Customers often ask us, “What’s the best carpet to buy?”
As carpet cleaners, we get to see a lot of carpet. Old carpet, new carpet, cheap, expensive… Made of different materials, styles, and colors. We get to see what holds up well and what doesn’t.
But as of this month, I’m in the market to buy carpet for myself. So now the question is personal: “What is the best carpet for me to buy?”
The easiest place to start getting some ideas — in a setting where you won’t get pressure — is the local big box store: Home Depot and Lowes. And you can get a general idea by looking online. I picked Home Depot, as it is closer to my home.
Online, you’re first presented with: CHOOSE THE CARPET STYLE TYPE THAT FITS YOUR DECOR. They aren’t talking about color just yet. This is what the carpet will look like. Here are their 4 classes, and my personal takes on all:
1) Loop/Berber. (Just so you know, “Loop” is not a technical term. You will sound smarter if you say “Berber.”). I love a nice berber. Wall-to-wall wool carpet is Berber. But Berbers that aren’t wool still give me that feel. I find that berber wears better and looks better and stays cleaner. However, if you have pets in your home, you will not want to get berber. Sorry. Because it is looped fibers, animals’ claws will get caught in it and snag.
2) Pattern. Wow, that’s pretty general. But it’s referring to textural changes in the fiber type that make the designs. A popular one is smaller square boxes, where the square is raised (cut pile carpet) and the inside is small-looped berber. Some have lines, floral impressions, and other designs depending what is in style. But if you have animals, make sure to inspect the pattern sample well to see if it has the Berber style in it. I think patterns look nice… But a few times I have seen some with disappointing results when installed. It had to do with the nap of the carpet and the color looking very different in sections because of the different directions of how the nap lays. And since patterned carpet is not very “tall”, changing the nap direction is not possible like it is with a cut pile. You can’t just brush or vacuum it over to change the direction. I really didn’t like how it looked in one customer’s house – it was a beautiful light color and pattern- but that made me realize the risk of that happening for me wasn’t worth the money. Again, my personal opinion.
3) Texture. I have no idea what they mean by “texture.” I am assuming they mean “cut pile,” aka standard carpet. Or traditional carpet. Where the carpet fibers are cut (opposed to Berber, which is looped) and stand strait up. It can be short or very tall. This is where your luxurious and plush carpets are.
4) Twist/frieze. (Also, just so you know, no one in the carpet industry calls it “twist.”). This is frieze, which we here in the Pittsburgh (at least) pronounce as “free-zay” not “freeze”. But if you are referring to the architecture term it’s “freeze.” I will never, ever buy this carpet. I describe the carpet this way: Imagine thousands of small thin worms standing straight up, then they suddenly die and fall over. This is frieze. Traffic lanes can become nightmares to clean, and sometimes the carpet is permanently ruined within a short time. I will devote a later post to this topic, as far as why.
So as far as carpet style, I have picked Berber. The color will be a very light neutral. Probably something called Angel Wing, Antique Lace, or the like.
Oh, and earlier I talked about shopping in a big box store is nice because you won’t get pressure. I was in the carpet department for over 30 minutes looking at everything. It was the middle of the day. There were no other customers in the area. And I wasn’t approached once, or even acknowledged by an employee. I didn’t mind because this was a “research mission.” But this can be one of the draw backs to shopping for carpet in big box stores.
For Buying New Carpet, part 2, we will discuss carpet fiber. Should you go with polyester, Triexta, nylon, olefin, or wool?