Things You Should Know: Shopping For Carpet, Part 2

In Things You Should Know: Shopping For Carpet Part 1, I gave you basic tips to help you determine which type of carpeting fibers will ultimately work best in your home and also reviewed the differences you want to be aware of when it comes to the various dye methods. So, what else should you know and consider before making your final carpet selection?

Construction

When it comes to how carpeting is constructed, there are two main processes you’ll want to be aware of from a residential design standpoint: Tufted and Woven.

Tufted

When it comes to residential carpeting, many of the most popular selections out there are constructed via a process known as tufting. Basically, the tufting processes involves various specialized needle sewing machines, that ultimately attach thousands of yarn strands to a primary backing material and later a secondary backing material for enhanced performance capabilities. Of course, there is more than one type of tufting:

Cut Pile: Often known for its fiber durability, tuft density, and mass amounts of highly twisted yarns; cut pile carpeting maintains its shape making certain types popular selections for high traffic areas. Can be characterized by an elegant velvet appearance, but can also be Frieze (more curly) or shag. Common types of cut pile carpet: Saxony, Frieze, Textured Plush/Plush (Velvet), and Shag.

Loop Pile: Known for being a tighter, denser construction method where loops of yarn bear the weight of the traffic allowing it to wear well in high traffic areas. Common types of loop pile carpet: Berber, Level Loop, and Multi-Level Loop (Patterned Loop).

Cut & Loop: Exactly like it sounds, this one is combination of Cut and Loop Pile. It is a specialized construction that combines the two textures allowing for various patterns and designs. This type of construction is often good for hiding soil and stains due to its multi-color appearance/effects.

Sheared Loop: Loop carpets which have had the tops of the loops sheared off to provide a more velvet appearance fall into this category.

Woven

Created on looms by “weaving” face yarns and backing yarns into one complete product. Woven construction methods do not require a second backing the way tufted constructed carpeting does. There are two main types of woven construction you’ll want to be aware of:

Axminster: Known for its affordability and long wearing properties, axminster wovens are cut pile patterned carpets with unlimited colors and patterns, commonly used in restaurants and hotels.

Wilton: Known for being dense and durable due to their tight construction, wilton wovens are made on a jacquard loom and are considered to be more high end wovens. Wilton wovens can come in cut, loop, or cut-loop piles.

 

Formats

Carpet is typically sold by the square yard and when it comes time to place your final order, there are two basic formats you’ll likely come across.

Broadloom: Carpeting that is woven/manufactured in wide widths (these are the long rolls of carpeting you may see when shopping at the store (today, this format is most common in residential).

Carpet Tiles: Carpeting that is manufactured in square tiles that fit together and can be placed piece by piece. Carpet tiles are often popular in commercial spaces as they are typically easier to install and cheaper to replace.

 

Padding

Whatever type of carpet you select, you’ll want to make sure it will feel the way you want it to once installed (and of course wear well over the years). If your concerned about your carpeting not being soft enough or crushing over time, selecting the right padding to go underneath your carpet can be an easy way to overcome these concerns. Understanding this, be sure to inquire about the different options available to you when it comes to the padding that will be used underneath your carpeting. Since no one will ever see it, people often elect to go with whatever is cheapest. Logically, this makes sense, but if saving a few dollars means a year from now your carpeting won’t feel as soft as it did or it will crush more easily, you may want to consider investing in a higher quality padding to go underneath.

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Installation

When it comes to carpeting, the installation process can be a complex one. It typically involves glues, tacking, stretching, making sure seems match up… all in all, it can be pretty labor intensive. This being said, if you want it to look right and wear well over time, I always vote to leave this job to the professions!

 

Maintenance

Like anything else, if you don’t take care of your carpeting, it may not last as long as you’d like. Before anything else, I encourage you to always read the manufacturers instructions first as there will be certain chemicals and types of vacuums heads you’ll want to avoid depending on the type of carpeting you’ve selected. From there, the rest is really up to you. Hopefully, it goes without saying that all spills should be cleaned up as quickly as possible (the longer you let something sit, the harder it will be to get the stain out). As far as more routine maintenance goes, I recommend a good vacuuming once every week and a professional cleaning at least once or twice a year.

Buyer Beware: Many popular carpeting manufactures will offer some sort of warranty when you purchase their products. This is all fine and dandy, but make sure you read the fine print before relying on them to come out and replace any destroyed carpeting. More times than not, the manufacturer will not replace anything unless you can prove you have taken care of the carpet in a way that is up to their standards. This means documentation of a certain number of professional cleanings each year, among other things. Considering most people likely don’t even consider getting their carpeting professionally cleaned once a year, this usually prevents you from qualifying for any warranty benefits.

I’m sure your brain is overloaded with all things carpet at this point, so I’ll end today’s post here! Hoping everyone has a fantastic weekend and be sure to comment with any questions I may have left unanswered!

xx Linnie
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