Are you in the process of designing/building your new, cutting-edge, insufferably gorgeous Tucson dream home? And you just can’t decide on what type of carpet to choose?
Or maybe you are in the process of a home improvement/renovation project, and carpet happens to be on the to-do list?
The reality is, we regular earth dwellers don’t know much about carpet.
We go to the carpet store and run our eager fingers along the carpet samples and think “Oh this one feels nice”, “This one is really soft”, “This one is a pretty color, it would match our cabinets.”
But in this process of rubbing our grubby fingers in carpet samples, did we ever stop to consider: “Is this carpet more durable, and will one last a lifetime?”, “How easy will this one be to clean?”, “Will this type of carpet fade in color, or begin to look raggedy or frayed with time?”.
Well, we certainly understand the seductive nature of soft and pretty carpet, but what about practicality?
We’re only human, we naturally flock to the appealing parts of life, which is fine. But appealing does not always equal functional.
You know what we’re talking about.
You’re probably thinking of those completely unnecessary, brand-spanking-new, pair of shiny red heels you bought this weekend (even though you already have a pair of perfect heels in the closet collecting dust).
It’s okay, it happens to the best of us.
You might be thinking, carpet is important, but it’s not THAT important, right? Well, let’s not forget about those 3 rugrats running around your home, with dirty shoes on, and surprising you with new messes everyday.
Or your two cats who are incessant on scratching up your carpet instead of that two-hundred dollar scratching post you bought them.
Carpet is important, so we mustn’t waste anymore time! Let’s get serious.
Let’s talk about a few essential factors to consider while picking your “pretty” carpets.
Choosing The Carpet Fiber
Choosing a type of carpet fiber is perhaps the most pertinent decision you can make in your thrilling, carpet-choosing journey.
One mistake and you’re stuck with some disappointing, failure of a carpet, for the rest of your life…
Different carpet fibers offer various levels of durability, stain resistance (as much as carpet can be stain resistant anyways), and potential fading or fraying.
Types of Fibers
99% of the carpet industry in the United States uses synthetic fiber; these being nylon, polyester, and olefin.
So let’s have a quick chat about each of these and what kind of benefits these carpet fibers offer your kitty’s sharpened claws.
Nylon: Easily the most popular fiber, in all the carpet land, and also the most common found in homes. However, nylon can also be a bit expensive.
Nylon is very durable, versatile, and strong (meaning your cat will really love sinking it’s claws into this one). This fiber type is insanely versatile, offering most any style and color you desire!
It’s reasonably strong, stays intact (meaning it will not fade or fray as easily), hide dirt and soil (but you must remember to still clean your carpet even if it doesn’t LOOK dirty), and can be greatly stain resistant if stains are taken care of properly.
Polyester: This type of carpet is the second most common type of carpet right behind Nylon. Known for it’s stain and fade resistance, softness, and it’s “budget-friendly” nature.
I’m thinking your cat may really love to tear this one up when you’e not looking…
However, this carpet, while not as strong and durable as Nylon, will retain it’s color well over the years, and make it easier to remove stains from. So… at least there’s that?
Olefin: Also known as polypropylene, this carpet fiber is know for being relatively cheap (uh-oh), somewhat “stain resistant”, and retains it’s color well.
Olefin carpet colors are built and dyed into the fibers, and is often treated with a chemical that is supposed to protect the carpet fibers from stains and spills.
However, that leaves out two very important factors to consider while choosing a carpet- durability and strength.
How long with this carpet last without fraying? Hmm…. go kitty go!
If these three types of carpet fibers don’t quite tickle your fancy, you may also consider looking into other types of fibers.
There are certainly many, MANY other types of carpet fibers to consider- make sure to do your research!
Choosing The Carpet
Carpet Texture refers to the way your carpet fibers have been manufactured; HOW the strands of yarn have been sewn into the backing of the carpet.
Are they sewn in as little loops? Or are they sewn in as loops, and then later cut?
Another important factor that will decide the durability and strength of your carpet, is how tightly the yarn (carpet fiber strands) have been wound before they were sewn into the backing.
Think of that yarn ball you bought for your capricious little cat. That small ball of yarn simply consists of a single strand of a thin, tightly wound yarn that goes for miles right? Or that yarn that your grandma uses?
It’s not a ball, but rather, a large oval shaped yarn mass that’s about the size of your forearm…
That excessively long strand of yarn is not wound quite as tight as the cat’s yarn ball right?
Well, carpet fibers work the same way. The more tightly wound the strands of fiber are, the more durable they are!
Over 90% of carpet used for homes today, are manufactured as “tufted” carpet. A tufting machine for carpet is essentially a massive sewing machine; it has thousands of of needles that speedily insert tiny loops of carpet fibers into the backing of the carpet.
How long your precious carpet will last, largely depends on how well it’s manufactured.
Let’s talk about a couple popular carpet textures to consider:
Types of Carpet Textures
This texture happens when the minuscule yarn loops have all been sewn into the backing of the carpet.
Once all the fibers have been sewn in, the machine goes back over the surface of the carpet, and chops the yarn fibers evenly across the top.
This makes for a very soft, comfortable feeling for bedrooms and living rooms.
However, stains can be harder to clean, and fraying may be more visible, because the yarn has been cut across the top, causing a natural fray already!
There are a few different types of cut pile carpet:
Plush: This is a even and smooth textured carpet; formal and luxurious,.
Texture Cut Pile: This is when the fibers are at uneven lengths and create a more rough surface texture.
Frieze Carpet: Also known as shaggy carpet; this type has long cut pile fibers.
Saxony: among the most popular; this type has a smooth soft finish and the long fibers are twisted together to give the carpet more density.
Cable: Very soft and comfortable to the touch with long, thick fibers.
This is just your regular ol’ way of sewing carpet fibers into the backing of the carpet- with loops! Because the fibers are looped, creating a stronger carpet, this style can be incredibly durable and make spills less visible and likely to stain.
The fibers are also stronger as loops, meaning less fraying can occur compared to cut pile! But cats have more fun with this carpet… There are two types of this loop style:
Loop Pile: The fibers are sewn in as uncut loops at even sizes.
Patterned Loop: The fibers are sewn in as uncut loops at multiple heights.
Choosing The Carpet Style
Yes, this is the exciting part of the carpet choosing process; the part of the carpet that you get to choose based on style. How pretty is your carpet? Do the colors match your cabinets? Is the carpet soft?
But while yes, a large part of choosing the style of your carpet is based solely on appearance, there is still something to consider for the practical side of it; durability, strength, cleaning.
Types of Carpet Styles
This is the “Cut Pile” type we discussed above…
That’s right, you know what we’re talking about; look at that, you’re already a carpet expert! So let’s chat about the finer carpet details of life.
There are 4 types of Plush carpeting:
Smooth: Also known as Saxony; this is when the cut pile carpet is shaved to a low, smooth pile of even carpeting. Very soft and formal. It’s nap time on this carpet.
Twist: Also known as Frieze; this style is a bit longer of yarn, boasting a very casual “rolled out of bed” look.
Shag: Of course we all know this style. The yarn strands are long and casual, and the cats love to sink their claws in this one.
Because the strands are a bit longer and more open, it gives spills a quicker chance at staining the backing of your carpet…
Texture: Amongst the most popular of the options above, texture flaunts a soft, even surface, but because of the twists in the yarn, it creates a more casual look than that of plush.
These of course, are the carpet styles offered by the Loop Pile we discussed. You know what we’re talking about… We’re sort of feeling like a proud mama bird over here with all your new-found carpet knowledge!
Level Loop: Also known as Berber or Olefin; the loops are all sewn in at the same height, creating a thick, strong, and firm surface. Therefore stains can’t sneak down into the backing of the carpet as easily.
That means if you clean your stains fast, you may have a chance at avoiding stains!
You also have the added bonus of the carpet being firm and strong, which means the carpet terror your precious little kitty will undoubtedly cause, will be less noticeable and not nearly as easy to destroy as cut pile.
However, unfortunately strength doesn’t always mean comfort. You can certainly find many “soft” “pretty” and comfortable styles of Berber too.
Patterned Loop: This is the style we talked about above- where the loops are sewn in at all different levels to give the carpet more dimension and “messy” casual look.
This is a very strong, stable carpet style, but it wont be as “soft ” and “fluffy” of course, as maybe your plush carpeting would be. Consider this carpet for high-traffic areas like the front room.
Your cat will have its claws full of challenge with this carpet!
So, What IS The Best Carpet To Have?
Ah, you over eager carpet explorer, this is the question of the day isn’t it! Well, obviously you want the most “pretty” and comfortable carpet for your new obviously beautiful home right?
Ultimately, the choice is up to you. You have all the most exciting facts now!
So to make your choice, consider asking yourself these questions:
“How often will I make time to clean my carpets?”
“How long do I want my carpet to last?”
“How many potential accidents could happen on these carpets?” (i.e consider how many kids you have, animals, guests and otherwise.)
Regardless of what carpet you chose, the ultimate question is, how often do you want to spend your own time cleaning your carpets? Well, other than vacuuming, you won’t have to spend any more time on your carpets if you just call Zerorez®.
All you have to do is take an hour or two out of your day, once or twice a year (or more depending on how rambunctious your family is), and we’ll take care of your brand new carpets for good.
You will have new looking carpets for as long as they shall live!
So make your carpet choice for that new home, because Zerorez® will ensure that even years from now when your carpet is looking kind of down in the dumps, Zerorez® carpet cleaning has the ability to perk it right back up!