How To Carpet Shop
Perhaps you’ve seen me on hands and knees with my nose in a rug. Although I don’t worship carpet, almost 45 years in this business has taught me an awful lot about what makes carpets last longer and look better. If you’re thinking of a new carpet or are already out shopping, I thought you might like to know what I’d recommend.
Carpet Shopping? Mind if I join you?
As a retired Certified Carpet Inspector, I’m often hired by carpet manufacturers and dealers to help solve their customer’s problems. As a carpet cleaner, I use my training and experience to analyze wear and stain resistance so you get the most out of your carpet investment. Based on my experience, here’s my best advice:
So Many Choices
Your first major decision is nylon or wool—both are excellent choices, depending on your needs. (Unless you’re covering a pool deck or patio, avoid Olefins and polyesters. They attract dirt and they crush and mat in high-traffic areas).
Better Carpet Through Chemistry
About 75% of all carpets sold are made of nylon because of its outstanding stain and soil resistance, superior crush resistance (it springs back into shape), multitude of color choices and easy cleaning. Look for the so-called “Fifth generation” nylons—they’re the most soil resistant and static-free. And thanks to a high-tech finish on each fiber, they’re also exceptionally stain resistant. A densely-constructed nylon carpet is a great choice. If your life involves kids, pets or lots of visitors, they mean soil and stains so I think nylon is your best bet.
Nature’s Beautiful Workhorse
Wool simply wears longer. A good, dense wool carpet will outwear nylon 2 to 1; even less expensive wools last as long as good nylon carpets. Wool is more vulnerable to acid-based liquids like coffee or red juices, so it does stain easily. But wool’s truly remarkable at shedding tracked-in dirt. Wool may cost a bit more, but since we’re able to clean it so beautifully, wool offers better value in the long run. So unless you’re hosting a grape juice festival, wool looks and wears best in my book.
Staple or Continuous Filament
Wool carpets are made of yarns which are spun-together using shorter wool fibers. Because of this, they tend to shed a little more but look softer and richer—more “woolly.” In an attempt to simulate the look of wool, synthetic carpets are also available in staple yarns spun together with shorter filaments, giving them a rich, plush look. These may also shed a bit when new, but a high-quality nylon staple-filament carpet will give years of service and beauty.
Continuous filament (BCF) offers more durability in less expensive carpets but are shinier and don’t look as rich and textured as staple-yarn carpet.
Cuts and Loops
Cut piles range from plushes to saxonys to friezes (free-zays), based on the twist of each fiber. The least-twisted plushes are dense and smooth like velvet but tend to show footprints and vacuum tracks more readily. Saxonys are used most often, thanks to their traditional appearance and wear. The tightly-twisted friezes have a more casual look, but hold up longer under heavy use and don’t show footprints as much. I like friezes because they retain their appearance longer.
Loop piles come in level or mixed heights. Larger, level loops in the “Berber” style look contemporary and casual but tend to flatten out and show traffic wear sooner. Unfortunately, they also soil easily, so they’re a poor choice in heavy traffic areas. Low level loops are most often used in commercial applications because the loops don’t crush or flatten much. However, you probably wouldn’t find them thick or luxurious enough for your home.
Well, that’s the long and short of it. Choose the densest nylon or wool pile you can afford, in a style and color that’s just right for your decor. Carpet is like so many things, you get what you pay for. With the right carpet and Coleman Care, your investment will pay for itself over the long haul in terms of satisfaction and wear. Enjoy your new carpet and let us know if you’re ever in the Santa Barbara or Goleta area, Coleman Care will take good care of it for you.
It’ll last a long, long time.