How To Buy Carpet and Flooring Wisely
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Which Carpet Style Should I Choose?
Choosing the right carpet style for your home can be a daunting task. With an array of materials, textures, and colors available, it’s important to consider all the factors that will affect you and your family’s comfort and aesthetic preferences when deciding on the perfect carpet style for your home.
This style of carpet is usually one solid color and has a smooth, even pile height. During manufacturing, the tufts of this style of carpet are sheared to make the pile surface perfectly flat. It is the most popular style used in homes and apartments today.
You can find Plush Styles in practically every color imaginable. When made of nylon this type of carpet cleans easily and will wear very well if properly maintained. Plush style carpets will show footprints and vacuum marks. Learn more About carpet fibers
This plush carpet style often has more than one color of yarn and has varying tuft height, thus reducing footprint and vacuum marks. It comes in many colors and has about the same cost as an even pile height plush style. This is a good carpet style for kids, and when treated with a anti-stain chemical is easy to maintain and spot clean.
High / Low (Sculptured)
This style has looped and cut tufts creating a sculptured or manicured look. Generally this style is made with a high cut-pile and a low loop pile to create a sculptured looking design.
This style is usually made using two or more colors to help hide dirt and show less vacuum marks and footprints. The color usually varies in shade from light to dark and is rich in appearance. The popularity of this style was in its heyday back in the 1960's and in recent years has become a popular choice for apartment owners because it hides dirt very well.
FRIEZE (my favorite)
This style of carpet has very tightly twisted tufts which is why it is more durable and resists matting and crushing of the pile. The tufts are not straight like a plush style, rather they are crooked, or wiggly in appearance.
I think it makes any room look fantastic. It is often used in heavy traffic areas and provides reduced footprint and vacuum marks. Typically more expensive than plush styles, a Frieze style would be a durable and elegant selection for any home.
This cut-pile style has a relatively dense erect tuft configuration, and has well-defined individual tuft tips (this means it is easy to see each tuft on the surface of the carpet, (giving it a rugged look or beefed up appearance). Similar to a plush style, I think of it like a textured plush on steroids!
Berber showed up in the marketplace back in the early 1980's and has become quite popular in recent years because of its elegant appearance. The tufts are usually looped and aligned in rows for a clean uniform look. Some Berber styles have loops and cut loops allowing for an elegant sculptured appearance. Some Berber styles have patterns using cut loops and loops.
When choosing this carpet be sure to select a style with smaller loops to get the best wear, like the one shown above. Larger looped Berber styles tend to collapse more quickly and look worn-out sooner. Learn more about Berber Carpet styles here.
CUT PILE BERBER aka as "California Berber"
This style of Berber is not a looped Berber like most of you have seen, in fact it is more like a frieze. It does not have any loops because the loops have been cut which is why they call it a "Cut" Berber. It has a similar appearance of a plush or Frieze style carpet but has a multicolored appearance, a speckled egg appearance.
Buying a Cut Berber made of Nylon is the best way to go if you want it to last the longest. Usually the main color is off white (or a lighter shade) with colorful highlights and flecks of deep blues, reds and green colors throughout. What you need to know About Carpet Fibers
COMMERCIAL GRADE CARPETS
Above are three different colors of a commercial grade level-loop carpet. Commercial carpets are generally used in offices and commercial applications where there is very heavy traffic. There are two types I want to mention.
Commercial Level loop has small loops and Commercial Cut Pile is a short napped plush type of carpet. Both are usually made of nylon or olefin (Polypropylene). Commercial carpets are designed to tolerate heavy traffic.
Even when made from Olefin, commercial grade looped styles wear like iron. Why? Because the loops are very small and tightly packed together. The pile height is very low usually less than 3/8". These specifications are the biggest secret to what makes carpet more durable.
On the other side of the coin, larger-looped Berber styles made of Olefin (residential grade) tend to mat down fast and look worn out more quickly in main traffic lanes. In any residential setting choosing a Berber style made from Nylon would be the most durable choice.
Commercial grade carpets can be installed over a thin padding or glued directly to the floor without a pad. Gluing it down without a pad will yield the best results, especially if you are looking for a carpet that will last a long time and take a beating. This is what they use in airports, banks and offices.
Here's an example of a commercial cut-pile carpet. Notice how smooth the pile is compared to the level loop styles shown above.