how to choose carpet

How to Choose the Perfect Carpet for Your Home

The Ideal Item to Finish Off Any Room

Just like another other investment, buying a new carpet requires a little research and forethought before making the big purchase. Carpeting can get expensive if you plan on installing it in more than one area of your home or if the room you want to carpet is quite large or has features to work around, like stairs or a fireplace. Let's take a look at how to choose carpet.


Your main point of focus will be the carpet material. Carpets can be made out of countless different synthetic fibers that vary in quality, durability and cost.

  • Nylon: Nylon is one of the premier material fibers for carpeting. Nylon is among the most durable as well as the easiest to maintain. Nylon carpeting lasts for a decade—or longer—depending on foot traffic and how well it's cared for. Nylon ranges in quality. 6.6 nylon is the strongest and softest type of nylon (and the most expensive).
  • Polyester: Polyester carpeting is soft to the touch and elegant on the eyes. It’s stain-resistant and comes in a slew of colors and patterns. However, the downside of polyester carpeting is that it tends to shed and does not quite match the durability of nylon. Use polyester carpets in low-traffic areas like a formal dining room or bedroom.
  • Triexta: A newer fiber that excels in stain resistance and matches the durability of nylon. Triexta is the best choice for high-traffic areas or homes with kids and pets.
  • Olefin: This fiber is one of the more cost-effective options that still performs well at hiding dirt and resisting stains and is a solid choice for areas that see a good amount of activity but wouldn’t be exposed to hard foot traffic such as a family room or a play area.


Carpets can have different weaves. Weaving styles can produce different textures, levels of durability, patterns and densities.

  • Berber/Loop: This weave is comprised of big, uncut loops of wool, nylon or olefin fibers. Berber/loop weaves make denser carpets than other weave types, giving you a more durable and stain-resistant option.
  • Shag: Shag weaves are made from a short, twisted pile with fibers naturally springing off in different directions. A shag—or frieze—weave is good for high-traffic rooms because the carpet can hide footprints and marks.
  • Textured: Textured carpet construction gives you a very soft feel due to its tight-twist construction. Many family rooms sport a textured carpet construction because of its soil resistance.
  • Pattern: Pattern construction combines cut and loop pile, giving it a look as if the pattern has been cut into the carpet itself. Pattern construction allows for plenty of textures, patterns and colors.
  • Plush: Plush carpeting gives a room a smooth, incredibly soft finish that works best for formal spaces. The packed yarn allows for its elegant feel, and while plush carpeting is one of the most comfortable constructions, it does show footprints, seams and carpet marks.

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Carpeting has several aspects you should be on the lookout for when determining the overall quality and durability. Choosing the right carpet means understanding these terms so you can determine how long the carpet will last you in your desired space as well as how the carpet will look and feel.

  • Density: A measurement of how closely the fibers are compacted together. A higher density translates to higher carpet durability.
  • Face Weight: A phrase used to describe the amount of fiber on the carpet’s surface. A higher face weight will mean increased comfort and durability.
  • PAR Rating: A 1-5 scale that rates the performance and the carpet’s ability to retain its appearance. The higher the number, the better the carpet is at retaining its appearance.
  • Pile: This term refers to the height of the carpet fiber.
    Texture: The style in which the carpet fibers are constructed—either looped, twisted or cut. The type of texture will determine how the carpet looks, feels and its overall durability.
  • Twist: Twisting is the number of times the carpet fibers are turned during construction. A higher twist count can mean the carpet is stronger and able to resist high levels of foot traffic.

Carpet Padding

Part of your carpet purchase will include the padding. Your carpet provider will present you with a few choices of padding, but you should know a bit about padding to avoid making a wrong purchase that can compromise your new carpet investment.

  • Thickness: Carpet padding is all about thickness. A good-quality carpet pad will be 3/8-1/2 of an inch thick. Some carpet providers will require you to purchase a specific pad to keep the warranty. Be sure to check the warranty before making any purchases.
  • Density: Carpet padding will have density measurements. Low-density pads won’t last for more than a few years, so you’ll need to at least purchase padding that has at least 6 pounds of density. It’s recommended for areas that see a lot of foot traffic to have a thinner pad with denser padding of 8 pounds or more.

Choosing the Right Carpet

There’s a whole language that accompanies shopping for the right carpet. A reputable carpet provider (like Empire Today) will walk you through the different terms, types, weaves and styles of the carpet but it’s always better to read up on this terminology prior. Without getting too technical, consider these guidelines to help you pick out the right carpet for your space:

  • Foot Traffic: The biggest factor to consider will ultimately be durability. Where will you install your new carpet? Family rooms, hallways and foyers that see heavy foot traffic should have durable carpeting to withstand abuse.
  • Feel: Different rooms call for different carpet feels. For a bedroom or formal living room, you might want a plusher carpet that’s softer to the touch. A family room may need a more textured feel to hide dirt and carpet marks.
  • Price: Your budget may determine what type of material you choose for your carpet whether you opt for a cost-effective nylon or an expensive plush carpet. However, keep in mind that you can “cheap out” when it comes to carpeting. Splurge when it comes to durability and padding, but save by choosing the right carpet provider, like a family-owned business with less overhead.

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