Most homeowners first deal with a carpet when buying a home. Either the carpet is already installed or they choose a style based on the options available from the builder. However, after about seven to ten years, it becomes time to replace the original flooring cover with a new carpet. However, most folks struggle with where to start. With so many different styles and types, carpet-choosing can seem about as complex as trying to figure out a cellular phone service. Here are some tips on how to buy a quality carpet that will last.
Traffic and Durability
The first question to answer before buying is whether the area being carpeted is a high traffic zone or a low one in the house. It can make a big difference on how long a carpet lasts, and not all carpets are made equal. In fact, many new homes are outfitted with low grade carpeting that looks new at first but degrade and become matted pretty quickly, especially in high traffic areas.
Carpet durability is dramatically affected by style and fiber. It’s easy to get caught up focusing on the color of a carpet. However, that feature won’t help a floor covering last. Ideally, when choosing a carpet for a high-traffic area, a buyer wants to go with a high pile carpet. It has more cushion, durability, and feels deeper when walked on. Low traffic areas are ideal for thinner pile carpets that may be textured or fancier. This is often the case in show rooms such as the formal dining room versus the family room. The above said, a thicker pile often tends to be more expensive per sq. foot. So it’s a trade-off with the budget that can be afforded.
Carpet Types to Choose From
No surprise, carpet comes in a large array of choices. These include:
• Textured – This type of carpet incorporates different size fibers woven in a pattern. Because of their length, they do well with lots of foot traffic and don’t wear down easily. Texture choices come in knobby (frieze), cable (dense and soft), looped (berber), and cut and loop (variable).
• Plus (Saxony) – this is a very dense carpet style that has a smooth surface. It’s often placed in areas to show off the room with less traffic.
A third issue that contributes to a quality carpet is the fiber type. Quality is often improved with a good density in the fiber. It resists stains better and holds up integrity instead of matting. Nine out of ten carpets use synthetic fiber, so nylon is the best to choose from due to fade and wear resistance. In terms of natural carpet wool is the premium choice but it comes with a price tag. Further, wool doesn’t do well with moisture and scuffing.
Given the above factors, there is no default formula for everyone. Personal budget and tastes will dictate what makes the short list. However, buyers should focus on durability, fiber quality, and matching the given carpet to the room use. That will help provide for the best choice possible versus a disappointment a few years later.