Have you gotten bored
with the look of your home? Nothing can change the look and
feel of your home as easily as new carpet. Carpet will add
luxurious warmth and softness to almost any room in the house.
The endless array of styles and colors available today means
that you no longer have to live with the “Builder
Beige” carpet that came with your home. Why not explore
your options and discover what’s new in the world of carpet.
See how easy it is to love your home again.
Start out by asking
yourself some questions:
How will this area be used?
Will it have light or heavy traffic?
Do you have Pets?
How long do you intend to live with this carpet?
What color do you want to use?
What is your favorite style of carpet?
What is the right fiber for your needs?
What about the Pad?
will this area be used? Will it have light or heavy
The amount of traffic or use that an area will receive is one
of the most important factors to consider when selecting carpet.
Areas that get a lot of traffic like Family rooms, Stairs and
Hallways need to have carpet that is designed to withstand abuse
These are not the areas to skimp on quality or to try to cut
costs. The quality of the carpet will quickly become apparent
in an area with heavy traffic. Consider using darker colors,
multi-tones or tweeds to help hide the dirt and soiling that
accumulates in heavily used areas. Patterned carpet also helps
hide the traffic patterns. Berbers, friezes and dense textured
plushes all work well in high traffic areas.
Kids rooms, Guestrooms and other areas with light traffic are
areas that do not need the best quality carpet. These are the
areas to balance out your flooring budget.
Pet owners need to use
caution when purchasing new carpet! There are a lot of advertisements
in magazines and on TV that give the impression of a “pet proof” carpet.
Be careful! The new stain and soil resistant technology found
in today’s carpet is better than it has ever been, but
there is no such thing as “stain-proof” or “pet
proof” carpet! If you have pets, consider using darker
colors, multi-tones or tweeds. Loop-pile Berbers are NOT recommended
because they can snag on a pet’s claws and can unravel.
Once unraveled, looped Berbers are almost impossible to fix.
Very dense textured plushes work well with pets because “accidents” and
other spills stay on the surface making it easier to clean up.
Regardless of the type of carpet selected, pet “accidents” should
be immediately cleaned up to help prevent permanent damage to
long do you intend to live with this carpet?
Is this a starter home
for you? Do you expect to be moving within the next five years
or is this the home that you will retire in? The longer you
plan to keep the house, the higher the carpet quality should
be. If the carpet is just being installed in a child's room you
might want to use a less expensive carpet. When your child
gets tired of the color in a few years, you can change it
knowing that it didn’t cost much in the
The carpet will be the
foundation of your room’s decor.
You can either allow it to remain neutral by blending it into
the surrounding color scheme or you can choose to make the carpet
the focal point by selecting a color or style that immediately
grabs your attention when you enter the room. Either way, it
is a personal decision that should reflect your own style.
Lighter colors will make a space look larger
and brighter. Deeper colors will create a space that is quaint
and more intimate. Blues, greens and grays are cooling and serene.
Reds, yellows and browns tend to warm an area. Regardless of
your preference, you can find a carpet that fits your style.
There are more carpet styles than you could possibly imagine.
Selecting the right one for your lifestyle is crucial to your
ultimate satisfaction with your purchase. The possibilities
are endless but here are some descriptions of the most common
Velvet/Plush - Velvets and plushes have the
smoothest surfaces of the different carpet constructions. They
lend themselves to a more formal atmosphere. The smooth elegant
pile will show footprints and shading more than any other style.
Velvets look great in Formal Living rooms and Dining rooms.
Saxony - Saxonies have a smooth level finish
yet the yarns are tufted with well defined tips so they will
create a less formal look than a plush or velvet Saxonies work
well in Traditional Living rooms, Dining rooms and in Bedrooms.
Saxonies will show subtle footprints and vacuum marks.
Textured Saxony -
The yarn tips are slightly crimped or twisted in a textured
Saxony. This crimping gives the pile’s surface a frosted
or highlighted look that helps hide footprints and other marks.
Textured saxonies look great in any room in the house and
they hide wear better than velvets and plushes.
Frieze - This style is probably the most
functional of all the carpet styles. The yarns are twisted so
tight that they crimp and bend over. The tufts actually work
like coils that bounce back up after being walked on. Friezes
will give a room a beautiful informal look and will generally
wear great. Friezes show almost no footprints or vacuum marks
due to the curly textured surface. Friezes are perfect for Family
rooms, Hallways and Stairs.
Berbers and Looped Piles - These types of
carpets are made from continuous, looped strands of yarn. They
can either be tufted to have all of the loops at the same height
or the loop heights can be varied to create a sculptured or
patterned look. Berbers are usually found in natural colors
with flecks of browns and grays to give it a more natural look.
Though, colored berbers have become more popular in recent years, they provide a warm, casual look with great durability. One note
of caution - because Berbers are tufted with continuous strands
of yarn, they may snag and can unravel. Berbers are not recommended
for households that have dogs or cats. Also, you should never
drag any furniture across a loop pile carpet.
Cut and Loop -
Sometimes called “sculptured” carpet,
cut and loop carpets are tufted using a combination of cut and
looped yarns. This combination provides a variety of patterns
and carved designs. They are usually dyed in multitone colorations
so they are great for hiding dirt and stains. They also do well
at hiding footprints and vacuum marks.
Cut Pile Berbers - One of
the newer looks in the carpet industry, Cut Pile Berbers offer
the best of both worlds. They provide the natural look of a
Looped Berber Pile without the problems of snagging and unraveling.
They have the thick soft feel of a Saxony combined with the
functionality of a Frieze. They look great in any room in the
There are five main carpet
fibers used to make most of the carpet produced today. Each
fiber has different characteristics that will help determine
which is the right choice for your needs. Keep in mind that
fiber alone does not decide how well a carpet will perform.
As with most products, a carpet’s
quality and performance are also dependent upon the way it has
been constructed. The density of the pile as well as the twist
of the yarn have as much to do with a carpet’s quality
and performance as the type of fiber used. Here is a brief description
of the five main fibers:
Nylon is the most commonly used carpet fiber. Two thirds of
all cut pile carpet made today uses this fiber. Nylon has
excellent resilience, abrasion resistance and soil resistance.
is better than any other synthetic used in the construction
of carpet. It can be dyed in an endless array of colors and
made into many styles and textures. Some Nylon is solution
dyed which means that the dye is added to the fiber while
it is still in a liquid state. When this liquid is extruded
into a fiber, it is colorfast offering great stain resistance.
Most solution dyed Nylon is used commercially.
Olefin (Polypropylene) -
Many of today’s
Looped Berber styles use Olefin because it looks very much like
a natural fiber. Olefin is solution dyed so it is very stain
resistant. Olefin is generally limited to looped pile construction, although some Olefin is used for outdoor synthetic turf and
occasionally in very dense commercial cut pile applications.
Olefin is not very resilient so it is rarely used in residential
cut pile constructions.
Polyester - Today's Polyester isn't the same Polyester that was used to make that shag carpet that your mom had in her living room so many years ago! Today's Polyester is a whole new fiber! Polyester today is stronger and inherently more stain resistant that your mom's Polyester so it wears better, cleans better and just lasts longer. Compared to other fibers, Polyester is a bulkier and thicker feeling fiber and costs less than nylon carpet of the same weight. Polyester fiber has excellent color clarity, color retention and resistance to water soluble stains. Most Polyester used today is called "PET Polyester" and is actually made from recycled plastic soda bottles which make it a very environmentally friendly product. In fact, one square yard of PET Polyester carpet keeps about 30 plastic soda bottles out of the landfill and because it's derived from "food grade" soda bottles, it's actually a higher quality Polyester than generic polyester fiber! Mohawk alone recycles over 3 billion plastic soda bottles per year to make their PET carpet!
Triexta (Dupont Sorona and PTT) - In March of 2009 the Federal Trade Commission found this fiber to be so unique, that it deserved a category all its own. It's the first time that this has happened since Nylon was recognized in 1959! Triexta is a remarkably soft, stain resistant, durable and long lasting fiber. It's an Earth-friendly fiber of which 37% of it's polymer is derived from renewable resources like corn sugar. It requires 30% less energy and produces 67% less greenhouse gas emissions that in takes to produce and equal amount of type-6 nylon. Triexta has permanent, engineered-in stain protection that won't wear or wash off and it even resists discoloration caused by bleach! It's one of the softest feeling fibers used in the production of carpet today and test have shown that it wears comparably to nylon. Though the FTC just recognized Triexta in 2009, it has actually been used and proven in the market place since about 2001 or 2002.
Wool is the original carpet fiber and has been used in carpet
construction for centuries. No synthetic fiber has yet been
able to match Wool’s
warmth, look and feel. Wool is an environmentally friendly
product and is a renewable resource. Because Wool fibers spiral
as they grow, they have a natural tendency to bounce back
just like a spring after they have been compressed. This natural
resilience can not be matched by synthetic fibers. Wool fibers
also have a thin protective membrane that gives it a natural
ability to resist dirt, spills and stains.
The padding is an often overlooked element in the carpet selection
process. The right pad is the foundation of a quality carpet
installation. The pad serves many purposes. It makes the carpet
feel more luxurious, it absorbs sound, it insulates and adds
warmth, it makes the carpet easier to keep clean and most importantly
a quality pad extends the life of your carpet. In fact, the
pad is so important that almost every carpet manufacturer requires
that a quality pad be used in order to comply with their warranties.
There are generally three types of cushion used in carpet installations
today: Rubber, Fiber and Foam. All three work well under the
Flat Rubber - This padding is normally used
in large scale commercial applications. It also works very well
with radiant heated floors. Waffled Rubber cushion is used primarily
for residential use. Rubber cushion is specified in ounces:
40, 60, 80 and 100 ounce for Waffle cushion and 56, 64, 90 and
110 ounce are the most common weights for Flat Rubber padding.
Fiber - This padding is made by interlocking
loose fiber into felt sheets. The fiber can be natural such as
jute and animal hair or synthetic using both virgin or recycled
man made fiber. This cushion is not used as often as other types.
Fiber is usually specified by its use: Light, Medium or Heavy
This padding comes in three categories: Prime, Froth and Bonded.
Prime Polyurethane is similar to the cushion that is used
for upholstery, mattresses and furniture. Generally, Prime
Foam does not withstand heavy use. Froth Polyurethane is thin,
dense padding normally used for commercial applications. Bonded Polyurethane,
often called Rebond, is made by combining chopped and shredded
pieces of foam into continuous sheets. The Bonded Foam padding
industry uses almost all of the scrap and recycled foam produced in the
United States. It is truly an environmentally friendly product.
It can be used both residentially and commercially and is the
most commonly used cushion for carpet installations. There are
two measurements to be aware of when specifying Rebond: Density
and Thickness. Density is measured in pounds per cubic foot
and the thickness in fractions of an inch. For residential use,
most manufacturers require a minimum density of 6 pounds per
cubic foot and a maximum thickness of 1/2 inch to comply with
their warranty requirements.