Choosing a carpet style for your home is an exciting yet somewhat daunting task. After all, when you think about the seemingly endless array of colors, styles and materials that are available on the market, it can be easy to feel a little overwhelmed. Below are some important points to remember to help you make the best choice possible. 

Know Your Carpet Types

Perhaps the best place to start is to recognize that all carpeting will fall into one of two categories: Cut pile and loop pile. So what’s the difference between the two? Let’s find out:

  • Cut pile refers to carpet fibers that have been sheared, which means that the individual ends of those fibers are exposed. Keep in mind that carpeting is manufactured by weaving strands of yarn into some type of backing material (typically woven polypropylene), creating thousands of loops. When these loops are sheared, it creates what’s known as “cut pile” carpeting. Cut pile is also referred to as “plush” carpeting.
  • Loop pile, on the other hand, refers to carpet fibers that haven’t been cut, but instead are left in a looped shape (hence the name) so that the ends of each individual fiber are connected to the backing of the carpet.

For the most part, the carpeting you choose will be either cut pile or loop pile, but there are some variations to be aware of. For example, patterned loop carpet employs loops of varying heights, resulting in a patterned appearance. Another popular choice is cut and loop carpet, which features both cut and looped fibers to create interesting visual and textural patterns.

Cut Pile Carpet: Benefits and Drawbacks

Cut pile is by far the most popular type of carpet in use today, and it’s a perennial favorite of builders and contractors. It offers a flat, smooth appearance with a dense composition and cushiony feel. It’s also easy to maintain, because its open-ended fibers are less prone to trapping dust and other unwanted particles. In addition, cut pile is a favorite of pet owners, as there are no loops that can snag little paws or claws. The main drawbacks of cut pile carpet are that it is much more subject to fraying over time, and it can reveal impressions and footprints more readily.

Loop Pile Carpet: Benefits and Drawbacks

Loop pile carpet is known for its remarkable durability, especially when the loops are very tight (e.g., Berber carpet). Tight loops are much more resistant to impressions, matting and crushing, making loop pile carpet a great choice for family rooms, staircases and other high-traffic areas. The main drawback to loop pile carpet is that you have to be very careful when vacuuming or moving furniture to avoid accidentally pulling a loop out. If left unaddressed, this could eventually create unsightly runs in your carpet.

Choosing a Carpet Style

Within each of these two categories (cut pile and loop pile), there are hundreds of different styles to choose from. Along with solid colors, you should also consider patterns and prints as an option, as they have become more popular in recent years due to their versatility. For example, large-scale geometric prints are being utilized in spaces that tend to lack a substantial focal point, while textural stripes are a great choice for adding an understated element of contrast to a space.

When considering which type or style of carpet you want to install, you will need to answer a few important questions before you settle on a final decision:

  • What will the room be used for?
  • Is the foot traffic usually light or heavy in the room?
  • Will the carpet be in a room that is directly accessed from the outside?
  • Do you have pets?
  • Does the room receive frequent direct sunlight?

As you can see, there are quite a few factors to consider when choosing the right carpet style for your home. This is where McSwain Carpets & Floors can help! Our knowledgeable team of flooring experts have done it all – from hardwood flooring installations in Cincinnati to carpet in Dayton – and they can provide you with professional advice and insight to help you make a well-informed decision. Call us or visit one of our showrooms today to get your carpet installation started off on the right foot.