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Carpet Options

This DIY Basic will provide tips on carpet options.

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Step 1: Watch an Overview Video

Step 2: Determine the Function of the Space

Start by asking the right questions:

  • What is the function of the space? High/low traffic? Outside access? Pets? Children? Food?
  • What kind of lighting do you have?
  • How big is room? What shape?
  • Are you selling or staying in your home?

Choose the right carpet for space:

  • For large areas, Textured carpet is a good choice because it’s simple, durable, and looks great in any room
  • Frieze (free-zay) carpet has cut loops that curl at ends; it’s soft and cozy, super durable, great for family rooms and high-traffic areas
  • Loop or Berber carpet is also great for active households because flecks of color hide traffic patterns
  • Pattern Cut or Cut & Loop carpet creates patterns, bold or subtle; it’s durable and adds wow factor

Step 3: Consider Fiber and Construction

Fiber and construction determine how long carpet will look good.

  • Most carpets are made of nylon or polyester. Polyester is cheaper but can mat and crush in six months, especially in high traffic areas. Nylon is slightly more costly, but is durable and has stain and soil protectants engineered into fiber. Nylon may cost more upfront, but the investment in quality pays off in the long run.
  • Face weight tells how much fiber is in carpet: the more fiber, the better the carpet will wear. For quality and longevity, look for carpet in 40-ounce range and up.
  • The more twists, the more durable the carpet: look for a minimum of five twists per inch; the tighter the twist, the more durable the carpet
  • For high-traffic areas, choose very durable carpet made of high quality nylon
  • Short-pile height retains texture best
  • For low-traffic areas use more luxurious style

Step 4: Choose Stain and Soil Repellency

Stain Repellency

  • Carpet staining is caused by food or beverage spills.
  • Most carpet has some form of stain protection
  • Polyester fibers are stain resistant, but liquids can soak into carpet backing, causing discoloration
  • Carpet made with high-grade nylon fiber with stain protectant repels liquids

Soil Repellency

  • Soiling is caused by dirt and oils tracked onto carpet
  • Not all carpets have soil protection

Carpet Cushion

  • Pad with moisture barrier will protect subfloors from stains and odors

Step 5: Check the Warranty


  • Check warranty to learn stain and soil repellency. Good warranty covers total replacement cost for life of carpet, about 10-15 years.
  • Avoid warranties with pro-rated terms that give significantly less coverage as time goes by
  • Read the fine print: A good warranty will cover the total replacement cost for the life of the carpet.

Tip: Have a professional install carpet and make sure the estimate includes padding, installation, seaming, and moving or removal fees.

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