called PET and though buying plastic carpet may sound like a bad thing it’s actually a very durable carpet type and is stain resistant.

Nylon carpeting is another very popular carpet fiber type, again mainly due to its durability. As a result it is ideal for both light and heavy traffic areas of the home. Like PET carpeting, nylon carpeting is also stain and mildew resistant.

Due to its many benefits, and that nylon is a synthetic man made material, nylon carpeting is fairly expensive. About the only other type of carpet fiber that is more expensive than it, is wool carpet, and wool carpeting is rarely used in wall-to-wall carpeting applications.

Acrylic carpeting is also similar to wool carpeting and again it is fairly pricy. It’s also resistant to staining, moisture, mildew, and fading. However, it is a bit more sensitive to crushing and thus is not recommended for high traffic areas.

Carpeting made from olefin fibers is typically a low cost carpet type and is often used in indoor/outdoor carpeting applications. It is also durable, very easy to clean, and is highly resistant to color fading. It is, however, not very crush resistant, particularly if it has a thick pile.

Carpeting made from polyester fibers looks great and is fairly durable, but like acrylic carpeting it is not recommended for high traffic areas.

Carpet density is another major consideration when shopping for carpeting.

Carpet density refers to the numbers of fibers per square inch of carpet. The higher the carpet density the more closely packed together the fibers, and the more durable the carpet. When shopping for carpet make sure to purchase the highest carpet density you can afford. The higher the carpet density the more comfortable it will feel and the more durable it will be. You can get a rough idea of carpet density by looking at the back side of carpet swatches. The more bare area you see the lower the carpet density.

Carpeting installed in basement

Carpet pile type is the other major factor to consider when buying carpet. The two most common types of carpet pile are loop pile and cut pile. Loop piles have stands of yarn that are attached at both ends of the yarn to the carpet backing, thus forming a loop. Cut pile carpeting has the loop effectively cut at the top of the carpet surface leaving tufts of yarn to stick upwards. Cut piles are typically more durable than loop piles, however loop piles are often used in higher traffic areas. Cut pile carpet types include plush, velvet, and shag type carpeting. Loop pile carpets include carpet types such as berber and cable.

To conclude, when shopping for carpeting do your upfront homework and make sure to ask the carpet salesperson about the performance rating of each carpet type you are considering.

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