While color schemes and designs are important as you plan your home, these other considerations should be used first when choosing the carpet for your home.
The pile of the carpet is the visible surface of the carpet; it is also called the nap or the face. The nap comes in two basic styles: loop pile, where both ends are anchored to the carpet back to form a loop, and cut pile, where only one end is anchored. Other styles are variations of the cut and loop. These may range from a short, tight loop to long, luxurious naps. Each style has special characteristics and uses.
While carpet can be woven, the most common method of manufacture is tufting. The ends of the yarn are pushed though the backing, creating the pile surface, either cut or looped. The backing is often composed of two layers. The layer in which the yarn is inserted may be of woven or nonwoven fabric and is called the primary backing. A secondary backing is laminated onto the back of the primary layer to reinforce it, which increased dimensional stability, the ability to keep its shape.
Yarn materials may be composed of wool, nylon, olefin, polyester or acrylic. About 97% of the carpet in the United States is a synthetic yarn; wool is rarely used except for high-end, expensive carpeting. However, yarn is often a blend of two or more of these materials and wool is sometimes blended with nylon to take advantage of the benefits of the combined materials, such as soil resistance and strength.
Matching carpet types with intended uses
These differing characteristics can assist you in making your choices when purchasing carpet. A soft, velvety pile looks luxurious; however, it will show every footprint. Therefore, it is probably not a choice for a high traffic area, but excellent for formal sitting rooms.
A casual area, such as a living room or bedroom, might be served better by a relaxed shag carpet. It will be harder to vacuum or clean, but there is not much dirt accumulation in those areas. High-traffic areas, such as hallways and entryways, should be covered with a shorter, more tightly woven carpet. They are good choices for basement recreation rooms as well. These carpets will catch a majority of the dirt carried into the home, but they are much easier to clean.
The frieze (pronounced “free-zay”) nap has a tightly twisted yarn, giving it a rough, nubby appearance. While not as comfortable to walk on, this carpet nap is often used in entryways to remove dirt from outdoor footwear. It can be installed as a carpet, a small area rug or mat.
Carpeting may be purchased for full room installations, area rugs or even as carpet squares or tiles. The tiles are often used in children’s rooms to create fanciful patterns of color and design. They are sturdy, close-pile carpets that resist stains and area easy to clean. This is definitely a plus where active children are playing.