Sunday, March 13, 2011

How to Select the Right Carpet Style for your Home

I am asked all the time what carpet type is best for my home.  Well, the answer to this depends on many factors and, quite often, depends on the type of traffic and household setting in question.  Quite often, we walk into a carpeting outlet and, simply, look at the aesthetics of the samples that are on display with little regard for whether  or not the type of carpet is suitable for the proposed space.  So, I thought I'd give you a brief overview of the differing types of carpet styles and interject a bit of my own opinion as to how they stand up to such things as wear and cleanability.


This style usually comes in a solid color with a cut pile to give the appearance of a perfectly flat surface.  This is a very popular choice with builders and is quite often labelled as a "builders grade". The plus is that it comes in a huge variety of colors and shades. In most cases it is made of nylon and will have a fairly good resistance to staining if maintained and the spills are addressed immediately.  The downside to this carpet choice is that it doesn't wear well. Typically it has a life of about 5 to 7 years.  The traffic shading, especially on lighter coloured versions, start to become permanent within only a year or two. Footprints are annoyingly visable on this type of pile.

Textured Plush

This style has more than one colour mix and has varying heights to the pile.  Again, nylon is the predominant fibre here, so spot cleaning is easier.  The varied pile height also hides vacuum lines and footprints too.  With proper care, this carpet choice has a 10 to 12 year lifespan.


This is a very dense carpet. Has a very course or "meaty" look to it. The tips of the carpet fibres are very distinguishable. Like a plush carpet, it shows wear relatively quickly and will also make foot prints and vacuum marks apparent.


Very popular in the 70's and 80's and starting to make a comeback now, this type of carpet has two types of tufts. It usually mixes a berber (looped) construction with a twisted fibre.  A very luxurious appearance mixing shades and colours. The downside, though, is that if you are not up to regular vacuuming, the higher, points of this construction will show wear within a few years. As the higher, twisted fibres shade from wear, the contrast with the lower looped fibres tend to accent the traffic patterns quicker. There is also a risk of snagging with the berber loops of this pile. So watch out for this when pets are present.


When asked which is my favorite style>this is it!

It has a very tight twist to the fibres which help with reducing the effects of wear. Lasts a long time.  Average life of this style of carpet is 10 to 15 years or more if maintained well. It comes in a variety of colours and shades.  Looks great, feels great, and easily maintained.


This is the carpet style that is my least favorite and the one that my customers tend to always regret choosing.

Yes, it looks elegant in the store, which made it popular with decorators.  However, it is plagued with issues. The tufts are looped.  The larger the loop the quicker the appearance of wear.  Wear is caused by friction, not only from foot traffic, but also from the particulate (dirt) that comes off our feet that gets trapped under those pesky loops.  The particles of dirt actually cut into the fibres and magnify the wear. Hence, it is one of the highest maintenance carpet styles around.

Other issues include seam exposure, where the tufts fall to opposite sides of a seam making it very visable in a short period of time.  Snags are very common, especially where pets and children are present. Also be careful moving furniture as this could result in snags. One of my earlier posts addresses snag repairs.

The life of most berbers is about 5 to 8 years depending on how well cared for it is.

Wool or Synthetic??

This is my own opinion.....

I will always tend to favour synthetic fibres as they are more easily maintained than wool.  Most retailers don't advise their customers as to how to properly treat stains or traffic wear when it comes to carpet, especially wool ones. You are restricted greatly, as to what you can use on wool carpets to lift spots.  Wool fibres tend to require more acidic treatments as opposed to the alkyline natured spot removers that one finds in most stores. The use of "soaps" to remove spots on a wool carpet can burn or mark permanently.  Water staining (brown or reddish in appearance) are also quite common on wool carpets.  The use of peroxide or oxygen bleach products is not recommended.

Remember, to call SmithWerks Carpet Cleaning West Vancouver when you are ready to have your carpets or upholstery professionally cleaned.