Carpet 101

Published on Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

Carpet 101

Carpet is officially in style. It’s entirely customizable. Bold, daring, and eccentric styles are becoming more and more popular as the importance of customizing your environment rises. Expressing who you are as an individual with colors, patterns, and originality is the current trend. Whether it be earth tones, shades of wine, or a confident mixture of deep reds, greens, blues, and purples, your carpet will complete the look of your home. Read our Carpet 101 guide to uncover your ideal carpet.

Carpet 101: Terminology

Carpet is made of either manmade or natural materials, also known as carpet fibers. Manmade fibers include nylon, polyester, polypropylene, and acrylics, while natural materials can be either wool or fibers that are typically made into area rugs such as sisal, cotton, seagrass, jute, silk, and coir.

  • Nylon is the most common fiber of carpeting due to its reputation for being durable, easy to maintain, and resilient. Nylon will sustain its appearance longer than other fibers, but keep in mind the secret to sustainability is hot water extraction every 12 to 18 months.
  • Polyester is known for its 100% recycled material. It can be made from either bottle caps, tires, or plastic. It’s easy to dye, living up to carpet’s reputation of being entirely customizable. This is not to be confused with recyclable carpet. You cannot recycle polyester as you can with nylon or olefin fibered carpet. To learn more about how you can recycle your carpet, visit the Carpet America Recovery Effort website.
  • Polypropylene/Olefin is valued because of its wool-like appearance. It’s hydrophobic, meaning it does not absorb liquid, and therefore, not prone to mold or mildew so it’s often used for outdoor and marine carpet. It’s also solution-dyed so it’s extremely fade-resistant. As long as you don’t have unrealistic expectations of your polypropylene carpet, it would be appropriate to have in your basement, kids playroom, or in low-traffic areas.
  • Wool is the most common natural fiber of carpeting. It’s high maintenance, highly absorbent (prone to stains), and very expensive. However, when properly maintained, wool can last for many years. Additionally, it’s flame resistant. If a cigarette is dropped on your wool carpet, it will not catch in flames, but it will char.
  • Acrylic carpet is the synthetic wool substitute that you’ve been looking for. It’s easier to clean than wool, it resists soiling, stains, static and mildew, and it’s coloring resist sunlight better than wool, making the colors vivid and bright. However, acrylic fibers deteriorate and pill like polyester.

A carpet pad is installed beneath your carpet to provide extra comfort as well as extend the life of your carpet. In fact, it may be required in your warranty to have carpet padding underneath your carpet just for this reason. However, if a carpet pad isn’t required in your warranty, it’s not necessary for you to have if you simply don’t want it.

Carpet pile is just as important as when you’re considering color or patterns. The carpet pile is all the visible fibers you can see on the surface, and what you have to consider with the pile, is pile height, or length. Height determines the look, feel and durability of the carpet. You have the option of low, medium, and high.

  • Low Carpet Pile is under a 1/4 inch in length and is described as dense quality and has a smooth surface. A low pile carpet is easy to clean, maintain, and durable. However, it’s not very soft or inviting and can feel very coarse on your bare feet.
  • Medium Carpet Pile is 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch in length and is the happy medium between the two extremes. It’s softer than a low pile carpet and easier to clean and maintain compared to high pile carpet fibers.
  • High Carpet Pile is 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in length and is fluffy and soft. It’s basically a dirt and allergen magnet and a bit challenging to clean and maintain due to its long length. Some fibers can get caught in your vacuum, adding to the challenge. Although, it’s a comfortable and cozy addition to low traffic areas in your home.

Diving deeper into our Carpet 101 blog: In addition to knowing the length of your carpet pile, there are different types of the carpet pile to know and understand.

  • Cut and loop pile are the two basic types of the pile and are quite literal. A cut carpet pile has ends that are cut, while loop carpet fibers remain uncut, creating the looped effect. There are also cut-loop carpets that use a combination of the two types to create designs and carved effects.
  • Multilevel loop pile best produces geometric or abstract shapes by utilizing varying levels of loops, with two or three levels being the most common.
  • Level loop pile is a dense and simple loop pattern. It’s best suited for heavy traffic areas.
  • Cut pile is simply loops cut to the same height presenting a more ‘formal’ look. You have additional options with cut pile including;
    • Cut pile twist is simply twisted cut pile and therefore lies in different directions instead of standing on end. It’s durable and maintains resiliency making it great for higher traffic areas.
    • Frieze comes in variations of thick and thin as well as long and short piles and has a less formal look. Long piles, also known as shag piles, stand in all different directions and therefore makes this type of carpet pile very durable.
Carpet 101

Additional Considerations

Carpet tiles are a convenient alternative to standard rolled carpet. Some have the ability to be glued on and others are peel-and-stick and are individually applied to basements, 3-season porches, or overtop existing flooring with ease. This allows for creatives minds to run wild as you can customize the design of your floor with many variations of colored tiles.

Are you eco-friendly?

Consider sisal carpeting. Sisal carpet fiber is a natural carpet fiber extracted from the agave plant’s leaves. It hides dirt and stains well, it’s very durable, and has a beautiful high-end earthy tone to it. The price is considered to be high-end as well.

Carpet 101

Carpet has come a long way. Not only are manufacturers finding new and innovative ways to make carpet environmentally friendly, but easy to clean and maintain on top of that. In fact, the industry is also minimizing environmental impact by recycling carpet at the end of its life, into either new carpet or other products such as roofing shingles or automotive parts.

Now that you know the different and important differentiators between all types of carpet, visit our showroom! You are able to take samples to test out ideas in your home as well as receive expert guidance on what carpet might work best for your lifestyle.

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