Let us help you choose the best carpet or resilient flooring option for your lifestyle and budget.
Besides the warmth and softness, today’s carpets offer many new features that make carpet a great choice for many interior situations.
Whether you want dramatic color, graphic design or elegant artwork, it is all available in today’s new carpet styles.
How and Where to Use It
Sink-in softness makes wall-to-wall carpeting ideal for bedrooms and cozy family rooms where the floor is as much a place to sit as it is to walk. With its padded layer beneath, carpet absorbs noise and provides insulation. In living and dining rooms, an easy-to-update area rug or carpet tiles can anchor groupings of furniture or change the look of a room with pattern and color.
Types of fibers
Fibers are the thousands of tiny threads that combine to create the look and feel of a carpet. They create the color and pattern; they define the texture and softness; and they determine how long a carpet will resist wear and staining. The majority of today’s carpeting comes in four primary fiber types: wool, nylon, polypropylene (olefin) and P.E.T. polyester.
Wool is considered by many to be the very best carpet material available. Sure, it’s the most expensive, but for good reason. It’s natural, durable, luxurious, soft, flame resistant, water repellant and environmentally friendly. And shockingly, it doesn’t conduct static electricity. It’s also the most stain resistant carpet available.
Today’s nylon carpets are made from a newer generation of the product called “Nylon 6” or “Nylon 6,6.” These fibers are engineered to be even more durable, resist abrasive wear damage and offer almost a lifetime resistance to stains. Nylon 6/6,6 carpets can be pricey, but they’re perfect for any room.
Olefin is colorfast, prevents moisture damage, is stain resistant, and is low in static. But it’s not as durable as wool or nylon and should not be installed in heavy usage locations. The best uses for Olefin include places with a greater amount of moisture or an informal space, like a child’s room.
P.E.T. Polyester. This inexpensive wool alternative is environmentally friendly, has built-in moisture and stain resistance, is colorfast and feels incredibly soft. Made from recycled P.E.T. products, like plastic soda bottles, polyester carpets are stronger than Olefin and can perform as well as nylon at a much lower cost. Polyester offers a way to enjoy a soft, plush carpet at a very affordable price.
This looped-style carpet features bulky yarns with characteristic color flecks, produced in a level or multi-level loop construction. Most Berbers are manufactured from olefin (polypropylene) fiber, but some are made from nylon or a blend.
This cut pile-style carpet is made of thicker and longer yarn and is suggested for low traffic spaces. Heavy foot traffic can cause matting and crushing, so it’s not the ideal choice for hallways or stairways.
Cut pile is created when the loops that result from weaving are cut to the same height and allowed to slightly tuft, giving the carpet a dense, soft appearance.
The measure of how tightly yarn is stitched into a carpet’s primary backing. Higher density carpet will normally wear better than lower density carpet.
A cut pile-style of carpet that has a very high twist level, meaning that each strand of yarn is twisted so tightly that it actually curl over at its end. The result is a textured surface with a nubby appearance and a highly durable product.
Loop pile is how all carpet actually begins — uncut.
Commonly known as commercial carpet, loop pile carpets can be either smooth, consistent surface or high and low loops giving the carpet a more textured appearance.
The combination of cut pile and loop pile provides for some interesting patterns that result from the variation in surface textures. Also known as “sculptured carpets”, or “cut and uncut”, this popular style is great at disguising foot traffic and wear and offers a variety of surface finishes.
A natural part of any new carpet in which individual fibers come loose from the base. Frequent vacuuming for the first few days will eliminate the problem.
The protrusion of individual tuft or yarn ends above the pile surface. May be clipped with scissors.
Shopping for carpeting can be a very confusing journey for many customers due to the difficulty in determining exactly what is included, or not included, in an advertised carpet price.
There are many factors that can determine how carpet prices are quoted. Many stores will price all items ala carte – meaning that they have a separate charge for each line item requested. Think of this method as having the work performed on a time and materials basis.
Other stores will have an all inclusive pricing strategy. This means that rather than selling their goods on a line item basis as just described, they will quote their prices on an installed basis. Keep in mind that you are shopping not only for product and price, but also for someone that you can trust to be in your home as well. Always factor this important element into your purchasing decision.
Care and Cleaning
Frequent vacuuming sucks up the dust and loose dirt, refreshing your rugs and extending the life of your investment. If you choose a vacuum that uses bags, make sure you change the bag frequently to allow maximum cleaning efficiency.
Annual cleanings are also recommended to maintain the beauty and life of your new carpet.
When spills occur (and they will occur), begin the clean up process by using a dry cloth to blot up as much debris or liquid as possible. The longer you wait, the more the fibers will absorb the stain. Warm water should then be used to rinse the stained area. Press the cloth into the carpet to soak up the moisture until the stain is gone. Don’t scrub and don’t use hot water. You’ll damage the fibers.
Finally, rinse the area with warm water and absorb the wetness with a dry cloth. After your carpet is dry, vacuum it to restore its texture and appearance.
Heavy furniture, potted plants and other home décor can crush carpet pile and leave compressions that you may not notice until you redecorate or move. It’s a good idea to shake things up every once in a while — rearrange the furniture and your carpet will thank you.
What the Pros Say
Unless your room is narrower than 15 feet, you’re going to have seams. Most carpet comes in widths of 12 feet and 15 feet — and on occasion, 13 feet. The degree of visibility of your seams depends on the texture and color you choose, as well as the lighting and furniture placement in your room.
Once your carpet is installed, it’s going to look lighter in color than the sample you saw in the store.
Lighter carpet makes a room look larger and darker colors make a room look smaller and more intimate.
If you like to redecorate often or plan to move soon, go neutral. It’s much easier to imagine furniture in a room that is decorated with neutral colors.
A quality padding can help preserve a carpet’s look and can extend its life and comfort by providing tougher protection against wear and tear.
Padding is sold using quality specifications.
If your desire for beauty is driven by budget and practicality, resilient vinyl flooring is the answer to your decorating prayers. Resilient flooring has “give” or elasticity. This includes all vinyl flooring, linoleum, cork and rubber. You can get the look and durability you want at a price that won’t break the piggy bank.
How and Where to Use It
Vinyl is the acknowledged workhorse of the flooring world. It’s a great choice
for kitchens and bathrooms because it’s easy to keep clean. It’s durable, water resistant and doesn’t fade, stain, or dent.
Since resilient vinyl flooring comes in sheets, planks and tiles (VCT or Vinyl
Composition Tiles), there’s lots of room for self-expression. An artistic installer
can use contrasting sheet vinyl to create large patterns. The tiles can be arranged any way you want them.
Resilient vinyl floors share some of the same attributes as carpet — flexible
and soft to walk on. What’s more, like carpet, it can go on a subfloor that isn’t
perfectly level. While sheet vinyl should be installed by a professional, vinyl tiles, especially the peel-and-stick variety can be a do-it-yourself project.
Vinyl flooring is constructed of several different layers: the wear layer,
the printed or decorative layer, an inner core consisting of a foam and vinyl layer, and a backing. Felt and fiberglass are the most common backing.
The flooring is not bonded to the substrate by any adhesive.
Flooring composed of linseed oil, wood flour or cork dust.
A printing process that uses an engraved plate to apply a decorative dye layer to the vinyl gel coat creating a world of flooring patterns.
Shiny and tough and flexible plastic; used especially for floor coverings made from polyvinylchloride (PVC) and plasticizer.
Resilient vinyl flooring comes in a wide price range. As you move into the more expensive products, you’ll find a greater selection of colors and textures — plus enhanced performance. That all important wear layer is often tougher and thicker in the premium flooring.
Care and Cleaning
Dust, sand and grit particles are the enemy. Sweep or vacuum frequently. Don’t use a vacuum with a beater bar as it may scratch your floor. And don’t use scrub brushes.
When sweeping or vacuuming does not remove the dirt, mop the floor with clean warm water. Rinse the floor thoroughly with fresh water.
If water alone does not clean the surface, use cleaning products recommended by the manufacturer.
Do NOT use detergents, abrasive cleaners or “mop and shine” products.
What the Pros Say
The top layer is the one that really counts. It’s the one that determines how well your flooring will stand up to traffic, as well as rips, tears and gouges. Vinyl sheets are manufactured in 6’ and 12’ widths and some floor patterns hide seams better: tile patterns with grout lines mask seams beautifully.
Thanks to the World Floor Covering Association for their valuable assistance and input; wfca.org.
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