A Helpful Guide for Buying New Carpet

Considering your new house has every feature you were looking for you were willing to temporarily overlook the fact that the carpet desperately needs replacing throughout the home. Now that you are settled from the move it is finally time to do something about replacing the carpet. If you are like most others, this is your first time making this type of purchase, so you are probably a little overwhelmed and full of questions. This guide should help.

Questions to Ask Yourself

To narrow down the selection, there are a few questions you should first ask yourself before buying a new carpet.

  • Do you have pets and/or children? If you have two-or-four-legged children, or some of each, you will probably want to look at carpet that offers high-stain resistance. This variety may be a little more expensive than others, but it will continue to look its best much longer. You don’t want to have to replace it prematurely.
  • Where is the carpet going? If some, or all, of the carpet you are buying is for high traffic areas then you will want to buy a durable variety that will stand up to daily abuse.
  • What characteristic do you like and dislike about the carpet you have currently? Maybe you love the color, but it’s not as soft as you would like. Perhaps you like the feel, but the color is all wrong. Evaluating your likes and dislikes will help you pick a new style.

Carpet Fibers

Since different fibers react uniquely to wear and tear, it is helpful to become familiar with the common fibers used, and what they have to offer, in terms of fading, durability, and stain-resistance.  Consider this before buying a new carpet:

  • Nylon – Due to its high level of durability, nylon accounts for the majority of carpet sold in the United States. It is mildew and soil-resistant, however it is prone to static. So, treating with an anti-static application is recommended.
  • Polyester – Many of the most vibrantly colored carpets are made of polyester. It is resistant to stains and fading, but it is susceptible to crushing. It is not as durable as nylon, but it offers a much larger spectrum of colors and textures.
  • Polypropylene – More commonly known as olefin, this is relatively inexpensive, and it is also stain-resistant. It is solution-dyed, making it more resistant to sunlight fading and bleaches. It is also resistant to mildew, moisture, water damage, static, shedding, and pilling, but it is very susceptible to crushing.
  • Wool – It is safe to say that wool is the Rolls Royce of the carpet industry. It is durable, and offers high level of resilience, but it is very expensive. It is also susceptible to mold and mildew growth, so it should not be installed in basements.
  • Triextra – This relatively new fiber is softer than nylon and polyester. Triexta is an eco-friendly option, as it is made primarily from corn glucose, a renewable resource. It is stain-resistant and a preferred choice for high traffic areas because it holds up very well.

Carpet Types

  • Texture (Cut Pile) – A smooth surface, and ideal for high traffic areas.
  • Twist (Freeze) – This provides a casual, stylish and modern look. It is durable and often used in bedrooms, media rooms, and sitting rooms.
  • Loop (Berber) – Active families tend to favor the high level of durability provided by Berber carpet. It is perfect for basements and exercise rooms.
  • Pattern (Sculpted/Cut & Loop) – Unique patterns offer a distinctive look. These carpets bring elegance to dining rooms and formal rooms.

Pick the Perfect Padding for Your New Carpet

Many people decide to choose a cheaper padding, so they can afford a nicer carpet. This is a huge mistake. The padding is the foundation of your carpet. The carpet relies on it for strength, support, and cushioning.

Carpet padding conceals imperfections in the subfloor. It also provides a bit of insulation, which you will appreciate during the cold winter months.

There are a variety of paddings to choose from and not all are suitable for every type of carpet. For example, the very popular Scotchguard brand inhibits bacteria, mildew, and mold, but it is not recommended for pattern or loop carpet. Teflon does not allow stains to soak in so they are easier to clean, and StepAhead is made from recycled Nike shoes. There are many other padding options to choose from, as well. Carefully picking your carpet is important, but the same thought process needs to go into the padding, as well.