Carpet is both a comfortable and fashionable choice for your home.
It is quiet, insulates well from cold, and comes in a wide variety of colors. When choosing carpet, you have many different materials and styles available to choose from, and the decision can be somewhat daunting at times. This buying guide is designed to give you the facts you need to make an informed choice when you decide to carpet your floors.
Treatments for 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.
Types of Carpet
- Fiber is the carpet material itself. Single fibers are spun together to create two, three or four-ply yarn, which is then attached to a woven backing.
- Pile refers to the height of the fiber.
- Density is the measure of how closely packed the strands of fiber are to one another. The higher the density, the stronger the carpet.
- Carpet weight is measured in ounces per square yard. Face weight refers to the amount of fiber on the surface of the carpet, while total weight includes the backing and latex as well. High face weight is a good indication of quality. Note: When using weight to compare carpets, make sure you’re comparing similar materials, like nylon to nylon, not nylon to polyester.
- Texture comes from the style in which fibers are looped, twisted or cut. This determines the look and feel of the carpet, and plays a large role in its durability.
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 a quality carpet installation. Installing the proper backing cushions the foot, insulates from cold and noise, and increases the life of the carpet. Always use a quality backing but 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 oftentimes your carpet will not wear properly with the wrong kind of padding.
Peel and stick carpet tiles have become an excellent do-it-yourself flooring method. New technology has provided carpet squares that are easy to install, clean and maintain. The adhesive system keeps the carpet in place and eliminates curling. Homeowners can mix and match colors and patterns to suit their décor.
Area Rugs are also a popular floorcovering alternative. A variety of materials, sizes, shapes, and colors are available to complement your new (or old) floor.