- Ideas & How-Tos
Choose Your Savings
This guide is designed to give you the facts you need to choose the right carpet for your lifestyle and your decor.
When using weight to compare carpets, make sure you're comparing similar materials, like nylon to nylon, not nylon to polyester.
Carpet fibers are made from either natural materials, like wool, or synthetic materials, like nylon, olefin, acrylic and polyester. Each material brings unique characteristics to carpet.
Carpet is available with stain-resistant fibers and finishes, which is ideal for homes with children and pets. Treatments are supplemental to the natural resistance of your carpet fibers. The most effective treatments are integrated as part of the manufacturing process; finishes applied later are not as long-lasting. One example of an effective carpet treatment is heat setting, which is a manufacturing process that reinforces the twists of the yarn plies to add durability.
Cut pile fiber ends are cut evenly. There are several types of cut pile:
Loop pile yarns are looped and fastened to the backing. These are very durable carpets and usually a good choice for high traffic areas. There are two types of loop pile carpeting:
Cut and Loop offers a combination of the above, allowing more options of textures and patterns. Cut and loop achieves a sculptured pattern with varied levels of uncut low loops and sheared top loops. The pattern looks as if it's been cut into the carpet and usually features several tones from the same color family. The change in color helps disguise wear and soiling. Cut and loop doesn't necessarily hold up as well as loop pile, but is considerably softer.
Padding is just as important as the carpet itself - in some ways even more so. Although it's not visible, the cushioning layer is critical to carpet installation. Installing the proper backing cushions the foot, insulates from cold and noise, and increases the life of the carpet.
Remember that thicker is not always better. A floor that's too soft can be dangerous, especially to those whose steps may be a bit unstable at times. When foot testing a carpet in the showroom, test it with a padding sample underneath. Also be sure to follow the manufacturer guidelines as to which padding to choose. Different kinds of carpet require different padding and carpet will not wear properly with the wrong kind of padding.
Peel-and-stick carpet tiles are a good do-it-yourself flooring option. The adhesive system keeps the carpet in place and eliminates curling. Another benefit is that you can mix and match colors and patterns to suit your décor.