How to Select the Perfect Carpet

Choosing the right floor covering is simple with these tips from DIY experts.

loop style pile carpeting has continuous loop

Though numerous carpet options are available, there are basically only two styles of carpet -- loop pile and cut pile.

In the loop-style pile each of the ends is connected into the backing so there's a continuous loop. If you actually ran a pin underneath, you would feel the loop.

In the cut-style pile, the loops are actually cut so that there are individual ends sticking up through the backing. If you ran the same pin through there the pin would lift right up. It is like a sheer cut pile.

Fiber is a critical area when it comes to carpet. There are three basic fibers used today in the carpet industry:

  • Polypropylene, such as the loop-style pile.

  • Polyester, which is made from recycled beverage containers.

  • Nylon, the most popular and durable fiber by far.

In addition, the natural fiber of choice today is wool. Wool is a traditional carpet fiber, but its high price makes it less common. 

Cut pile carpet can go throughout the house. It is comfortable underfoot and makes for a very attractive floor. Loop pile styles are used in heavy traffic areas. Areas where children are or where there is a lot of activity. It will perform and last for a long time.

When it comes to easy-to-clean carpet, olefin is a product that is naturally stain resistant. It will take most household food stains and you will be able to clean it. Polyester is naturally stain resistant because it doesn't accept those kinds of dyes either. It is a critical product in applications where staining will be an issue. Nylon is treated for stain resistance -- there is an over treatment that you put in that will allow you to take stains out. Wool takes more care and cleaning to get stains out.

Pricing changes from one carpet to another because of the various weights and structures. The very low end of the scale in most cases is olefin. Polypropylene is the cheapest product, polyester is the second and nylon is the highest quality of the synthetics. Wool is considerably more expensive than the others.

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