Carpeting Options

For warmth and softness underfoot, carpet is your choice. Carpet has two layers -- face pile and backing. Because the face pile (or yarn fibers) is subject to all the wear and tear, it's your key consideration. Backing is almost never seen once the carpet is installed, but it plays a role in the overall quality.

Carpet face pile comes in two variations: cut and loop. In cut-pile carpets individual yarns stand up straight from the backing. In loop-pile construction the yarn comes out of the backing, loops over, and returns into the backing. Loop-pile carpets with a level surface are called level loops. If the loop height varies, the carpet is a multilevel loop. Most loop piles will perform better than cut piles in the long term because the loops help evenly distribute the impact of foot traffic.

Cut-and-loop or cut/uncut carpets combine both pile types to add surface texture and often blend multiple yarn colors. Sometimes referred to as "sculptured," these multitexture, multicolor carpets hide footprints and soil well.

Weight and wear

Generally the heavier the carpet, the better it will hold up. However don't select a product based on weight alone. When comparing different varieties consider the carpet's density, pile height, and fiber type. Many carpets come in good, better, and best choices. Although the carpets in each category look very much alike, the difference is usually weight. A retailer might offer a textured saxony in 28, 34, and 40 ounces, for example. If you're budget conscious select the heavier product for high-traffic areas and the lower-weight carpet for less-used rooms.


Because carpet absorbs water, stains easily, and promotes mildew growth, it is usually not recommended for bath installations, particularly in areas adjacent to the toilet, tub, or shower.


Carpet is typically made from one of four fibers: nylon, olefin, polyester, and wool. Wool is typically the most expensive (although it is not washable), followed by nylon, olefin (also referred to as polypropylene), and polyester, respectively. Nylon and other synthetics are washable.


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