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Carpet Buying Guide

Carpet for your home is both a comfortable and fashionable. It can quiet the home and insulate from cold. When choosing carpet, there are many different materials and styles to choose from, and the decision can be somewhat daunting. This is a guide designed to give you the terms and information you need to make a choice when you decide to carpet over your floors.

Carpet Types

Different carpet types use different fiber, pile, density, weight and material to make it unique. Fiber is the carpet material. Fibers are spun together to create 2, 3 or 4-ply yarn, attached to a woven backing. Pile is the height of the fiber. Density is how closely packed the individual strands of fiber are to one another. The higher the density means 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. When using weight to compare different carpets, make sure you're comparing same materials. 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.

Carpet Fibers

Wool has a deep, rich look and feel with excellent durability. It is naturally stain resistant and also resists soil and dirt. This is due to how tightly packed the fibers are. Likewise, wool carpet are higher in price than the synthetic options.


Nylon is the most common carpet material. It is the strongest fiber choice, making it an excellent for heavy traffic areas. It is also the most durable of the synthetics, along with being easy to clean and maintain. Nylon is soil and mildew resistant, and non-allergenic. Beware that some nylon may pill and be prone to static.


Olefin, also know as Polypropylene, was originally a choice for outdoor carpeting and basements due to its resistance to moisture, mildew, water damage, staining, pilling, shedding and static. It is more widely used now for its durability and wool-like feel. Olefin is dyed before it is made into a fiber, so the color lasts.


Polyester is not as durable as nylon, but cheaper and quite stain-resistant. Polyester offers a wide selection of textures and colors. It can pill and shed. It is non-allergenic, sheds moisture, resists moths and mildew. Plus it is easy to clean.


Acrylic, out of the synthetics, is the closest to wool. But, acrylic is manufactured primarily for commercial use. Like other synthetic choices, it is soil resistance, easy to clean and resistance to moths and mildew. Acrylic is available in lots of colors, and resistant to fading.


Having a carpet that is pre-treated is much better than applying a finish after it is installed. A good pre-treatment is heat setting, which is a manufacturing process that reinforces the twists of the yarn plies to add durability.

Cut Pile

Cut Pile fiber ends are cut evenly.


Saxony is a popular carpet of dense, level-cut pile clipped to about 1/2" high. This is probably the type of carpet that you grew up with. The closely packed yarns give a soft smooth surface which is perfect in formal settings. A smooth-finished saxony is often referred to as plush.


Frieze carpets have a short, durable, twisted pile fiber well suited for busy areas. It is used for mostly for commercial purposes. The fibers of a frieze carpet curl in different directions, so they hide footprints and other common carpet marks.

Loop 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:


Berber features large, uncut loops of natural-tone fibers. They varying in size. They are usually made from wool, nylon or olefin. Berber can be denser than most other carpets. It is very stain resistant. Not a good choice for houses with animals as their claws can snag on the fibers.

Level loop

Level loop refers to tufted, uncut loops of equal height. This technique results in a very smooth surface. It is durable and easy to maintain. A great carpet choice for high traffic areas and informal rooms. Level loop is more stiff than the other carpet options and therefore not a comfortable to play on.

Cut and Loop

Carpet Pile Cut and Loop offers a combination of the Cut and Loop Pile, allowing for more types of textures and patterns. This technique can disguise wear and staining. Cut and loop is not as durable loop pile, but it is much softer.

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