Best type of carpet for high traffic areas and pets

Table of Contents

What’s the best carpet for pet owners?

Pet owners looking for new carpet have two main priorities: stain resistance and durability. After all, pet accidents and wear and tear from four-legged traffic can really take a toll on your carpet and shorten its life span, though this seems like a fair trade for the health benefits pets bring to their owners. Many 21st-century consumers have added health and environmental effects to their list of flooring priorities, and finding a carpet that meets these concerns is getting easier.

What makes carpet a good choice for floor covering if you have pets? Wall-to-wall carpeting is more comfortable for pets; after all, many pets spend lots of time lying around on the floor, inspiring spasms of envy in their owners. Carpet is also a nonslip surface that can be safer for animals, whose footpads tend to slide on tile and hardwood flooring. Lastly, carpet absorbs sound and can make your home a more peaceful place to live .

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A common concern with carpeting is that it may contribute to asthma and allergies by collecting dust and pet dander. Both The Carpet and Rug Institute and the Canadian Carpet Institute claim that wall-to-wall carpeting actually traps allergens until they can be vacuumed up. They say that it’s the best choice for allergy sufferers as long as you vacuum and deep clean your carpet regularly. Most allergy experts, however, still recommend hardwood or tile flooring .

If you have your heart set on carpet, you’ll want to take the following factors into consideration when making your selection.

Materials: Carpeting is usually made from wool, a natural fiber, or from synthetic fibers like nylon, olefin and polyester. Wool carpet is the softest and most luxurious, is naturally flame-retardant and breaks down more quickly in landfills, but it’s more expensive than synthetic fibers and not as stain-resistant. Carpeting made from nylon fibers is the most popular because it’s durable, stain-resistant and affordable, making it the most suitable for households with kids and pets. Olefin and polyester are cheaper than nylon but less durable .

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs): Carpet and other common materials found in homes may contain VOCs. These chemicals can cause eye, nose and throat irritation and have neurological effects . Newer carpets contain lower levels of VOCs, and carpets that carry The Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label are certified to be low-VOC. Manufacturing of newer carpets may also require less water and energy, and they’re often made from recycled materials .

Carpets made just for pets: Some carpets have been specifically designed to prevent pet stains from soaking through to your carpet padding, where the moisture can foster bacteria and mold growth. You might also consider carpet tiles, which make replacing damaged sections of the carpet easier. Some colors or patterns hide pet hair better than others, so consider this when choosing new carpet, too.

Once you’ve installed your beautiful, new, pet-friendly carpet, be sure to clean it often and well. Keeping carpet clean and dry prevents mold from growing . To best care for your carpet, choose a vacuum approved by The Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label program, which can reduce airborne dust by 94 percent .

For lots more information about choosing pet-friendly carpet, explore the links below.

Your Guide to Carpet

Experience the soft warmth of carpeting and enjoy a welcome landing spot for happy feet. Carpeting muffles sound to make any room more serene, and the plethora of textures, colors, and patterns enhances your style. You’ll also appreciate the built-in dirt-repelling technologies.

Many of today’s carpets can withstand pets, kids, and heavy traffic. Study the carpet types to help you determine which will stand up to the use of a particular room. Olefin, PET polyester, and triexta fibers all resist stains. Olefin and triexta fare well with household cleaners. Nylon and triexta are known for long wear in high-traffic areas, and both resist pilling and fuzzing.

Carpet Types

Berber Cut-Pile A fresh take on berber with a plush look, berber cut-pile feels thick underfoot and adds personality to any room through beautifully crafted and colored yarns. This carpet suits casual rooms and kids’ rooms, with subtle color flecks that hide soil between cleanings

Berber Loop-Pile and Multilevel Loop A wool-like carpet with a rugged loop surface, this carpet wears well and suits casual rooms with lots of traffic and activity as well as contemporary, country, or cottage furnishings. With its natural, handcrafted appearance, it also creates a warm, personal atmosphere and helps hide footprints and vacuum marks.

Cut-Loop A cut-and-loop pile carpet with discernible carved definition spices up floor surfaces with accent colors and suits both formal and contemporary settings. From soft tonal combinations to bolder color mixes, this carpet hides soil and stains with multicolor effects and looks great between vacuuming.

Saxony This refined cut-pile surface ideal for traditionally styled living and dining rooms adds distinctive elegance to any room. Lending a smooth, soft finish, this carpet shows subtle highlights and accents

Textured Plush A cut-pile carpet that works in a variety of settings and styles hides footprints and vacuum marks. Adding casual beauty to any room, textured plush is a great whole-house carpet and works well for busy households.

Fibers

Knowing the fibers available will help you make the best choice for your gathering rooms, bedrooms, and home offices:

Nylon

  • Durable, resilient
  • Abrasion resistant
  • Wide selection of colors
  • Favorably priced
  • Must be treated to resist stains and soil

PET polyester

  • Clarity in color; colorfast
  • Resists water-soluble stains
  • Luxurious feel

Triexta PTT

  • Permanent stain protection
  • Resists wear
  • Easy maintenance
  • Dries quickly
  • Luxurious feel

Olefin polypropylene

  • Resists fading, chemicals, moisture, and stains
  • Limited color selection
  • Generates static electricity
  • Favorably priced

Carpet Color

There are essentially two ways in which color is created in today’s carpets: Postdyed, or stock-dyed, carpets are dyed after tufting. Most residential carpets are postdyed. Although the color is on the surface of the fiber, new dye additives provide better color retention than ever before, which means the color stands up to sunlight and regular cleaning with less fading. Solution-dyed, or predyed, carpets feature yarns dyed before being sewn together or tufted. This dying method is extremely colorfast and results in color throughout the thickness of the fiber, so fading is less of an issue. Predyed carpets tend to be more expensive than postdyed products.

Combine Carpet & Other Flooring Material

If you have a beautiful wood or stone floor but love the warmth and softness of carpet, it’s possible to have the best of both flooring types. Add an area rug, or have the edges of a piece of carpet finished to look like a custom area rug to fit a room of any size or shape. The edges can be finished with binding or serging. A binding finish is created by stitching a narrow strip of fabric over the edge of the carpet to give it a finished look and prevent raveling. Serging is a whipstitched finishing technique that encases the carpet edge in thread. It is used frequently on Oriental rugs and loop-pile (berber) carpet. Heavy carpets may need to be serged by hand because they are too thick to feed through a carpet-binder machine. Decorative fringe can be sewn onto the edge of a carpet to make it look like a larger area rug.

Replacing Your Carpet

When it’s time to replace your carpet, consider environmental impact. For example, carpet composed of Anso nylon fibers is completely recyclable into new carpet. Carpet made from postconsumer materials (such as plastic soda bottles) or from readily renewable agricultural resources (such as corn) has less of an impact on the environment than carpet that can’t be recycled. Just like any carpet, these environmentally friendly products feel soft underfoot and make an excellent flooring choice for gathering rooms, bedrooms, and home offices.

Most residential carpets made in the United States feature tufts of yarn stitched through a backing fabric. A latex coating sets these tufts in place and anchors them to a secondary backing. Tufts pulled through the backing can either be looped or cut, producing various textures. Here are the most popular styles:

Saxony: Level-cut pile is made up of closely packed tufts; luxurious surface good for formal settings.

Plush: Also called velvet; yarn is longer than a saxony, but is less dense; good for informal rooms.

Frieze: Twisted tufts that curl at the surface create a textured look that hides footprints; suitable for high-traffic areas.

Level Loop: Uncut pile contains loops of yarn of the same height; hides dirt well in high-traffic areas.

Multilevel Loop: Two or three levels of tufts form a random, sculptural look for informal and formal rooms.

Cut-and-Loop (or Cut-Loop): Higher tufts of cut yarn combine with lower loops for informal settings.

Fiber: Although the overall choice here is either synthetic or natural, several fibers are available in the synthetic category.

Wool: Noted for its soft, luxurious feel, but may be less resilient than synthetics, and carpets usually costs more.

Sisal: Made from plant fiber, and popular for its textured look.

Nylon: The strongest, most resilient carpet fiber; good for all traffic areas.

Polyester: Soft to the touch, but less resilient than nylon; resists water-soluble stains; carpets better suited for low-traffic areas.

Olefin: Resists moisture and mildew; suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications.

Acrylic: Often used in plush or level-loop carpet; offers the luxurious appearance and feel of wool at a lower price.

In addition to noting the fiber, pay attention to how the carpet is manufactured. Check the following:

Yarn Twist: All yarns in cut-pile carpeting have been twisted and heat-set to retain the twist. The tighter the twist, the longer the carpet will keep its original appearance. Typically, carpets feature yarns with 2.5-6.0 turns per inch, with most in the 3.5-5.0 TPI range.

Pile Height: Shorter nap resists crushing and looks newer longer.

Density: The amount of yarn used and the closeness of the tufts has a large impact on performance. Denser carpets will be more crush-resistant. To determine density, bend the carpet. Less backing will show in denser carpets.

Types of carpet

Whether you need a good-value carpet that’s tough enough for a hall, or a little luxury for the living room, this guide will help you choose.

If you’re thinking about buying a new carpet, there are a few decisions you need to make. As well as choosing a colour or pattern to suit your space, you’ll also need to pick a type of carpet and a material.

From hand-woven wool to plush synthetics to hard-wearing sisal, there are plenty of materials available. Which you choose will depend on where you’ll use the carpet, and will also ultimately come down to your budget.

The main things to consider are:

  • How much you want to spend. Costs can vary from less than £5 per square metre for a simple synthetic to more than £100 per square metre for a premium, hand-woven design.
  • Who (and what) will be walking on the carpet. High-traffic areas, such as hallways, will benefit from more durable materials. If you’ve got children or you like to entertain, you’ll need something that’s easy to clean, while pets with claws will rule out looped carpets that can easily snag.
  • The look and feel you’re after. The way your carpet is made will affect how it looks – from glossy and plush, to tight and dense – and how it feels underfoot. Think about whether you want a soft pile you can sink your toes into or something flatter and more stable.

Why choose carpet?

Carpet is good for making a room more cosy and insulating your floors. It’s a good choice if you tend to walk around barefoot.

In our latest survey*, most of our 2,000 respondents told us they chose their carpet for comfort, warmth and the way it feels.

But the carpet owners we spoke to pointed out that they had found lots of practical reasons to choose carpet over other flooring types, including:

  • soundproofing
  • to provide a non-slip surface on stairs
  • because pet dogs found laminate too slippery to walk on
  • it can easily be lifted to do work on floorboards or plumbing below
  • objects dropped on a carpet are less likely to break than those dropped on a wooden floor
  • they’re easier to lay over uneven surfaces and can do a better job of disguising the problem.

Choosing a carpet pile

The pile of a carpet describes its individual fibres. These can be looped (where the fibres loop back into the backing material) or cut (cut off at the top).

The key measurements you’ll need to know to assess a carpet’s durability are its density – how closely knitted together its fibres are – and its pile height. In general, short, dense, heavy carpets are more durable and hard-wearing than those with loose, shaggy fibres.

There are a few ways to check a carpet’s durability before you buy, but one quick test is to press your thumb into the pile. The more quickly it springs back and recovers, the more dense and resilient it should be.

You can also take a look at the back of the carpet to see how closely packed the tufts are, or check its weight, which should be printed on the back of your sample swatch. Carpets with long, loose strands are lighter and less durable than short, dense ones.

Woven and tufted carpets

There are two main types of carpet in the UK: woven and tufted. The difference lies in the way they’re made: woven carpets are labour intensive and therefore more expensive, while tufted carpets are easier to produce. Most carpet sold in the UK is tufted.

Woven carpets

You can expect to pay from around £60 per square metre for an authentic woven carpet. They’re made using traditional methods that date back to the 16th century.

They have a reputation for high quality and rich colours, and also tend to be durable. This makes them a popular choice for well-trodden areas that are regularly on show, such as hallways and living rooms.

There are two main types of woven carpet:

  • Axminster carpets are made by weaving fibres in and out through the backing material. They are known for their intricate patterns.
  • Wilton carpets are made on a loom of the same name, which weaves the yarn in a continuous strand.

Tufted carpets

Tufted carpets are by far the most popular in the UK. They’re made by a machine that punches pile yarn into the base material, and come in a variety of styles and materials.

They also come in a wide range of prices, starting at just a couple of pounds per square metre for the cheapest synthetic carpets, and from around £12 per square metre for very basic wool carpets.

Tufted carpets can have either looped or cut pile, which mean they can have very different appearances.

Flick through the gallery below and then read on to find out more about the different types of tufted carpet, or go straight to our interactive tool to help you choose the right carpet.

  • A saxony carpet (image: Carpetright)

  • A twist carpet (image: Carpetright)

  • A loop carpet

  • A Berber carpet

  • A cut and loop carpet

  • A velvet carpet

Saxony carpets

These carpets have a soft, deep, cut pile, but they’re easily flattened and show vacuum cleaner marks. They’re popular for bedrooms and living rooms, but best avoided in busy areas such as hallways.

Twist carpets

Twists are smooth, hardwearing and practical, which makes them very popular. They don’t show footprints or furniture marks, and are good at hiding dirt. They’re a good choice for areas with lots of foot traffic and for families and pet owners. More than a third of people we surveyed* had bought twist carpets in the past 10 years.

Loop carpets

This style is generally hard-wearing and practical, so it’s good for high-traffic areas. But loop carpets are a no for pet owners, as animals with claws – especially cats – are likely to get them caught in the looped fibres.

Berber carpets

Berbers are made from uncut loops of pile, with a distinctive knot effect. They tend to be affordable and hard-wearing, and often have a lightly flecked colouring which makes them excellent at hiding dirt. Like other looped carpets, they can get pulls and snags.

Cut and loop carpets

Manufacturers of this style use a combination of cut and looped pile to create patterns. They’re less popular now than in their 1970s heyday, but can still be found at a handful of retailers.

Velvet carpets

These carpets have a dense, short pile with a smooth finish, so they’re soft and cosy. This makes them a popular choice for bedrooms or living rooms.

Choosing the best carpet materials

Synthetic materials such as polypropylene and nylon are cheaper, more stain resistant and less prone to mould and mildew. But they’ll also wear out more quickly.

Natural fibres, such as wool and sisal, can be pricey, are more prone to staining and can attract insects, but the fibres are resilient so they’ll last longer.

When we surveyed carpet owners about which material they chose, there was an even split between people who favoured synthetics and those who preferred natural materials. Some people told us that they chose a wool and synthetic mix, which can provide the benefits of a natural carpet with some of the useful qualities of synthetics, such as increased stain resistance.

Here’s how the different materials compare:

Polypropylene

This synthetic is a good choice if you’re on a budget, as it’s generally cheap. It feels soft to the touch and is stain resistant. But it attracts oil, so any oil-based stains on these carpets will be tough to remove.

Polyester

Popular because it looks and feels most like wool, polyester is usually used as part of a blend with real wool. Like other synthetics, its stain resistance is a major benefit. It’s sometimes made from recycled plastic bottles, so can be an eco-friendly option.

Nylon

Nylon, also known as polyamide, is the most durable of the synthetic fibres. It can stretch without losing its shape, making it a good choice for rooms where furniture is often moved around, such as dining rooms.

Wool

Wool carpets are natural, durable and provide good heat and sound insulation. They can also absorb and release moisture in the room, controlling humidity levels. But they do tend to be more expensive than synthetics, the colours can fade over time in areas consistently exposed to sunlight, and they’re popular with hungry carpet moths and carpet beetles.

Sisal and other plant-based materials

Plant-based carpet materials are growing in popularity, thanks to their stylish and contemporary appearance. But just like wool, they don’t come cheap.

  • Sisal is rough underfoot but is known for being hard-wearing. Its big drawback is that it can easily stain or get watermarks.
  • Jute is less durable than sisal, but also softer, making it a better choice for bedrooms.
  • Seagrass is resistant to stains and watermarks, but also to dye, so you won’t have much choice of colours.
  • Coir is durable and low-maintenance, but feels rough so it’s better suited to areas where you won’t be wandering around barefoot.

Which type of carpet should you choose?

If you don’t think carpet is the right option for you, explore the different types of wood flooring and get expert tips on how to buy and install it.

*Survey of 2,151 Which? members in August 2019

Rugs

Who can resist the soft plush feeling you get as you sink your toes in to a brand-new rug. Your home deserves a rug that will not only feel good but of course, look great. That’s why we’ve compiled a collection of rugs ranging in size, design and colour to make sure you have a rich variety to choose from. Whether you’re after subtle muted tones or loud and vibrant colours, we’ve got everything from the bright and bold to pale and peaceful. Explore our range of beautiful rugs to discover amazing quality, style and comfort you’ll love.

Rug Sizes and Shapes

Whether you’re planning to refresh a cosy corner in your room or kit out your entire home, our wide collection of rugs has got you covered. Consider the size of the room your new rug will go in and choose the size of your rug accordingly. We’ve got small rugs perfect for flats and studios to large rugs ideal for more open spaces. From the traditional rectangle shaped rugs to circle rugs, wide to narrow, we’ve got it all. Take a look at our handy rug buying guide full of helpful tips and advice to help you stay on-trend and pick the perfect rug for you.

Rug Pile

Simply put, the rug pile is the thickness, density and height of the fibres used to make the rug; this has a big impact on how your room looks and feels so it’s something you should pay attention to. Especially if you have kids and pets to clean after.

High Pile Rug – Best for rooms with low traffic such as the bedroom, office or guest bedroom. Because of their shaggy texture, they’re a bit more difficult to clean, high pile rugs feature longer fibres that look and feel softer than those with a lower pile density. Maximise on comfort and add some fluffy floor cushions to the mix.

Low Pile Rugs – Flat woven and low pile rugs are soft and easier to clean due to their short fibres, meaning dust and debris won’t get stuck in. The tighter fibres of a low pile rug reduce the risk of tripping making it Ideal for children and accident-prone adults alike. Browse our gorgeous blue rugs for timeless style and true versatility. Choose a light blue for a traditional look or charming country house aesthetic; or a dark blue or navy for modern sophistication.

Or if you want the best of both worlds, why not go for a mid-pile rug that’s both soft and shaggy but also low enough to make cleaning and hoovering a breeze. Check out our popular grey rugs; stylishly glamourous with unmatched comfort and the ability to blend in with any décor.

Rugs for The Whole House

Entrance – Keep your house dry and free from outside dirt with our wide range of beautiful doormats. Made from absorbent material and deeply textured surface to ensure muddy wellies and paw prints don’t spread through the house. Find stylish patterns and welcoming quotes to greet you and your guests at the front door. Look out for doormats with anti-slip backing to reduce slips and trips whilst ensuring your mat stays in place.

Hallway – Every house needs a hallway runner that’s going to breathe life and colour in to your home. Personalise your space with a runner that represents you and your personality. If you’re a passionate traveller, why not go for a beautiful Persian or Moroccan runner for an eclectic feel. Alternatively, you can go for more subtle colours and patterns for an understated and tranquil ambience.

Living room – The living room is one of the most obvious places to put a rug in, but have you ever thought about creating your very own little reading nook in the corner? Place a woolly, warm and plush rug you can sink your feet in to. Top everything off with a cosy throw to keep you warm, creating a calm and peaceful area you can snuggle up and get swept away in your favourite book.

Bedroom – Make the soft touch of luxurious faux sheepskin be the first thing to grace your feet as you wake up in the morning, before you put your slippers on, take a moment to appreciate the delicate fibres and pampering texture of our incredible rugs. Go on, you know you want to!

3 Tips About Determining Carpet Quality

With so many different colors, materials and designs available, it can be difficult to choose the best carpet for your home. Check out these 3 tips on determining carpet quality.

Image Source: Flickr

Durability: Twist and Density

Replacing old carpet can be a costly pain in the neck. That’s why investing a little more money in durable carpet is usually a smart choice. The longer your carpet lasts, the longer you can wait before replacing it — and the more money you’ll save in the long term.

Durability has a great deal to do with density and twist, two specifications listed on the label. Density simply refers to how close together the strands of fiber are — fibers per square inch. You can judge density by bending it back and seeing how much backing peeks through. Denser carpet tends to last longer because it withstands impact better. It also protects from dirt and stain by making it more difficult for particles to sink through it, keeping soils on the surface and easier to clean

However, twist is the number of times a strand of fiber is twisted per inch. Carpet that has a high twist level of 4 or more will also be more durable and less likely to unravel. Carpet doesn’t have to be dense to be durable, as long as it has a high twist level (and vice versa). Source: Home.HowStuffWorks

Types of Fiber

Carpet fibers are usually one of five materials: Nylon, Olefin, Polyester, Acrylic or Wool. An overwhelming majority of carpet today is made from synthetic fibers, with nylon leading the way.

Nylon Accounts for roughly 60% all carpet sold in the U.S. Dye is added to nylon fibers as they are manufactured and so are colorfast. Nylon is wear-resistant, tolerates heavy furniture and is resilient. Available in many colors and styles. Only with the addition of stain-repelling technology, now standard for most nylon carpets, does nylon manage to be stain-resistant. Untreated nylon is susceptible to stains. Nylon is prone to static charge and to fading in direct sunlight.
Olefin Commonly called polypropylene, this thread is strong, wear-resistant, stain-resistant and is easy to clean. This material can be use outdoors because it is moisture and mildew resistant. While not as resilient as nylon, it is more resistant to fading. Not as comfortable on bare feet. Does not have the luxurious feel of some other carpet and seams may be more apparent.
Polyester Becoming more popular is polyester, in part, because of its lower cost. It is not as resilient as nylon and is more prone to fading, staining and pilling than nylon. Not well suited for high traffic areas. Noted for its soft, luxurious feel when used in thick cut-pile textures, polyester is a good value.
Acrylic Has the look and feel of wool but without the cost. Acrylic is not as widely used as other fibers. Acrylic resists static build-up, is moisture and mildew resistant.
Wool The only natural fabric commonly in use for carpet. Wool has a luxurious feel and is very durable. It is naturally soil resistant and stains clean up well. Wool will fade in direct sunlight and is the most expensive fiber.
Blends Various combinations of fibers can improve the overall look, feel and performance of a carpet. Wool/nylon and olefin/nylon are two common blends in use today. Source: AcmeHowTo

Face Weight

Carpet face weight is the weight of the carpet pile per square yard of carpet, measured in ounces. Unfortunately, face weight has been so heavily marketed that many consumers are given the impression that it is the best way to determine a carpet’s durability.

It can be easy to believe that a higher face weight represents a more durable carpet, but this is not always the case​ because several things influence a carpet’s weight. Source: TheSpruce

Carpet and Rugs: Understanding Quality and Grades

When selecting carpet you are faced with many choices and the differences may not always be obvious. While you can see the difference in some carpeting, in other cases you may find examples that look the same but differ substantially in price. Often, the reason for the price difference is the quality, grade or durability of the carpet. Before simply choosing the cheaper carpet, you should learn about the quality differences and make an informed choice.

The cost of carpet is influenced by several factors, including the fiber used, the quality, the construction and the design. The price quoted may or may not include the cost of the pad and installation, so make sure you know what is included so that you can compare apples to apples. Furthermore, find out whether installation includes the moving of any furniture and the haul away of old carpet.

Carpet Quality Factors

Carpet quality is a factor of the fiber used, and the twist, finish and density of the fiber. Thickness is not a factor of quality; a common misconception. Thickness may make a carpet more luxurious, but it does not affect its quality or performance. Thickness is a matter of preference, like color or pattern, not a sign of quality.

Fiber Density

Fiber density refers to the amount of yarn used in a carpet and the closeness of the tufts. The measure of density is at the backing, not the surface. At the surface the density may appear good, but when you spread the tufts and look underneath, the base of each tuft may be far apart. Over time, low density carpet will show more matting, what most of us think of as wear. Density is probably the most important factor in the longevity of carpet, followed closely by soil and stain resistance. Bend a sample of the carpet so that the tufts spread apart. The less backing material you can see, the better.

Good Density Poor Density

Continuous Filament vs: Staple

Carpet fibers can be either “continuous filament” (aka BCF – Bulked Continuous Filament) or “staple”. Staple fibers, aka spun fibers, have short fibers that are spun together to create yarn. All natural fibers and some synthetic fibers are spun into yarn. Wool is an example of a staple fiber. Because of the many, short fibers, staple fibers have more initial shedding than filament fibers. However, after the early shedding, both fibers perform about equally, with no clear advantage to either. Continuous fibers are also woven into yarn, but they are made up of long fibers and so do not tend to shed.

Carpet Grades

Some manufacturers identify their products by “grade”. In reality, no universal standard exists and the grade is more of a marketing tool. You cannot compare two different manufacturers who each offer a grade “5” or similar rating; they have no comparable relationship. One company’s grade 5 may be significantly better than another manufacturer’s. The only relevant rating is the wear rating, “high traffic”, “medium traffic” and “low traffic”. However, there is no universal standard here either, so one company’s “high traffic” may last much longer than another company’s.

When people think of a carpet appearing “worn”, they typically are referring to matting. High traffic areas cause matting through compression of the carpet fibers. Carpet rated for “high traffic” resists matting so the use of the proper grade of carpet will keep the carpet looking good longer. Choose “high traffic” carpet for stairways, hallways, entryways and any room that will see a lot of foot traffic.

Carpet Texture

Plush – A cut pile with a smooth, even finish. Straight fibers, cut shorter than Saxony. Has a velvety look. Tends to be formal in appearance. Often used in formal living areas.
Saxony – A cut pile with a smooth, even finish. Fibers are taller than plush and have a twist. This is the most popular style of carpet. Saxony tends to show footprints and vacuum tracks more than other textures
Friezé – Pronounced “free-zay”, this cut pile has extra twists applied to the fibers resulting in a rough, curly, informal texture. This texture hides footprints and tracks very well. Longer piles are called shag and are suitable for lower traffic areas.
Textured – Lower density fibers with an uneven cut give this carpet a more casual feel. Often uses two toned fibers to help hide dirt. Not as well suited for high traffic areas as some other choices.
Berber – Tightly packed short looped fibers, also called level-loop, provide a very durable surface suitable for a high traffic area. Informal appearance and durablity make this a popular choice for family rooms. Flecked yarn helps to hide dirt, but the short pile makes seams more visible.
Cut & Loop – This combines cut pile with uncut loops to create interesting textures and patterns. Sometimes referred to as a sculptured texture. This texture hides dirt well and is well suited for high traffic areas.
Multi-level Loop – Two or three loop heights are used to give this style of carpet more texture or even pattern effects.

Choosing Your Carpet

Don’t skimp on carpet for high traffic areas like hallways, stairs and family rooms. Choose carpet recommended for heavy traffic. Lesser carpet will show matting and wear much more quickly and you won’t be happy with the appearance. Don’t be afraid to select lesser grades of carpet for other areas in your home but choose the best your budget allows for where foot traffic will be high. Medium and dark colors, dense fibers and textured carpet will maximize dirt hiding in high traffic areas.

When pricing carpet, be sure to get a quote that includes all costs, including the carpet, pad, installation, labor for stairs, furniture moving and haul away of old carpet. Remember that different manufacturer’s grades can’t be compared. Warranties usually cover wear but not matting. Most carpets will never come under warranty coverage because of this exclusion as well as the exclusion of carpet installed in hallways and stairs, where wear is the greatest. Warranties are more of a marketing tool than a consumer protection and should only affect your decision accordingly.

The quality of the installation is important. A poorly installed carpet will never look as good nor will it last as long as a properly installed one. Unfortunately, many retailers contract out the installation and have little control over quality of installation. Retailers want you to be satisfied and so try to use only reliable installers. Ask your salesperson if they have more than one installation team and if they recommend one of them over the others. Even if the best team is booked up, you may be better off waiting for a spot on their calendar than taking an earlier date with another installer. Check with your local Better Business Bureau for complaints about your retailer. Often, complaints are a reflection of the installation quality than anything relating to the retailer themselves.

Wall-to-Wall Carpet Buying Guide

On the Carpet

Photo by Courtesy of Mohawk Flooring

Buying the right type of carpet for a room in your home involves more than finding a style in the color you like. You first will need to consider your lifestyle—what you typically do in that room—location, material, construction, and upkeep. Carpet manufacturers have responded to homeowners’ desire for great looks, value, and easy maintenance with many innovations and options in recent years.

Read on for our carpet buying guide to terms and products, to help you navigate the selection process.

Selection

Photo by Juanmonino/iStockphoto.com

When shopping, think function first. Ask yourself a few questions when choosing your carpeting type:

What is this room used for?

How much traffic does it get?

Does the room receive a lot of sunlight?

Does the light change during the day?

Is it next to indoor or outdoor spaces?

How often am I likely to vacuum it?

Answers to these questions will help you begin to determine the best fiber for your carpet as well as texture, construction, and even color.

Fiber Facts

The type of fiber used determines the basic performance and appearance of the carpet. The biggest trend today is: soft. Homeowners seek comfort, and carpet offers a cushion underfoot. It also suppresses noise. The fiber content is usually listed on a specification sheet on the back of the sample. While names may differ among manufacturers, products still fall within one of five basic categories.

Photo by James Brey/iStockphoto.com

Wool, the granddaddy of all soft floorcoverings, retains its legacy of luxury. Natural and made from woven construction, it offers a greater range of designs, detail, and color than a traditional tufted carpet. Expect good stain resistance as long as you treat it as soon as something is dropped on it. It also has inherent flame retardant characteristics.

Photo by Courtesy of <a href=”http://www.shawfloors.com/carpet” target=”_blank”>Shaw Floors</a>

Nylon comes a close second to wool in terms of performance and feel, but on average it costs less. This versatile fiber offers plenty of variety in styles and construction: frieze, textured, shag, loop cut loop (LCL) all can be made from nylon. It has excellent soil resistance, colorfastness and resilience, which allows it to bounce back, making it a suitable just about anywhere. Some of it can be recycled once into another nylon carpet if the manufacturer so chooses.

Photo by Courtesy of Shaw

Previously called olefin, polypropylene is a solution-dyed synthetic that is both water- and stain-resistant, making it a good choice for indoor/outdoor carpeting. Because it is solution-dyed, it will not fade, making it good for rooms that get a lot of light or traffic from the outside or from a cholorinated pool. Because it is less resilient than nylon, it is best used in low-pile carpets such as berbers (low, loop-pile carpeting with flecks of different colors).

Polyester

Photo by Courtesy of Shaw

Polyester is noted for its soft hand, or texture, especially when used in a luxurious thick pile. It is a good value choice, as its styling attributes are competitive with nylon—it can be made into loop or cut loop, and it takes color extremely well. But it’s not as resilient. Soil resistant and easy to care for, it’s suitable for bedrooms as well as playrooms. Everstrand, a polyester carpeting from Mohawk, has been manufactured by a process that uses recycled soda bottles since 1989.

Triexta

Photo by Courtesy of Mohawk Flooring

One of the newest fibers to hit the market, triexta (sold under the brand name SmartStrand) combines the performance characteristics of polyester and nylon: durable, stain and soil resistant, easy to clean, colorfast, fade-resistant, and soft. Its made from a polymer, 37 percent of which is created from corn, a renewable resource.

Green

Photo by Courtesy of Mohawk Flooring

Manufacturers are responding to the sustainability trend with a variety of products that incorporate pre- or post-consumer products. Some make carpets from recycled nylon carpeting. Others use recycled soda bottles to make a green line. If this is an important factor in your decision-making, ask your salesperson for more information among the brands his or her store carries.

Style Basics

Carpets are made of fibers that are cut, looped or cut and looped. Although there are several different subcategories of carpet styles, all fall within one of these three groups. Once upon a time, as pile height increased, the carpet became softer and more luxurious but also harder to clean. Today, with improved technology and fiber systems, most styles combine softness with durability. The more texture there is in a carpet, the more forgiving it is for foot and fingerprints, everyday dirt, and overall wear.

Cut Pile

Photo by Courtesy of MohawkFlooring.com

Cut pile achieves its durability through the type of fiber used, density of tufts and the amount of twist in the yarn. The greater the twist, the more resilient the shape, making it suitable for high-traffic areas.

Plush (Velvet): Dense and luxurious, it can show footprints and vacuum marks easily. Good for rooms with low traffic or formal settings.

Textured plush: Most decoratively versatile. Textured surfaces help hide footprints and vacuum marks. Preferred style for busy households. A great “whole-house” carpet.

Saxony: Presents a refined surface that is well-suited to living and dining rooms.

Frieze: Has a “curly” textured surface due to yarns that are extremely twisted that helps to minimize footprints and vacuum marks. Good for areas with frequent traffic.

Shag: Popular for retro applications, shag is a type of frieze, with a very tall pile height.

Cable: Also similar to a frieze, but some fibers are thick and some are thin, for a varied appearance.

Loop Pile

Photo by Courtesy of MohawkFlooring.com

There are level loops and multilevel loops. Because the yarn tips aren’t exposed, these carpets tend to wear extremely well, making them good for high-traffic areas, such as hallways and family rooms.

Level loop pile: Loops are the same height, creating a uniform look. This style generally lasts a long time in high-traffic areas. Many of today’s popular Berber styles are level loop styles with flecks of a darker color on a lighter background.

Multi-level loop pile: This style usually has two to three different loop heights to create pattern effects, providing good durability and a real dimensional look.

Cut-Loop Pile

Photo by Courtesy of MohawkFlooring.com

Just as the name implies, this carpet style combines cut and looped yarns. Look for a variety of surface textures, including sculptured effects of squares, chevrons and swirls. The multicolor effects help to conceal soil and stains.

What sets Stainmaster carpet apart from its counterparts? If you have been shopping for carpet at all, chances are you’ve heard of this brand.

A successful marketing campaign has made Stainmaster a household name in carpet that has been synonymous with durability and stain resistance for years.

With hundreds of color and style options and one of the best pet warranties for carpet, it’s easy to see why this brand is so popular—but how much of the popularity comes from satisfied homeowners and how much is just hype?

  • Construction & Durability
  • Style & Appearance
  • Ease of Installation
  • Cost
  • The Verdict

Construction and Durability

One would think that with a name like Stainmaster, the stain-resistant properties of this carpet would come from a special topically-applied stain-blocker like Scotchgard, but this is not the case. The secret of Stainmaster lies in the fiber construction—with physical properties so small, that you would need an electron microscope to see it.

Stainmaster carpet is a different type of nylon fiber they call “type 6.6.” This unique fiber type gets its name from the dual strands of carbon fiber. While both nylon strands, they differ slightly in molecular structure which allows the fiber to take on a spring-like shape.

This spring-like shape keeps the fiber from matting down and fraying in high-traffic areas. Even higher-pile carpets that would normally show traffic patterns and wear under these circumstances have a resiliency you won’t find in other fibers.

The stain resistance aspect also comes down to the fiber construction. Type 6.6 nylon must be solution-dyed. This means the colorant is added as the fiber is extruded and pulled into tiny strands before it is twisted, woven, and tufted into the finished product.

This process contrasts with the ‘piece-dye” method where the fibers are saturated in a vat of colored solution, much like dying an Easter egg. In this process, the colors do not fully penetrate the structure of the fiber, so a stain blocker solution is used to close the dye sites in the fiber.

Piece dying creates a more vibrant and wider color range but is not as stain-resistant or colorfast as it’s solution-dyed counterpart.

The result of this technology is a product that is stain-resistant, colorfast, and durable. Stainmaster has become a favorite in active homes with children and pets.

Therefore, Stainmaster carpets come with a lifetime stain and soil warranty. Some models come with an all-pet warranty that isn’t limited to just domestic pets like Fido and Kitty but pot belly pigs and reptiles too. Depending on the model, the wear and texture retention warranty is anywhere from 20-25 years.

It’s important to remember, like with all carpet warranties, you must have your carpet professionally cleaned with hot water extraction once a year to maintain the warranty.

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Style and Appearance

If you’ve already shopped for Stainmaster carpet at some point, you may have noticed that it is a brand unto itself but also that several other manufacturers have their own carpets but with a Stainmaster logo. So, you may be asking yourself, what gives?

Stainmaster is both a trademarked fiber and a brand. As such, the company sells their proprietary fiber technology to other manufacturers in exchange for marketing the product with the Stainmaster logo. For example, you may see it printed on carpets from Tuftex, Dixie Home, and Phenix as well as Stainmaster branded carpet at big box stores such as Lowe’s.

As a result, you have a lot of style options.

Stainmaster has all the options on their website and you can view which mill each style comes from in the product details. Overall, you have five main families to choose from. These include: PetProtect, LiveWell, TruSoft, Active Family, and Essentials.

Within these main carpet families there are a plethora of collections and within each collection are diverse color palettes, sometimes up to 25 colors per collection. Here, you will find an array of patterns, pile heights, twists, textures, and berber, plus combinations of these styles.

While there are too many to go in-depth about here, two of the most popular are the Pet-Protect and Essentials. Like the names suggest, the company gears the Pet-Protect toward pet owners with a high-density yet short pile selections in a variety of colors for the purpose of hiding pet hair and are easy to clean.

On the other hand, the Essentials provides a budget-friendly flooring option in a reduced thickness and style range but still has all the Stainmaster bells and whistles right down to the warranty package.

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Ease of installation

When you think of a floor covering that’s easy to install, carpet isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Not to say that it isn’t impossible for a handy homeowner to tackle on their own. A small, square bedroom and closet might be easy enough.

However, larger jobs with multiple seams, patterns, and are best left to the professionals. Pros have access to special tools to make for a speedy and high-quality install. For example, most DIY homeowners don’t just have a power stretcher laying around.

Stainmaster carpet has a standard fiberglass backing, also known as an action-bac. This backing type is the most common and requires no special considerations when installing.

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Cost

Stainmaster’s brand is far-reaching, so there’s something for just about every budget. It’s also widely available at big box stores, local flooring retailers, and online. If you aren’t sure where to buy, you can use the store finder feature on the Stainmaster website.

Carpet prices are reflected in the collection, style, and face weight. Different face weights in the same color will often have a $10 to $15 difference depending on the collection.

Based on these factors, you can expect to spend anywhere from $18-$50 per square yard for Stainmaster carpet. Their website has a handy budget tool that includes average installation and pad cost based on room size.

You will also have to factor in the price of the carpet pad as well. A high-quality carpet pad can greatly extend the life of your carpet as well as provide comfort, noise reduction, and insulation. Expect to pay $3-$9 per square yard for a quality carpet pad.

Many carpet stores also offer in-house professional installation services. These can also run $3-5 per square yard. This often does not include things like removal and disposal of your old flooring, furniture moving, or subfloor prep.

Coupons for “free installation” with a minimum carpet purchase may tempt you. Just like there’s no such thing as a free lunch, these installs aren’t really free.

Often, the labor cost is just in addition to the material price. So, you may be getting a lower quality carpet and pad at a higher price with a “free” installation.

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The Verdict

In conclusion, Stainmaster carpet continues to put out solid products year after year. They provide both budget and high-end options with ever-changing design trends. At the same time, they maintain a broad classic color selection. So, there’s something for every home style.

In addition, like the name suggests, these carpets are very stain-resistant and easy to clean—even for homes with pot belly pigs and iguanas. The all-pet warranty is a bonus.

Have you had experience living on Stainmaster Carpets? Tell us how you like, or dislike it, in the comments.

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Keeping our home free from dust and allergens is a full-time job. It seems like an impossible task to remove all the extra particles floating around inside and landing on surfaces like furniture and flooring. Unfortunately, it is impossible to remove ALL allergens completely, but there are ways to minimize them. One we want to discuss is LiveWell carpet by Stainmaster. It’s the first carpet and cushion system designed to reduce dust and allergen-particle buildup without adding steps to your cleaning time.

Stainmaster LiveWell carpet is made with kid and pet-safe AllerShield technology. This helps reduce the bonding of allergy-aggravating particles to the carpet fibers. By preventing particles from bonding, more allergens end up in your vacuum cleaner rather than building up on your carpet. This makes every pass of your vacuum 90 percent more effective at reducing allergen particles. So, you remove more allergens without extra time spent cleaning.

In addition to reducing the amount of dust and allergy-related particles in your carpet, Stainmaster LiveWell also resists food and beverage stains and soil accumulation. When used with the Spillmaster carpet cushion, it also offers mold and mildew protection. Spillmaster carpet cushion contains a breathable moisture barrier that allows moisture vapors to pass through the cushion and evaporate, helping to protect the cushion from hidden mold and mildew.

Stainmaster LiveWell carpet works on many allergy-aggravating particles, including cat dander, dog dander, birch tree pollen, ragweed pollen, timothy grass pollen and dust mite debris. You can easily vacuum up all these unwanted particles and remove them from your house.

With all this protection, you still get a soft and durable carpet that looks beautiful. Several manufacturers use Stainmaster LiveWell carpet fiber. So, you can still have the stylish look you want without sacrificing your health. If you or someone in your home suffers from allergies, this is definitely a carpeting option worth trying.

With regular (at least weekly) vacuuming and carpet made with Stainmaster LiveWell fiber, you can have a healthier living environment. After all, you shouldn’t have to suffer from allergies in your own home. Take steps to keep those particles out of the air and you will breathe much easier.

For more information on the benefits of Stainmaster LiveWell carpet and to see our selection of brands and styles, please stop by our showroom in Hopkins or give us a call at 952-933-8944.

Stainmaster’s LiveWell line engineered to repel allergens

February 13/20, 2017: Volume 31, Number 18

By Ken Ryan

It is estimated that 50 million Americans suffer from airborne allergies, including pet dander and dust mites. Unfortunately, many of these allergens end up embedded in carpet.

To address what it deemed an obvious health need, Invista in 2012 began work on a carpet that would be easier to clean and allow for more thorough removal of allergens during vacuuming. At Surfaces 2017 the company introduced LiveWell, which it hopes will do for healthy homes what PetProtect did for stain and soil protection.

Stainmaster LiveWell carpet (Dixie Home and Shaw will be the first mills to sell it) will be available in the second quarter, initially in Stainmaster Flooring Center showrooms.

Tim Millsaps, channel marketing manager, Stainmaster brand, said LiveWell is being marketed as the first carpet and cushion system designed to reduce dust and allergen-particle buildup without adding steps to the cleaning routine. Made with kid- and pet-safe AllerShield technology, it helps reduce the bonding of allergy-aggravating particles to the carpet fibers. When allergen particles release easily from the carpet fibers, more of them end up in the vacuum.
“Consumers today are more educated on healthier products and looking for solutions in their own lives,” Millsaps said. “It made sense for us to develop a product that addresses those concerns.”

Millsaps cited consumer research showing more than 70% of homeowners identified comfort and minimizing exposure to chemicals and germs as very important to supporting overall heath, while 65% identified cleanliness. “The overall health concern is why we started the project years ago.”

Invista unveiled LiveWell prior to Surfaces. The event was attended by executives from large mills as well as a majority of National Floorcovering Alliance (NFA) dealers. At the kickoff event, Invista showed a video of two Stainmaster carpets—one with AllerShield, the other without—and the transformation that takes place after vacuuming. “The dealer likes a story to tell around a product,” Millsaps explained. “It makes it a lot more engaging for them and it helps the sale, especially when it is needs-based like this product and adds comfort to the home.”

How to buy the best carpet

CHOICE no longer updates this category and maintains it for archival purposes only. You can still view current reviews of our top 50 products.

From Axminster carpet in the 1800s through to the shag pile of the 60s and the beach house feel of today’s sisal-style floor coverings, carpet has long been a popular flooring choice for Australian homes. It’s stylish, durable, soft, quiet underfoot and good for insulation.

Whether you’re carpeting a new room or replacing some worn or daggy carpet you’ve had way too long, it’s probably time to get an update on what’s out there. Buying the wrong carpet can be an expensive mistake, so roll up and read on as we lay on piles of useful information.

On this page:

  • Material matters
  • What else do you need to know about buying carpet?
  • How much does carpet cost?
  • Carpet Glossary

Material matters

No one fibre is best for everyone – the best carpet choice for you depends on where it will be, who’ll be using it, how much traffic it will get, and the size of your budget.

Wool carpet

Just like your favourite jumper, wool carpet is warm, luxurious and durable. It’s also generally more expensive than other fibres. Wool is good for living areas where appearance is important. It’s naturally stain resistant in that it resists liquid-based spills and releases dirt easily, but you’ll want to clean up spills quickly. Cheaper wool carpets are likely to pill.

Nylon carpet

Nylon is a tough and durable man-made fibre. It’s very popular for carpets – it’s cheaper than wool and some even look as good but with added stain resistance. Nylon carpet will hold its colour against cleaning and sunlight, and it’s ideal for use in high-traffic areas for families with children or pets.

Polypropylene carpet

Polypropylene is a synthetic fibre, popular because it’s inexpensive, water resistant and durable. It’s often used for rental properties, garages or playrooms. However it looks and feels cheap – because it is.

Blends

Wool and nylon blend carpet can give you the benefits of both, at a lower cost than pure wool carpet.

The luxurious Axminster and Wilton carpets use an 80/20 wool/nylon blend, and offer the same quality and durability as pure wool. 50/50 wool/nylon can be difficult to clean, as stain-resistance can’t be added to the nylon when it’s blended. These blends also tend to use poorer-quality wool yarn that will pill.

What else do you need to know about buying carpet?

Before you hit the shops

Have an idea of the colour and the type of pile you want, but remember, it’s not just about aesthetics. It’s recommended you get professional carpet cleaning once a year – the right colour and pile can help hide dirt and stains in between cleaning.

The lowdown on carpet colour

  • Lighter colours are great for small rooms as they’ll make it seem larger, but they will show stains more readily than darker shades.
  • Dark colours hide stains but show lint.
  • Speckled carpets with lighter and darker fibres will disguise stains and lint – WIN! But then some people think they always look dirty, even when clean. Sigh.

If you’re looking at colours online, remember they may look quite different in real life.

Pile: cut or loop?

  • Loop pile carpet has individual strands of yarn pulled twice through the carpet backing to create a small loop. It has a more casual look, hides footprints better and is well suited to high traffic areas, especially shorter loops.
  • In cut pile carpets the loops are cut at the top, leaving tufts of yarn that stand straight up. It has a more luxurious, formal look than loop pile, but tends to show light and dark areas including footprints and vacuum cleaner tracks – something you don’t see in the catalogues!

Some carpets have a combination of cut and looped yarns and can create sculptured effects such as squares and swirls, which is good for hiding dirt and footprints.

In the shop

When it comes time to hit the carpet store, there are some things to check to make sure your carpet of choice is up to the job.

Density

Density refers to the amount of pile yarn in the carpet and how close the tufts are to one another. Check the density by bending the carpet sample in a U shape with the tufts facing out. The less carpet backing you see, the denser the carpet. As a rule, the denser, the better.

Durability: look for the label

Density is part of the durability story – the quality of the fibre and construction also contribute, and that can be hard for the average punter to gauge.

The Carpet Institute of Australia has developed the Australian Carpet Classification Scheme (ACCS). It’s a voluntary industry labelling and grading system for carpets of all fibres and is used by all the major suppliers.

Carpets carry a star-rating out of six for residential use (four for commercial or contract use) which shows how well it performed in independent wear and performance tests. The label also says whether it should be used in areas of light, medium, heavy or extra-heavy traffic. Get a heavy-duty rating for high traffic areas such as stairs, halls, entranceways, the kids’ playroom, the path between the sofa and the fridge…

Try before you buy

Lighting and surrounding colours and materials will influence how your carpet looks in your home. Take samples home and check them in each room under different lighting conditions – natural daylight, artificial lighting, candle light, disco lights…or whatever other lighting you use.

Underlay

Underlay can help your carpet last longer, absorb sound, cover minor bumps and holes in the floor and provide insulation. Choose it when you buy your carpet.

You’ll probably choose between foam underlay and rubber underlay. Underlay varies in quality, so stand on it to test that it feels firm but comfortable – you shouldn’t be able to feel the floor with the heel of your shoe.

Installation

It will probably be cheaper to get the carpet installed by the company you buy it from. Make sure you get a fully itemised quote – most quotes from retailers will include underlay and installation, but they won’t always include moving the furniture.

How much does carpet cost?

Carpet is usually priced by the broadloom metre. Remember to convert to square metres when comparing carpet prices to other floor coverings, such as tiles or timber.

Nylon carpet can range from $125 up to $300 per broadloom metre, wool carpets can range from $140 to $500 and polypropylene carpets from $65 to $180.

It can be worth buying extra carpet or keeping offcuts in case you need to replace worn carpet in high traffic areas, such as stairs.

Carpet Glossary

Broadloom metre: 1m x 3.66m

Solution-dying is where colour is added to the nylon carpet fibre during production, rather than applied to the surface afterwards, making it colourfast against cleaning and sunlight.

Berber carpets have thick yarns tufted into chunky loop tufts. They’re usually in earth tones with a ‘flecked’ appearance — excellent for hiding stains.

Sisal-style/cord carpets have tighter loops than berbers, creating a stiffer feel and are good for high-traffic areas.

Velvet/plush carpets have the pile cut several times to create a velvety sheen, but this also shows every footprint.

Saxony carpets are similar to velvet, but not quite as smooth.

Freize/twist carpets have tightly twisted fibres that curl slightly at the pile surface. They hide footprints and vacuum marks, making them suitable for high-traffic areas.

Not sure whether to go carpet, hard floors or something in between? Let our flooring overview help you.

Choosing Carpet for High-Traffic Areas

Carpet serves different functions in different areas of your home. The same plush carpet that works nicely in your master bedroom may be a disaster in your entryway or on the stairs. High-traffic areas have especially unique needs worth considering. Floor Coverings International Concord offers the following points to keep in mind as you select carpet for the most traveled areas in your home.

Berber is More Durable Than Shag

There’s nothing quite like the look or feel of shag carpet, but it’s not always ideal in high-traffic areas. Prized for its durability, Berber may be a more practical option. Its low pile is less prone to matting, and even if matting does occur, it’ll be less noticeable. Berber is also more likely to remain clean over time, as it is a notorious dirt repellant thanks to its tight, low loops. It holds up well against wear and tear from small children and pets, which makes it a great option for young families in the Concord, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, & Martinez, CA area.

Material Choices

Once you determine your preferred carpeting style, spend some time researching available materials. Polyester is a popular option in high-traffic areas, as it holds up well to regular use. Nylon can also be incredibly durable, particularly if you select a dense weave. High-quality olefin sometimes outperforms nylon and polyester, particularly in more humid climates.

A Quality Pad is Essential

As you determine the appropriate style and material for your carpet, don’t forget the pad, which is arguably just as important. Although the pad’s primary function is to promote comfort, it also plays a huge role in extending the life of your carpet. While a high-quality pad may initially be more expensive, it could save you a bundle in the long run. In the past, most carpeting installs featured waffle pads. However, most Concord homeowners today prefer urethane or bonded urethane, which tends to be more durable.

Color Matters

Certain colors are more prone to showing wear than others. Light hues are best avoided in areas prone to heavy traffic. Stains and grime that commonly show up in entryways and other busy locations are particularly noticeable on white, light gray, or beige carpet. Light carpet also shows off matting and general wear and tear. If possible, opt for a darker color or medium tone, which can camouflage problem areas.

Patterns Can Help

The right pattern can make all the difference if your goal is to disguise worn carpet. The best option is a seemingly random pattern. This will effortlessly draw eyes away from matted areas.

There’s no need to abandon carpet in high-traffic locations. However, as you make your final decision, you’ll need to think carefully about not just comfort and initial appearance, but also about durability. If chosen right and properly maintained, high-traffic carpet will look attractive for years to come. If you’re ready to get started in finding your new carpets, contact Floor Coverings International Concord today to schedule a free in-home design estimate!

Photo: © Artazum

What is the best type of flooring for high traffic areas?

When choosing flooring for your home, one of the first things you should consider is the amount of activity the room sees. Is it the main thoroughfare through your house, connecting the entrance to your living spaces or bedrooms? Is it a space where family and friends like to congregate, like the kitchen or lounge?

These types of spaces that see a lot of foot traffic need the right flooring to be able to handle the additional wear and tear. Here we look at the best flooring for high traffic, as well as pros and cons of various flooring materials.

Carpet

Carpet brings comfort and warmth to your home, and is often a more cost effective option. However, it tends to be more susceptible to wear and tear over the years, with the fibres pilling or bald patches appearing.

Finding the best carpet for high traffic areas

If your heart is set on using carpet, however, there are some types of carpet that are more suited to high-traffic areas. Nylon carpet for example is incredibly durable, making it a good choice for hallways and stairs.

Level loop pile carpets tend to be hard-wearing, and are less likely to get crushed underfoot – although if you have pets it may catch in their claws. Tip sheared pile is another popular choice, as it provides a level, smooth finish while also concealing foot prints.

Timber flooring

An obvious choice when it comes to finding durable flooring for high-traffic areas is timber. The right type of hardwood floor, installed correctly can last for decades.

The dense nature of timber flooring means that it can take a lot of wear and tear, while still maintaining its classic, stylish finish. However, timber floors also require care to keep them looking their best. If you notice the flooring losing its glossy shine in high-traffic areas, you may need to buff or recoat the floor to support its durability and moisture-resistance.

Be sure to ask our expert team at Carpet Call about the wear layer on our different timber products to find the best option for your home.

Laminate flooring

Laminate flooring is a stalwart in the world of durable flooring, being both hard-wearing and more cost-effective than wooden flooring. It consists of layers of laminated wood, treated with resin for moisture-resistance. One of the best parts of laminate flooring is the sheer range of choices when it comes to the appearance. Laminate flooring is covered with a high-resolution photographic print, meaning that it can be tailored to suit a broad range of colour schemes, as well as being able to give the appearance of a wood or stone finish.

Over the top of the printed surface is a clear, highly durable wear layer, which also gives laminate flooring its water resistant properties. For high-traffic areas of the home, enquire about laminate flooring with a thicker wear layer, such as 12-15 millimetres.

Vinyl flooring

Perhaps one of the best materials when it comes to finding flooring that is both comfortable, stylish and capable of handling heavy foot traffic is vinyl. Easy to install, vinyl flooring is soft underfoot – an added bonus if it’s being used in a busy area of the home.

Vinyl comes in a range of shades and effects, from rustic wood to classic tile, making it perfect for anywhere from the kitchen to the dining room. Caring for vinyl is also fairly straightforward, requiring minimal moisture or mopping. Simply dust and vacuum, or use vinyl-specific cleaning products as recommended. To reduce the amount of vacuuming or dusting, it’s also a good idea to use colourfast walk off mats at any entry points to your home, allowing the majority of outdoor dirt and grit to be picked up by the mat rather than spread across your floor. If you have pets, ensure their nails are kept trimmed to minimise the risk of scratches.

Looking for hard-wearing, durable flooring for busy areas in your home?

If your current flooring is in need of an update, or is beginning to show its age, it’s time to talk to the expert team at Carpet Call. In addition to having a vast range of flooring options in store, our staff will be able to help guide you toward the best product for your needs.

If you see anything you like in store or online, we also offer our free, no-obligations Shop at Home service. This involves one of our representatives bringing your favourite samples to your home, allowing you to get an idea of how they’ll look once installed, as well as giving you a free measure and quote.

To find out more, visit us in store, or get in touch with the team today!