Buying Guide: Carpet

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Carpet is one of the most versatile of all floor covering options, featuring more colors and textures than any other type of flooring. When judging carpet quality, a simple rule of thumb is to ask about the density of the fibers used to make the carpet. The more fibers per square inch, the more durable the carpet.

Most carpet is made by pulling the fibers through a woven backing, then additional layers of backing are glued on to provide strength and thickness. Carpet pad adds cushioning and helps prolong the life of the carpet. Indoor/outdoor carpeting withstands weather and usually is installed without a pad.

Wool carpet is the standard of quality. It’s naturally durable and resistant to moisture and stains, and it’s considered to have the best feel against hands and bare feet. With the exception of wool, most carpets are made of synthetic fibers. Various types include the following:

  • Nylon – exceptionally strong and resistant to wear. Make sure the carpet you buy is treated to reduce static electricity
  • Acrylic – has physical properties that approximate wool. It resists wear, crushing, and mildew, and it’s inhospitable for insects
  • Polyester – produces bright colors and is highly resistant to moisture, but stains can be difficult to remove
  • Polypropylene olefin – used for indoor/outdoor carpeting. It’s extremely resistant to stains, moisture, and mildew

Some of the benefits of carpet include:

  • Soundproofing qualities make it the quietest flooring choice
  • Insulation properties may lower energy bills
  • Comfortable for bare feet and creating that cozy, right-at-home feeling
  • Cushions a fall with toddlers or seniors
  • Creates style flexibility courtesy of countless colors, styles, and piles
  • Affordable
  • Covers uneven subfloors and adjusts to uneven walls easily
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