You’re getting serious about carpeting your home. Great! You’ve come to the right place to learn all about the various types of carpet available. With the wide array of carpeting available today, it’s easy to suit your taste and find a flooring solution for the way you live. Choosing the best carpet is really about finding the right combination of aesthetics, performance and budget to best meet the needs of your lifestyle. But you want to shop smart -- right? For example, looped Berbers and high twist friezes perform wonderfully in high traffic areas, but an elegant Saxony in the same area may show footprints. We created this section to help you get smart before your carpet is laid down -- and long before you lay down your money! So please read on, carpet shopper, check out these tips and get the upper hand on the flooring that may soon be underfoot.

It Seems that Seams are Inevitable

Carpet is available in 12’, 15’ and sometimes 13’2" widths. Unless the room to be carpeted is narrower than these widths, the carpet will be seamed. With looped or low-profile patterned carpet you may have visible or peaked seams. The degree of their visibility depends on texture, color, lighting and furniture placement. 

Warning! Bends and Loops Ahead

Be aware that, as carpet bends over stairs, its backing may show depending on texture and color. Plus, you should know that looped carpet can snag, particularly at a seam or at a carpet transition. But never fear, in the Carpet Floor Care section we provide information on how to properly care for looped carpet. 

Carpet has a One-track Mind

The nap of all carpets run in one direction. Pile reversal, or shading, is a normal characteristic of many cut pile style carpets. This can be particularly apparent with plush carpet. If this becomes an issue, consider window treatments and furniture placement as a way to minimize this affect.

Remember Quality = Durability

Higher quality carpet will typically have greater pile density, and tighter twist construction, which will result in better durability. Another consideration is that it’s easier to replace or update a home’s décor with carpet compared to other hard surface products. Dollar for dollar carpet offers significant styling advantages, and adds value to any home. Carpet also feels warm underfoot and reduces household noise.

This will Really Color your Thinking

Color has a big impact on any room in the home. Carpet covers a large area of any room, so it’s important to keep some basic rules in mind when selecting your carpeting. An important consideration about carpet color is that once a carpet is installed in a new home, it will often look lighter than the sample you saw in the store. This is a natural optical effect and you should be aware of this when making a carpet color selection.

Another thing to keep in mind is how the color of carpet affects the apparent size of the room. Lighter colored carpet will usually visually expand the room. Darker carpeting will seem to bring the walls closer together, and create a more intimate feeling.Neutral colors are the best choice if you expect to frequently change the decorating scheme, or if you’re trying to incorporate a lot of existing furniture. Using a neutral colored, good quality carpet is a good idea if the home will be resold any time soon. It’s easier for a prospective buyer to imagine their furniture in a room that is decorated with neutral colors.

Take Pains to Understand Stains

Stain protection is an important consideration in any carpet purchase. Carpet products come with different stain protection levels and warranties that help guard your carpet against stains. As you increase the quality of carpet, stain protection also typically increases, as does the manufacturers warranty coverage. With this in mind, it is important to understand exactly what is covered by the warranty of your specific carpet as warranties do vary.

Don’t be Blind to the Invisible

One of the most important considerations in choosing the right carpet for your home has to do with where you can’t see – beneath the surface of the carpet. Carpet cushion, the layer of material that lies between the carpet and floor, can make the difference between a good feeling carpet and a great one. It’s carpet cushion, not the carpet itself that determines how a carpet feels beneath your feet. 

However, carpet cushion isn’t just about feel. A quality carpet cushion helps preserve the look of the carpet, and can even extend the life and comfort of a carpet, providing it with tougher protection against wear and tear. 
Also, understand that carpet cushion is sold using quality specifications, not color specifications. The color of the sample you see in the store may not be the same color as the carpet cushion installed in your home. 

Be Forward Thinking, Always look Back

Be sure to become familiar with all of the product specifications and warranty coverage on the back labels of the carpeting you’re purchasing. Doing so will protect your investment today and tomorrow. 

Finally, be Calculating! Figure the Entire Cost of Ownership.

The “cost per square foot” of your carpet is just one component of the entire project cost. To ensure there are no surprises, and the carpeting you select fits within your overall project budget, be sure to ask your retailer to calculate the total cost of your floor covering project. Here’s a list of potential additional expenses you may incur:
  1. Furniture removal/replacement. Some retailers may charge you to remove (and then move back) the furniture in the room to be carpeted.
  2. Demolition/disposal of old floor covering. Depending on the existing floor covering, this can be an expensive item; also, be sure to include the cost to dispose of the old floor covering.
  3. Sub-floor preparation. Depending on the condition of the sub-floor, it may require additional work.
  4. Product delivery. Delivering the carpet and cushion to your home may or may not be included in the price you’re quoted.
  5. Carpet installation. Determine the cost per square foot to install it.
  6. Materials required to complete the installation. Your new carpet may require additional materials to install it properly, like adhesives, moisture barriers, stairnosings, baseboards, etc.
  7. Financing. Many retailers offer financing; financing is not an additional cost but rather an option of payment.
In addition to the total project cost, you should also know the cost of annual cleanings to maintain the beauty and life of your new carpet. Ask the retailer and consult the manufacturer’s warranty and care guide for directions on how frequently the carpet should be cleaned and the cost to clean it. There’s a lot to keep in mind before you buy your carpet but it’s well worth the effort. If you’re a smart and knowledgeable carpet shopper it will make our day. And, hopefully, make your home!