The Homeowners Guide to Different Types of Carpet
Carpet is known for its wide variety of styles and pricing options. When choosing a new carpet for your home, you will likely be thinking about things like color, style, durability, fiber patterns and pricing. We’re breaking down the top considerations and carpet styles to help you choose the right type for your home.
What To Consider When Choosing Carpet for Your Home
Face weight is the weight of the carpet’s fibers per square yard and does not include the weight of the backing material. Generally, a heavier face weight will have more resistance to flattening due to foot traffic or furniture and will have a higher price tag to match. However, it’s important to note that heavier carpet doesn’t always equal higher quality flooring! A carpet with a heavier face weight is more durable, but fiber types and other materials also play a role in carpet durability.
Carpets with a heavier face weight, usually around 40 ounces to 60 ounces, are recommended for high-traffic areas such as the front entrance, hallways and living rooms. Carpet flooring with a lighter face weight, around 30 ounces, is better suited for rooms with less traffic such as bedrooms and home offices.
Pile height is the height or length of the visible fibers of a carpet pile and can be broken down into three distinct categories:
Low Pile Carpet: under ¼ inch
Low pile carpet has short fibers that look flat and feel dense underfoot. It doesn’t hold onto dirt with its short fibers and is very durable. Low pile carpet is best for high-traffic areas in the home and rooms where dirt or pet hair are a concern.
Medium Pile Carpet: ¼ inch to ½ inch
A medium pile carpet has longer fibers, making it softer to the touch with the added advantage of being able to take on moderate foot traffic. Although it’s more prone to catching pet hair and debris, it can be easily cleaned with a vacuum, making it a popular choice for living rooms and bedrooms.
High Pile Carpet: ½ inch to ¾ inch
Plush and fluffy to the touch, high pile carpets can add a level of luxury to your home. This pile height is good for areas where you want to add a touch of warmth or where you want to lower noise levels. As the thickest pile style, high pile carpet collects more dirt and debris.
Stain resistance is a necessary consideration for any carpet buyer, but especially those with pets or children. While most carpet fibers are treated with stain-resistant chemicals to keep them from absorbing liquid spills, some carpets are more stain-resistant than others. For example, wool, nylon and polyester are more stain-resistant than the fibers used in an acrylic carpet. These types of carpets are highly recommended for spill-prone areas such as the living room, dining room and children’s bedrooms.
Choosing the Right Padding for Your Carpet
Carpet padding, also known as carpet underlay, is the material used beneath the carpet that serves as a foundation. Not only does padding make the carpet more comfortable underfoot, but it also insulates the room, dampens noise and extends the carpet lifespan. Carpet padding is made from one or a combination of three basic materials: rubber, foam or fiber. The type of carpet padding you will need depends on your budget, the room and foot traffic considerations.
|Foot Traffic||Price Tag||Recommended Areas||Notable Characteristics|
Rebonded Carpet Padding
|Low to medium traffic||$||Living room, Bedroom, Home Office||Extremely durable and can outlast the carpet itself|
|Frothed Foam||Medium traffic||$$$||Living Room, Bedroom, Den||Extremely durable and can last up to 2 carpet installations|
|Memory Foam||Low traffic||$$$||Bedrooms & Dining Room||Most comfortable pad on the market|
|Fiber Pad||High traffic||$||Entrance, Hallway, Stairs||Not the most comfortable or durable|
|Rubber Pad||High traffic||$$$||
Entrance, Hallway, Stairs
|A great choice for people with allergies|
In addition to pile height, the type of fiber used in your carpeting will impact its appearance and feel. These are the four most common types of carpet fibers:
Made from a synthetic material, acrylic carpets are factory-made and are a good option if you want the look of a wool carpet but without the high price tag. It’s also hypoallergenic, so it won’t cause any issues with allergies. One downside to acrylic carpet is its short life span — it will wear down quicker than most other carpets.
Long considered as one of the most durable synthetic carpets available, nylon is great for traffic-heavy areas in the home. It has strong fibers that readily retain their shape, allowing the carpet to maintain its original appearance for longer. A key advantage of nylon is its wide range of entry price points.
Olefin is a synthetic carpet fiber that’s made from melted plastic materials and is known for its resistance to moisture and mold. It’s often installed in areas with a high potential for water damage. Olefin is an inexpensive carpet that’s extremely resistant to staining. You can even bleach this carpet without changing its color.
Wool is a higher-end carpet fiber that offers all the bells and whistles. If well maintained, it can stand up to decades of wear while retaining its original color. Wool fibers are naturally coiled, giving the carpet a built-in resilience that synthetic fibers lose over time. It’s a naturally safe flooring with high resistance to flames.
The Top Most Popular Carpet Types for Homes
Carpet flooring comes in three basic types of pile: cut pile, loop pile and a cut and loop pile combination. You can significantly narrow down your options by focusing your search on one type of carpet pile based on the pros and cons of each.
Cut Pile Carpets
Cut pile carpet is a sheared carpet with exposed fiber ends and is often made out of polyester and wool. It’s the most popular style of carpet and is known to be softer underfoot compared to alternate pile types. Cut pile works well as a whole-house type of carpet as it contains a twist in the fibers that keeps it from matting and crushing.
You can choose from a variety of different types of cut pile carpet, each of which varies in texture and twist in the fibers. The most popular cut pile carpet styles are frieze and saxony, which are also the most traditional cut pile carpets.
Known for its long fibers with a high twist, frieze is the most popular carpet in today’s market.
It has a knobby appearance, making frieze a more modern version of the shag carpet from the ’60s and ’70s. It has a dense texture — perfect for areas that see heavy foot traffic. Frieze is a great carpet for family rooms, hallways and other areas of the house that get a lot of use.
- Hides dirt and seams
- Soft and comfortable underfoot
- Very durable
- Difficult to clean
- Higher price point
- Vulnerable to changing style trends
Saxony is the most traditional cut pile carpet, with twisted fibers that stand straight up and are cut into even lengths. Best suited for living rooms, saxony carpet feels soft and plush underfoot and can add a level of elegance and sophistication to a room. High-quality saxony is made out of 100% nylon with a pile that is often half an inch or less.
- Timeless style
- Soft and plush
- Pairs well with traditional interiors
- Shows vacuum marks and footprints
- Designed to blend into the background
- Requires frequent vacuuming
Loop Pile Carpets
Loop pile carpet fibers are left uncut, creating a looped effect. Often made from nylon, wool or olefin, loop pile carpet comes in many different weights and thicknesses. This type of pile is extremely durable and can withstand heavy foot traffic, making it the ideal choice for hallways and stairs.
The most popular loop pile carpet styles are sisal and Berber, which are known for their versatility and spill resistance.
Thanks to its earthy and rustic texture, sisal remains a longtime favorite flooring option amongst interior designers. As a versatile and hard-wearing carpet, sisal is ideal for living rooms, hallways and stairs. It has stronger fibers than even more fibrous materials like jute, making it one of the most durable carpet flooring options available.
- Durable and affordable
- Acts as a natural dehumidifier
- Prone to staining and cannot be wet shampooed or steam cleaned
- Feels rough underfoot
- Comes in limited neutral colors
Originally woven by hand by the Berber tribe in northern Africa thousands of years ago, Berber carpet continues to be a popular style today due to its classic appearance and long-lasting construction. It can handle heavy foot traffic with ease, making it the perfect carpet for hallways, living rooms and stairs. The looped fibers of Berber also provide excellent traction for a great anti-slip flooring option.
- Handles heavy foot traffic well
- Tricky to install and repair
- May snag or unravel
- Not recommended for pets or small children
Cut and Loop Pile Combination Carpets
Cut and loop pile combination carpets combine — you guessed it — both cut and looped yarn. The combination of the two different carpet piles allows for unique and abstract geometric designs that can add visual interest to your home. Cut and loop pile combination carpet is best for areas in the home that see light traffic throughout the day, such as bedrooms and studies. This carpet combination comes in both level cut and loop pile as well as textured cut and loop pile options.
- Wide range of patterns and textures
- Feels soft underfoot
- Handles medium foot traffic well
- Difficult to clean
- Vulnerable to changing style trends
- Not recommended for pets or small children
Still waiting for inspiration to strike? Check out our flooring gallery of stylish and timeless flooring designs.
Which Type of Carpet Fits Your Lifestyle?
Carpet is one of the most affordable ways to add a personal touch to your home. With a wide selection of styling and design options that can deliver on performance based on your needs and lifestyle, what’s not to love about carpet? Check out our curated range of carpet options and feel free to contact one of our experts to help you make the best choice for your home.
Want to see how a particular carpet looks in your home? Use our Visualizer tool to explore different carpet options and discover what would look best in your space.