Carpets come in so many endless options, it’s good to do some preparation before you go shopping. You can start out by determining the answers to these questions, which will help narrow down the best carpet selection for you.
Things to decide on before you start browsing carpet
When do you need it?
The location of the mill, whether the carpet is in-stock or if it’s a special order can mean a big difference in the date that you can expect your order to be fulfilled.
How long do you need it to last?
Different fibers perform differently over time. Is this a short-term investment where a polyester fiber would be just fine? Or do you want something longer lasting, like Nylon?
What is your total budget?
When comparing carpet prices, keep in mind that your budget needs to cover not only the actual carpet but also the pad, installation, freight and tax.
How Carpet is Made
To understand the difference between Carpet styles and textures, you need to understand how it’s made. There are three basic steps, but the order they go in depends on the specifications of the final product.
Application of Dye
Some Carpet fibers are “Solution-Dyed” prior to being woven into carpet. New Braunfels Flooring recommends Solution-Dyed carpet because it outperforms carpet that is dyed with a spray after being woven. It’s resistant to bleach, so a simple bleach-water solution can remove stains without compromising the color consistency of the carpet. Just mix one part chlorine bleach to five parts water.
Tufting & Cutting
Fibers are woven into the carpet backing creating thousands of loops. The main purpose of the backing is to provide a base for the yarn. A Tufting Machine is like a gigantic sewing machine with needles that loop the yarn into place. This creates a level loop pile carpet.
At this point, some carpets may then be precisely cut to create a specific pattern. This is called cut loop carpet. Or, all the loops may be cut to create a cut pile carpet. (also known as plush, frieze or texture carpet.) Between these three varieties of carpet construction, there are endless design options, some of which are further detailed in the Carpet Glossary below.
Finishing & Inspection
Carpet is finished with the application of any treatments such-as stain resistant finishes which are most effective when they’re integrated into the manufacturing process. Carpet is also sheared to remove loose strands. After a final inspection for quality, they are rolled into 150 square yard rolls and stored on racks until a customer places an order. At that time, they are removed from the rack, cut-to-order and shipped. If this extra step of cutting is not required, the cost is reduced. We pass that cost reduction onto our customers, which is why the price drops when the order exceeds a certain quantity. We are either using up a “roll balance,” the remaining carpet on a roll that has already been cut or ordering the whole roll.
Finishing & Inspection
Cut Pile: Usually a high-twist yarn, all the loops are cut evenly.
Cut and Loop: Once the carpet is woven into loops, a machine then goes back and cuts certain portions to create a pattern. This is a good option for someone that likes the Loop Carpet look (like “Berber”) but has a pet that might snag the carpet. Because of the cuts, a snag will not cause a run in the carpet.
Fiber: is the most important carpet quality to compare. It refers to the actual material that the carpet is made out of. Fibers are spun together and attached to the backing.
Level Loop Pile: Continuous uncut loops of fiber creating an elegant look that’s resistant to crushing. Sometimes larger loops can snag and run. This style is sometimes referred to as “Berber.”
Pattern Loop Pile: A spin-off of Berber, loops are woven at various lengths to create a pattern.
Pile: refers to length or height of the fibers or yarn.
Density: determines how well the carpet will resist matting. It’s the measurement of how closely packed together each tuft is. The higher the density, the stronger the carpet.
Weight: is the total number of ounces in one square yard. It’s a good indication of the level of quality of the carpet. (There’s Face weight referring to the amount of fiber on the surface of the carpet, and total weight including the backing and any netting. When comparing carpets by weight, make sure you are looking only at the face weight of each one.)
Texture: refers to the carpet style and whether it’s looped, twisted, cut or a combination. This can contribute to determining the durability of a carpet, but these terms are mostly used to differentiate styles.
Twist: refers to the number of twists per linear inch. Frieze is a type of twist carpet characterized by tightly twisted tufts. They have more twists per inch than plush or textured carpet. (6-8) Each tuft is twirled in all different directions, so footprints aren’t as visible. Plush and Textured Plush are twist carpets that have fewer twists per inch. (3-5)
PAR rating: is a (somewhat) standardized rating scale that was created by Shaw Industries to measure Performance, Appearance and Retention based on a typical 1-4 Family Home.
*The PAR rating system can be confusing to Consumers. So if you want to get technical and compare carpets you’re considering, you may like visiting Alan Fletcher, “The Carpet Professor’s” Website for more information on everything carpet. He offers a free Carpet Foot Traffic Test that can help you understand what grade of carpet you should select.Plush: A smooth, even twist carpet. Tufts are cut to the same height. Vacuum marks and footprints are more visible with plush carpet, but multi-tone versions help minimize that.
Saxony: A higher pile cut carpet appropriate for more formal areas with less traffic.
Texture: Ideal for high-traffic areas, all the loops are cut but to different lengths making it a softer alternative to loop pile carpets while still concealing footprints.