May 30, 2019
How To Choose The Right Carpet For Your Home
How To Choose The Right Carpet For Your Home
Some things in life have universal appeal, and the smell of new carpet is one of them. It conjures up a fresh, clean feeling—which is precisely what new carpeting brings to your home—along with other benefits like added warmth, comfort and noise-dampening qualities.
But with so many carpeting options out there, where do you start? Here are a few thoughts.
Consider the living situation in your home. Are you retired with two people primarily living in the space or do you have an active family of five with two dogs? Is the carpeting for your home or a vacation or rental property?
As you answer these questions, consider these elements to help get you into the right carpet product that matches your living space and your lifestyle—and maximizes your investment.
- Fiber type. Nylon is rated as the best in overall durability. There is a natural memory in the nylon fiber which makes it more resilient and one of the longest lasting carpet products. Adding to these natural tendencies, when manufactured, the premium products have a high twist level which is heat–set, giving the yarn even better retention. Other fibers such as polyester and olefin are a close second in durability and have their own unique features and benefits. In the test of time, I’ve found nylon fiber to look the best as the carpet has aged 5 to 10 years.
- Face weight. Carpet face weights can range from 30 oz. to 75 oz. per square yard. Depending on the application, I most often recommend between 40 oz. to 60 oz. as a good to best moderate weight. Spending more for “high end” 75 oz. carpet doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get “high end” performance. With higher face weight, the yarn is often longer or taller with a lower density rating; as a result, the yarn wants to lean left or right. As the carpet begins to lean the light hits the tips of the yarn differently in the high traffic areas than it does in the areas with little or no traffic, therefore wear patterns can develop more quickly.
- Density is the relationship between the face weight of the carpet and the height of the carpet pile. The right combination of a good face weight and a moderate surface height of about ½” (measured from the backing to the yarn surface) will give you the best performance in your higher traffic areas. To the touch, a carpet with good density tends to have a firmer and “more spongey” feel to the surface.
- Twist level is related to the number of twists per inch in a single strand of yarn. The number of twists can range from three to seven. A twist level of at least five (5) is recommended, with six or seven offering the best performance. Carpet with a twist level of three is likely to “blossom” or untwist and have a matted, worn–out appearance rather quickly.
- Style & performance. Choosing a carpet with good movement—like texture and color—is great for hiding dirt and wear. If you’re looking to carpet an area in the home more susceptible to spills, ask about the new LifeGuard® carpeting with Spill-proof Backing™ by Shaw – the perfect solution for a clean, worry-free home.
- Padding is incredibly important—you can’t see it, but you do feel it. The higher the density of the pad, the more support and comfort it provides. Based on manufacturers’ recommendations and testing, our standard cushion is an 8 lb. density and 3/8” – 7/16” in height. If the padding is too thick and not the right density, it may cause excessive movement or stretching, resulting in premature wear and/or wrinkles in the carpet.
- Installation. There is a skill and expertise to carpet installation which underscores the value of calling in the professionals. What is the most efficient way/direction to run the carpet? Where is ideal seam placement? These are the questions professional installers consider before they start. There are rules for seam placement relative to light exposure and high traffic areas, along with following industry best practices for a proper and complete installation.
At Dover, we measure and draw every job to scale to determine the proper and most efficient installation. Power-stretching to crank in the carpet happens with every installation—not just a knee-kicker. A quality installation looks great and allows the carpet to wear properly – extending the life and overall performance.
It’s also important to care for your carpet per the specific manufacturer’s recommendations. As a general rule, remove dirt on a regular basis by vacuuming. Every 12 to 18 months, steam clean using hot-water extraction. Just be sure to hire a professional cleaner: If your carpet is left too wet or if cleaning solution is not completely rinsed from the carpet, it can attract more dirt. I always suggest to customers that they put a note on their steam cleaning order for a clean rinse with extra drying.
Clearly, there’s a lot to consider when selecting carpeting for you home. If you’re interested in talking about your project and would like to check out our product samples, stop by the Dover Floor and Tile Center showroom. We’re here to help.