Although carpet selection is driven by personal taste, there are some simple pointers that will help you pick the right carpet for your application.
How a carpet is constructed affects a carpet's appearance, "hand" and resilience. Here are the main construction types.
These products have exceptional appearance retention. Since there are no exposed yarn tips, only the sides of the yarn are exposed to wear and stress. Loop piles generally withstand heavy traffic better than cut piles, plus they provide a good alternative to patterns.
- Level Loop -
Loop pile with small, even loops, densely tufted.
- Berber Loop -
Characterized by large loops in natural colorations.
- Cut & Loop -
These products are combination of cut piles and loop piles. They can be boldly patterned or have more subtle or understated patterns.
The most popular type of construction, representing more than half of carpet purchases. Cut pile is suitable for virtually any area of the home and for any type of décor. There are four types of cut piles:
- Velvet -
Dense construction with low pile height. Fibers are tightly twisted and close together to create rich smooth velvety surface.
- Saxony -
A variety of level cut pile styles with distinct, upright tufts. These may vary in appearance from loose to dense constructions in a range of pile heights.
- Textured Saxony -
This is a Saxony with yarn crimped to create curled tufts. The textured appearance helps hide footprints and vacuum marks.
- Multi-Color Texture -
This is a textured Saxony with blended colors used to create a subtle multi-coloration or heather tone.
Nylon, polyester, and polypropylene (olefin) are all common synthetic fibers used for carpet. Each is a petrochemical fiber derived from oil or natural gas. Wool is the primary natural fiber used in carpet.
- Nylon -
Nylon is the most widely-used carpet fiber and represents more than 60 % of all face fiber used in the United States' carpet industry. Nylon's characteristics such as excellent resilience, abrasion resistance, dyeing versatility, and styling flexibility make it a popular choice. Nylon performs very well and is resistant to staining if it receives a stain resistant treatment.
- Polypropylene -
Polypropylene represents more than 25 % of the total fibers used in the U.S. carpet industry. Because the fiber is naturally moisture-resistant, it must be "solution-dyed" therefore limiting the color range. Polypropylene BCF is not as resilient or resistant to abrasion as nylon BCF, therefore the carpet construction must compensate for these engineered properties. Polypropylene is most commonly used in loop pile constructions. Properly constructed, polypropylene carpets offer exceptional value.
- Polyester -
Polyester has been well accepted for its bulkiness, soft hand, color clarity, and its excellent stain and fade resistant properties. Though not as resilient as nylon, Polyester offers good performance if properly constructed.
- Wool -
Wool, the original fiber, has been used in carpets since ancient times. About 1 percent of the U.S. market consists of products made with wool fiber. Quality wool comes from special breeds of sheep, which produce a coarser, thicker fiber than those raised for fine apparel wools. Wool has excellent aesthetic properties. Modern synthetic fibers have superior engineered performance properties; but they have not fully achieved the natural patina of wool.
Carpet wool comes from New Zealand, Argentina, the United Kingdom, etc. The term "berber", which is now considered a type of construction, originated from some of the natural wool colors used in the manufacturing of carpet.
Although wool does not have the abrasion resistance to moisture absorption of synthetic fibers, it cleans well and therefore "ages gracefully".