Choosing quality carpet for your home can be challenging due to the wide variety of carpeting choices available today. However, the good news is that because there are so many options, there is guaranteed to be one perfect for each room in your home.

Before you decide what carpet to purchase in each room, you will need to consider the following factors:

  • How is the room going to be used?
  • Will the room have heavy or light traffic?
  • Does the room have direct access from outside or is it away from entrances?
  • Does the room get direct sunlight?

Once you have determined how the room (and carpet) will be used, you are ready to pick the carpet that will be best for your home and lifestyle.

High or low traffic?

Buyers can choose carpets appropriate for particular rooms, based on whether the room is formal or casual, and how much traffic it will endure. This will tell you whether you want a smooth or textured pile.

Pile is comprised of the fibers. A thick pile is more durable, and provides more cushion under the feet. Thicker pile is also more costly, as there are more fibers per inch to create a denser product. However these carpets are worth the investment as they’ll last longer in high-traffic areas.

Types of carpet

Cut pile is the most popular type of carpet used today. Each style has its own set of unique characteristics, determined by the type of fiber used, the density of the tufts, and the amount of twist in the tufts. Cut-pile carpets come in many styles:

  • Textured carpets have fibers cut at various lengths. Textured carpets are decoratively versatile and a great carpet choice for the whole house because they bear high traffic areas well.
  • Saxony or Plush carpets are denser carpets with an even pile height. These carpets are best for formal living and dining rooms or master bedrooms – places with lower foot traffic.
  • Frieze carpets form a curly textured surface because the yarns are extremely twisted, giving the carpet a more informal look and feel.

Loop pile carpets come in level and multi-level. Level carpets mean the loops in the carpet are all the same height, making the carpet durable and long-lasting. Multi-level loop pile carpets include loops of two or three different heights to create a pattern.

The Cut-Loop pile carpet combines cut and looped fibers. The variation of surface textures in a cut and loop style creates a variety of pattern effects that can go in any room of the house.

Fiber quality

The next key to carpet selection is fiber. Quality and performance can be determined by the twist and heat set of the fibers, as well as the density of the tufts. Short, tight, dense tufts lead to a better carpet construction.

Nylon is the leader for appearance, fade and heat resistance and soil and stain resistance, with the most variety in color and styling options. Other synthetic options include those made of olefin or polypropylene (most often used in loop pile construction), and polyester (luxurious, soft texture).

The most expensive fiber is wool. Although also soft and high in density, wool doesn’t stand up to abrasion and moisture as well as synthetics.

Shop for value

Before you buy, make sure you are paying for density. Dig your fingers into the pile. If they reach the backing quickly, the carpet isn’t packed densely enough with fibers. Look for tight tuft twists. Lower-priced carpets will have loose tuft twists in the fibers.

Comparison shop for the best price. One store may charge much more for the same carpet, more for the pad, or more for the installation.

And remember that buying better quality pays in the long run. A good carpet can last you 10 to 20 years, while a cheap carpet can wear out quickly.

Care for your carpet

A few more considerations to think about before choosing a carpet include the care your carpet will need to ensure a long life.

First, think about carpet pads. Pads are the foundation for your carpet and help to increase comfort and extend the life of your carpet. Most manufacturers will list the requirements for the thickness and density of the carpet pad.

Then make sure to consider the routine care that your carpets will need depending on their placement within the home. In addition to vacuuming periodically and cleaning spots quickly, most manufactures suggest getting carpets professionally cleaned every 12-18 months. For carpets in high traffic areas or those with direct access from outside, make sure to choose a durable carpet that will clean easily and hold up to the environment. You can also use washable rugs or mats to extend the life of your carpet at these vulnerable areas.

Ready to purchase

Once you have determined the purpose, traffic patterns, and performance expectations of the carpet, it’s time to go shopping! Most major carpet manufacturers offer performance ratings on their products that you can use as an extra guideline for choosing the right carpet. Armed with this information and the convenience of these ratings, you will be sure to choose the perfect carpet for your home.