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Expert Advice

Learn how to distinguish between carpets, and which carpet is the right flooring choice for your home and lifestyle.

Learn about our Points of Difference Guarantee, because your satisfaction with your carpet selection is guaranteed. We provide a 30-day replacement guarantee if you are not completely happy with your flooring, we'll replace it - no questions asked. You simply pay the reinstallation charges.

Use this guide then visit our store to consult with our experts first hand.

Choosing Carpet

There are a number of reasons why carpet is a great choice for many of the rooms in your home.

  • Carpet offers a variety of colors, patterns and styles to satisfy any personal style and match any decor.
  • Carpet's cushioned surface absorbs sound and is less noisy to walk on than hard surface flooring.
  • Affordability, carpet is one of the most economical flooring products to have installed.
  • The insulating properties of carpet provide additional warmth underfoot during cold seasons.
  • Carpet is a non-slip surface that is safe underfoot and provides a cushion to prevent breakage when delicate items are accidentally dropped.
  • Most synthetic carpets are treated with static, stain and soil resistant treatments, making them easy to clean and maintain.

Select the Right Fiber for You

To pick the right fiber, consider how you live in each room. There are basically four types of fiber:

Nylon
Nylon is the most durable and stain resistant carpet fiber available. It is the fiber of choice for homes with pets and children and for those who entertain a lot. Perfect for heavy traffic in hallways and stairs.
Polyester
Polyester is known for its luxurious look, feel and wonderful selection of colors and styles. It's a good value for homes with a normal amount of traffic.
Olefin
Olefin offers good stain and moisture resistance, but scores below nylon and polyester for wearability. It can be a good choice in loop pile construction although its colors and styles are limited.
Wool
Favored for its natural beauty. It has natural soil resistance quality, but is not inherently stain resistant. Wool looks good for a long time and is well constructed.

Carpet Construction

Over 90% of residential carpet is manufactured as tufted carpet. A tufting machine works like an oversized sewing machine with hundreds of needles that insert loops of fiber (tufts or stitches) into the carpet's backing to form the face pile of the carpet.

How long your carpet will last depends on how well it is made. Quality construction will affect the durability, appearance and price of the carpet and is most influenced by the twist of the fibers and the density of the tufts.

Twist

Twist refers to how tightly the fiber (carpet yarn) has been twisted. This is especially important in cut pile carpet because the tips are exposed and can become untwisted, giving the carpet a matted and worn appearance. The tighter the yarn is twisted, the better the carpet will stand up to crushing and matting.

Frieze carpet has the highest twist level at about 7-9 twists per inch (TPI), whereas most cut pile carpet styles have between 3-6 twists per inch.

Density

Density refers to both the amount, and how tightly packed together the fibers are within the carpet. The closer together the fibers are placed, the denser the carpet will be, and the better it will wear and perform.

Ways to check for carpet density include trying to reach the carpet backing by pressing your fingers on the carpet fibers. The more difficult it is to reach the backing, the denser the carpet.

Or with outward facing tufts, bend the carpet into a U-shape and look at how much of the carpet backing is visible. The less backing that shows, the denser the carpet.

Choose the Level of Stain Resistance

Again, consider how you live in each room. If you have kids, pets, and high traffic areas or entertain a lot, you will want to choose a carpet with stain resistance. But that won't limit your choice of carpet styles and colors.

Select the color

Think of your floor as the fifth wall that connects all other design elements in the room. Consider the walls, window treatments and other furnishings when choosing a color scheme. Bring fabric and color samples when you visit our store, where our flooring experts will assist you.

All these elements make a difference in how your floor will look. Don't forget to check out Installation to learn all about the little details that make a big difference when transitioning from old floors to new.

Carpet Styles

Cut pile
Cut pile consists of yarns that are cut at the ends. The soft feel of cut pile carpet makes it a perfect choice for the most comfortable areas of your home - bedrooms, living rooms and family rooms.
There are five basic styles of cut pile carpet: Velvet, Saxony, Frieze, Shag, and Cable, each provides a different look and texture. The primary difference among these styles is the amount of twist in the yarns that will ultimately influence the carpet's durability.
Loop pile
Loop pile has yarns that are looped and uncut on the carpet surface. The pile height can vary from low, tightly constructed to a more luxurious high-level pile.
Loop pile carpet has excellent durability, strength and soil hiding capabilities. This style is ideal for heavy traffic areas. Berber is a popular style of loop pile carpet that can be constructed as a level-loop or multi-loop carpet.
Cut and loop pile
As the name suggests, this carpet has some cut piles and some that are not in order to create a different surface look and texture.
Cut and loop carpets offer good performance but are slightly less durable than loop carpets.

Installation

Avoid any bumps in the road to your home design project. Use our installation guide for great tips on the transition of your old floors to the new.

Installation Matters

Our trained professionals bring craftsmanship and precision to your carpet installation. Delivering beautiful results from matching patterns and seams to a tidy clean-up, our installers pay attention to detail and respect to your home.

Learn about our Points of Difference Guarantee, because your satisfaction with your carpet selection is guaranteed. We provide a 30-day replacement guarantee if you are not completely happy with your flooring, we'll replace it - no questions asked. You simply pay the reinstallation charges.

Things to Do Before Installation

We want you to have a clear understanding of the services we provide as well as to be aware of items you will need to handle prior to the installer arriving at your home. After your purchase, items crucial to the smooth installation of your new flooring will be detailed by your sales professional in a pre-installation check list and may include some of the following:

  • Verification of the installation date.
  • Ensuring the removal of all "breakables" from the room.
  • Determining who will remove furniture, appliances and the sub-floor, if needed.
  • Arranging for the disconnection of gas appliances and icemakers.
  • Determining if any change to the height of the floor require adjustments to doors in order for them to close properly.
  • Ensuring the removal of items in storage areas and closets where the floor is to be resurfaced.
  • Make certain drapes, wall hangings and pictures are removed from walls.
  • Verify that your in-home temperature is appropriate for installation.

Installation

Your local Flooring America store offers expert installation for all of the flooring products we carry. You can trust our installers to create a great-looking floor for your home. Whether it's a solid-color carpet or a detailed, custom tile design, our licensed and insured professionals will get the job done accurately and beautifully.

We are so confident that you will be more than satisfied with our professional installation that we will be happy to correct any installation-related problems for free during the intended life of your floor.

Get started today and bring your colors, swatches, photos and ideas into your local Flooring America retailer. Find the store nearest you.

Finding the Right Carpet Style

Saxony. Plush. Frieze. Berber. Loop. No, they are not the names of the members of the hottest new rock band, or the candidates in the last school board election. They are styles of carpeting available on the market today, and with a basic understanding of their similarities and differences, you will be able to select the type that is best for your home.

Most carpeting today is "tufted," as opposed to woven. In the manufacturing process, large machines with hundreds of needles sew and knot the yarn fibers into a synthetic backing. The majority of carpets sold today are made from nylon fibers twisted into yarn, and then tufted into the carpet, but other fibers, particularly wool, are also used.

Carpeting is divided into two general categories: cut pile, and uncut pile. The names are self explanatory; in cut pile carpeting, the loops of yarn created in the manufacturing process are cut, leaving individual yarn tufts. Cut pile carpeting has remained a popular choice for decades, and its durability is influenced by the type of fiber used in the carpet, the density of the tufts, and the amount of twist in the yarn. Uncut pile, or loop pile, is finished without the yarns being cut. The surface and texture of uncut pile determines the regularity or irregularity of the loops, their height, and the texture of the yarn.

Cut pile carpets include Saxony, which has a smooth, soft surface. It is versatile in performance and appearance, and is particularly favored in traditional or formal rooms. Its first cousin, Plush, has a sheared surface, creating an even more opulent, elegant surface. It is used in very formal rooms, and lacks some of the durability and versatility of Saxony. Both Saxonies and Plush tend to show footprints and vacuum sweeper marks, and may take on a slightly different color when the fibers are brushed in one direction or another.

Frieze carpets are also cut pile carpets, but the irregularities in the yarns and their extreme twists create a knobby, textured surface. It is particularly popular in active rooms because of its durability and because it hides traffic patterns well.

Loop or uncut pile carpets are exactly as their name suggests – made from yarns that are looped into the backing. Level loop carpets are found primarily in commercial settings, although the popular Berber carpets used in many residential settings are usually level loop carpets. Level loop carpets have a relatively smooth, consistent surface, and its lightly textured appearance comes from coloration and the play of light on the pile.

Textured loop or multi-loop piles have slight variations in the height, creating either a pronounced textured finish, or a pattern (these carpets are sometimes called patterned loop). These carpets have a more casual appearance, are very durable, and help hide traffic patterns.

The blending of cut and uncut loop carpets results in what is called sculptured carpets. These carpets are very distinctive in appearance, giving a variety of surface finishes, and are excellent at disguising foot traffic and wear.

All have their advantages, and each has distinct characteristics that set it apart from the others. What makes one carpet superior to another is how right it is for you and your decorating plan. By understanding the differences in various carpet types, you can select that style that is best for you – and that is always the best carpet!

The Advantages of Wall to Wall Carpeting

There may be nothing that defines a room and says "done with taste" better than beautiful wall to wall carpeting. No one can dispute its visual appeal, or its usefulness in creating a unified, inviting setting. Because floor covering is considered one of the foundations of decorating, carpeting is an integral consideration in creating inviting, livable spaces.

From the standpoint of pure visual appeal, few home design elements can compete with carpeting. It can be soft and neutral creating a casual, understated presence or it can be lively and strong, becoming its own focal point in the room. By blending with the wall colors, an expanse of carpeting can make a small room seem larger. Inversely, by choosing a dark color or large pattern, carpeting can make a large, sterile room seem inviting and cozy. It blends beautifully with all decorating styles, and can make a strong visual statement on its own, or emphasize other features in the room's design scheme. Perhaps no other floor covering choice gives a room the feel of comfort, taste and quality that carpeting does, and the incredible range of colors, fibers, textures and patterns available in carpeting provide today's consumer with an almost limitless palette from which to choose the perfect floor covering for any room.

But the benefits of carpeting do not end with its beauty. The appeal of carpeting is not just in appearance; it provides measurable advantages to a home as insulation, as a safety feature, and in reducing noise. And, most carpets are easy to maintain.

Wall to wall carpeting can be an important component of a home's energy plan. The carpet fibers, and the spaces between them, hold warmth and insulate against extreme heat or cold. During colder times of the year, carpeting retains warm air longer, and in warmer climates, it insulates against intense heat, creating a direct impact on a household's energy bills. Carpets and carpet cushions with significant insulation value may be so identified by their manufacturer and comparative "R-values" can be examined to determine the carpet's relative insulation performance. A carpet's R-value is the measure of its resistance to heat flow. A higher number equals better insulation.

Furthermore, carpeting provides effective sound insulation. The soft fibers that create the carpet's texture absorb sounds, minimizing noise "bleed" between rooms or floors of a home. The noise levels in a home -- the whirr of kitchen appliances, the thump of teenager's stereo, the blare of a commercial on television, and the regular foot traffic in rooms above -- are significantly reduced by the introduction of carpeting.

Additionally, carpeting is also easy to clean and maintain. Regular vacuuming will help it retain its life and beauty for years, and annual professional steam cleanings will also prolong its life. Maintenance of carpeting does not require any extraordinary equipment or expertise, and the many advances in carpet manufacturing have given the market many "stain resistant" options that make cleaning carpeting even easier.

The fact that carpeting is more comfortable to stand, sit or walk on goes without saying, but this same element is an important safety feature, especially for children and seniors. Its consistent, textured surface greatly reduces the chances for slips and falls, and the cushioning of wall to wall carpeting reduces impact when a fall occurs. Persons who need assistance with walking, or use a cane, walker or wheelchair, find that low pile carpet provides a much easier surface to navigate than hard finish flooring.

It's easy to see why carpeting is such a popular choice for floor covering in today's world. In addition to its beauty, versatility, and easy maintenance, it provides some very real advantages to the health, safety and comfort of everyone in the family.

Do-It-Yourself Versus Professional Carpet Installation

If you thought that installation of carpeting was an impossible process that only trained professionals can execute, think again. Many homeowners are finding that with a little preparation and a little practice, they can successfully install their own carpeting.

The pros and cons of do-it-yourself carpet installation are generally controlled by the interest and experience of the home handyman or woman. Obviously, self installation is less expensive than installation by carpet professionals, and it also provides the luxury of doing the job at your own pace. However, some special tools may be needed, and some of the work may require an additional pair of hands. Also, do-it-yourself installation assumes the responsibility for any mistakes. Problems caused by a wrong measurement or incorrect sub floor preparation will not be corrected by a carpet retailer, and you may void all or part of your carpet's warranty. By reviewing some fundamentals of carpet installation, you can determine if you are up to the challenge of installing your new carpet.

There are two basic methods of carpet installation -- the stretch-in method and the glue-down method. The first decision to make is which is appropriate for the setting in which the carpeting will be installed.

The stretch-in method, where carpet is fitted to the room and attached to tack strips, may provide greater cushion and spring, higher insulation and noise reduction (especially when installed with an appropriate carpet cushion) and is appropriate for rooms with floors that are unsuitable for glue-down. Matching is easy with stretch in installation, so it is often recommended for patterned carpets, and removal of the carpet is easier than the glue down method. The stretch method is common in most residential settings, and may be required with many of the carpets designed for the home.

Stretch-in installation should be avoided where the carpet may experience heavy movement of furniture or fixtures, such as in an office. It also should not be used on ramps or inclines; where there is excessive humidity; or where the carpet selected has a special backing designed only for glue-down installation.

The glue-down method is suitable for most areas, including ramps and heavy traffic areas. Seams are durable (but more difficult to repair than with the stretch-in method) and there are no restrictions on the size of the area to be carpeted. Special borders or custom design features can be executed with glue-down installation, and the glue down method is usually less expensive.

Whether you are doing the installation yourself, or having professionals install your new carpeting, there are a few additional items that you should consider.

  • The sub floor should be clean, devoid of any cracks, holes or ridges, and at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit to assure proper stretch and wear of your carpet.
  • Placing seams where natural light is strongest will help hide them, as will placing them under large pieces of furniture. Avoid seams where there is regular traffic, and do not place them over pad seams.
  • The area where the carpet is being installed should be open and well ventilated. Thoroughly vacuum your old carpet before removing it, to eliminate dust.
  • Even solid color carpeting has a "pattern." The pile, or tufts, in your new carpet have a direction, and you must be careful that all adjacent carpet is laid in the same direction.

If you opt for professional installation, your carpeting retailer may have its own installation staff, or can offer suggestions on reputable carpet installers. Installation by the retailer may be a little more expensive, but you will have recourse to the retailer as well as the installer should you be dissatisfied with any part of the job. Also, professional installation may be a condition of your carpet's warranty.

Private contractors may offer a lower rate for installation than your retailer, but your options may be more limited should you encounter a problem. If you work with an independent installer, make sure to ask for references, and ask if the installer adheres to the Standard for Installation of Residential Carpet CRI 105. Among other things, this requires that the carpet must be power stretched to minimize wrinkling and rippling, and seams must be sealed with appropriate adhesive to prevent edge ravel.

If you think you are ready to attempt your own carpet installation, seek assistance from your carpeting retailer, or study one of the many publications that will walk you, step-by-step, through the process. Whether you choose professional installation or the do-it-yourself method, knowing the fundamentals of carpet installation will assure that you are ready for your new carpeting, that it is installed correctly, and that you can expect it will provide you years of use and pleasure.