Carpet Buying Advice
Nothing beats the soft, luxurious feel of carpet beneath your feet. Carpeting provides a safe and comfortable environment for children to play, and it may even reduce the risk of injury during a fall. Sure, carpet requires more upkeep than vinyl or tile, but there's simply no substitute for it in terms of sound absorption, warmth, and overall comfort.
With so many different colors, materials, and designs to choose from, selecting the best carpet for your home can be difficult. Some materials may necessitate frequent cleanings that will simply not fit into your busy schedule, others may be expensive, and some may even be harmful to your health. The incorrect carpet may wear out quickly, fade, or show stains that defy your best cleaning efforts. With these carpet-buying tips, you can protect your investment and select the best carpeting for your home.
Consider Different Carpet Styles
Carpet is available in a variety of styles, including plush, Saxony, Berber, textured, and frieze. These terms refer to the pile, which is the visible surface made of yarn tufts folded over into loops, cut straight across, or both. While each style has a distinct appearance, this should not be your primary consideration. Instead, consider how well your lifestyle fits with a specific carpet style. Plush carpeting, for example, is thick, soft, and inviting due to its tightly twisted pile. However, it also shows footprints and vacuum tracks, and it can develop "pooling," or areas that appear shaded because the carpet fibers' normal direction has been reversed. The most common type of carpeting is Saxony, which is similar to plush. These carpet styles are best suited for high-traffic areas such as formal living rooms and master bedrooms.
Berber carpeting, on the other hand, is flat and dense and made from continuous fiber loops. It can be designed with a level loop, a cut-and-loop, or a multi-level loop. Berber is extremely durable and does not show tracks, soil, or stains as a result of these characteristics, making it ideal for high-traffic areas or areas frequented by children.
Textured carpeting is made of fibers that have been cut to different heights, causing them to reflect light. As a result, it is difficult to see tracks and dirt. As a result, this type of carpeting is ideal for high-traffic areas. Some Berbers have a textured appearance.
Friezes are cut-pile carpets with slightly twisted fibers. The style is less formal than plush, but more formal than many textured pieces or Berber. The carpet is soft on your feet, but its fuzziness effectively hides footprints and dirt.
Don't Go Overboard With Your Spending
Even the most opulent carpet does not have to be prohibitively expensive. Look around for carpet that fits your needs and budget. Always request separate pricing for materials and installation so you can compare different suppliers on a "apples-to-apples" basis.
Choose the best carpet for each room to make the most of any budget. For example, stain-resistant products may be worth the investment in your busy family room, but low-traffic carpeting may suffice in your guest rooms.
To keep costs even lower, consider lifetime replacement and maintenance costs. If you have children or pets, consider using carpet tile instead of rolled carpeting. Instead of replacing the entire room after a few years of spills and stains, you can replace individual tiles as needed to keep your carpet looking new.
Before you buy, look into different material options to find the right balance of price and comfort. Wool is the best carpet material available, but it is also the most expensive. Nylon and other synthetics have a similar feel to wool but are less expensive. Try low-cost options like Olefin or polyester for moisture-prone areas like basements or stairwells.
Choose Your Carpet Provider With Caution
Carpet can be purchased in a variety of places, including carpet showrooms, flooring companies, furniture stores, large department stores, and even online. While any of these options can result in beautiful carpet that is expertly installed, your best bet is to choose a reputable establishment that specializes in carpeting.
A good carpet store will have a large and diverse selection of carpets, including wool, synthetics, blends, sisal, linen, jute, coir, and woven vinyl. Staff should be able to answer all of your questions and allow you to take samples home with you.
The installation of your carpet is just as important as the quality of the carpet itself. A shoddy job can result in visible seams, lumps, bumps, and other flaws, so look for stores that employ their own installers. This can be challenging because most carpet dealers use subcontractors. While subcontracted carpet installers are not always inexperienced, they are less experienced and skilled than full-time employees. If you can't find a good shop that employs its own installers, make sure your carpet dealer's subcontractors have worked with them for a long time.
Recognize the Needs for Maintenance
One of the best ways to ensure you'll be happy with your new carpet is to stick with easy-to-maintain carpeting. Homeowners with young children, pets, or both should avoid difficult-to-clean shag or high-end rugs. Stain-resistant carpets can reduce the stress associated with spills and may shorten your cleaning time.
Before you buy, always ask a salesperson about cleaning and maintenance requirements. Determine how frequently you'll need to clean and what special equipment or products the manufacturer suggests. Unless you have the extra time to perform these tasks, avoid carpets that require extensive maintenance.
The material and style of carpet you select can also have a significant impact on maintenance. To hide footprints and vacuum cleaner tracks, choose textured rugs. Look for textured Saxony, level loop, or high-density loop carpets in high traffic areas to resist dirt and make cleaning easier. Cut pile and multilevel loop carpets should only be used in low- to medium-traffic areas because they tend to trap dirt and resist cleaning efforts.
Color and Pattern Comparison
With so many colors and designs to choose from, choosing the right finish may be the most difficult part of your carpet-buying decision. Narrow your search by selecting shades that correspond to the overall mood or tone you want to establish in each room. Cool blues and greens can be used to create a calm, peaceful environment, while warm reds and golds can be used to make a large space feel cozier. Light colors can make small rooms feel larger and more open, so if you're feeling claustrophobic, try cream or tan.
Before you choose a neutral color, consider whether you want your carpet to be a focal point or fade into the background. Only use neutral colors if your walls, furniture, or artwork serve as focal points, as this will help you avoid a boring, monotone design.
Stains can be hidden by using dark colors or patterns, as well as tweed or textured carpet designs. Stick to designs in the same color family to make patterned rugs work with other patterns in a room. Use carpet tiles to create your own patterns and designs, or to add a border around the perimeter of the room, for maximum versatility.
Always request carpet samples in each color you're thinking about buying. Before you buy, try to get the largest samples possible and take them home to examine them in natural light. Sun exposure can fade colored carpeting, so choose fade-resistant products if your carpet will be exposed to direct sunlight.
Stairs Should Be Handled With Caution
Because stairs get a lot of wear, and the carpeting has to be bent over the edges of each step, choosing the right carpeting for your stairs is critical. A cut-pile carpet is preferable to a looped pile carpet because the spaces between the loops tend to open up where the carpet curls over the stairs, a phenomenon known as "grinning." Looped carpets can also snag, particularly at seams and transition points.
Another factor to consider is density. If the carpet isn't thick enough, the unsightly backing may show through when the carpet is curved over the steps. Sticking your fingers deep into a carpet sample is one way to test the density. If you can easily separate the fibers and feel the backing, it is most likely not the best choice for your stairs.
A woven wool carpet is actually the best option. Woolen carpets are the most durable, and their woven backing keeps each piece of yarn in place, which is especially important for stairwells. Wool carpets, on the other hand, are quite expensive.
Area Rugs vs. Carpeting
You might be better off with an area rug rather than wall-to-wall carpeting. How did you find out? Consider the following two examples. The main benefits of carpeting are that it is soft and warm underfoot, muffles sound, and provides cushioning if you fall. It's also reasonably priced. Carpet, on the other hand, traps dust, mites, and other allergens, which can be problematic if members of your household suffer from allergies or asthma. Carpet is also difficult to clean, absorbs odors like pet urine, and typically wears out within 10 years, so you'll need to re-carpet – and sometimes not just the one room with the really worn carpet, but the entire house, depending on where the carpet runs.
Area rugs are a popular flooring option because they come in a wider range of colors and designs, can be moved between rooms, and are relatively inexpensive. A fun or colorful area rug is also easier to make a statement with than wall-to-wall carpeting, and you can take your rug with you when you move. The main disadvantage of an area rug is that it necessitates reasonably nice flooring underneath it, as some of your floor will almost certainly be visible. Perfect if you have a lovely hardwood floor. If you don't, you'll need a floor that's in reasonably good condition.