• Selecting the right carpet is going to be different for every family. There are many factors that go into picking new carpet. Some will depend on the type of use the carpet will receive, allergies, preferences, and budget. Before you go shopping there are a few important things you should know about carpets and the people that sell them.

    Carpet salesman vs. carpet cleaner

    If you are shopping for a new carpet, you might be surprised to know that an experienced carpet cleaner may not recommend the same kind of carpet as your carpet salesman. A salesman only knows what the manufacturer tells him about the carpet’s durability. However, a carpet cleaner knows how a carpet actually holds up, especially when he has been cleaning carpets for a couple of years. It may be a good idea to ask your sales rep if he has any experience cleaning carpets, and how long he cleaned carpets for. This will give you a good idea if he is going to recommend quality, based on actual experience.

    Checking for durability

    Ninety percent of all carpets are made of synthetic fibers. Some of them have great stain resistant qualities, are fade resistant, and are designed to withstand a lot of pressure. These are all great qualities, but you also want a carpet that won’t bloom, or fray easily.  A good way to assess a carpet is to remove a single strand from the carpet and untwist it.  The strand should spring back without fraying. If it doesn’t, the durability is going to be low, and the carpet will be likely to fray and bloom early on.

    Types of carpet fibers

    There are five types of carpet fibers that are used today. Each one has it’s advantages and disadvantages. Knowing the pros and cons before you go shopping will help you to pick the one that is best suited for your family.

    Nylon is strong and resilient, resisting stains and compression.  It is the most widely used and comes in a wide range of colors. This carpet tends to have issues with static electricity, can be pricy, and isn’t the softest option.

    Wool is natural and is both strong and resilient. It offers softness and cleans up nicely. It also is fire resistant and an excellent insulator. However, many people with allergies are sensitive to the fibers. It can be sensitive to chemicals and staining. It also is prone to fuzz.

    Acrylic is a soft synthetic material that is fade resistant, cleans up easy, is and resistant to insects and mildew. It is also easy to clean and resists soil and oils. Acrylic is not fire resistant and can be difficult to extinguish if it catches fire. It also has problems with static electricity. Acrylic can also be blended with wool. If you have allergies to wool make sure you check to make sure that you don’t purchase a blend.

    Polyester is able to retain vibrant colors, is often made from recycled fibers, soft and comfortable and is stain resistant. It is also affordably priced, is resistant to static electricity, and water resistant. Polyester comes up short in durability, and ease of cleaning. This carpet can matt easily under high traffic, may show traffic patterns more easily than other fabrics.

    Polypropylene Olefin is moisture, stain, and fade resistant. It repels static electricity and is fairly colorfast. However, it does not bounce back well after compression and does not do well in areas of high traffic such. It might be a good choice for a basement because it resists mildew and is moisture resistant, but it wouldn’t be a great choice for high traffic areas like stairs and hallways.

    Which carpet is best for you?

    Before you go shopping answers the following questions:

    What is your budget?

    Are there any allergies to fibers?

    Do you have light or heavy traffic?

    Are you okay with static electricity?

    Is fire resistance important to you?

    Do you need moisture resistant?

    What kind of stain resistance do you need?

    These questions should help you select the correct fibers when you are ready to purchase new carpet.

    Additional things to consider

    A family with pets and kids will do best with a fiber that resists stains and moisture. You will also want a stronger density carpet. The density of the carpet will help the carpet to hold its shape. Carpets that are dense and tightly tufted hold up better than less dense carpets. Stay away from low durability carpets when you have a lot of traffic.

    You may have heard that Berber carpet has fantastic carpet durability. In truth, the carpet will last a very long time, however, it also has some large drawbacks. Berber carpet is made of looped fibers. With normal use, dirt becomes trapped between the loops. Because dirt has half the cutting power of glass, it starts to cut away at the carpet fibers.  Once this happens, a darkening occurs, and even when cleaned properly, the darkening will not go away. We do not recommend Berber carpet for families with high traffic.

    Don’t skimp on quality padding

    A good quality pad will help to slow down carpet wear, and can extend the life of even a low-quality carpet.

    If you have pets your carpet sales representative may talk to you about pet-proof padding. This padding is not full proof and can have problems. First, it has a barrier that prevents the pee from absorbing into the pad. Unfortunately, instead of the urine staying in one location it will actually spread out more along the backing of the carpet. Padding is essentially foam, and it can crack and get holes in it. If this occurs urine can get trapped below the barrier, and cause bacteria and mold growth. It is essential if you purchase pet-proof padding that you tell your carpet cleaner. A Pet-proof pad will change the way a carpet cleaner needs to treat for pet urine issues.

    Go shopping and enjoy your new carpet. We hope these tips help you to pick the best carpet to meet the needs of your family for years to come.

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