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Different Types of Carpet

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Here are a few of the different types of carpet available, along with some of the advantages and disadvantages of each. Fiber-type will not be discussed here, except to say that nylon is usually more durable than others, with the possible exception of wool; but wool can be expensive and trickier to care for properly.

Cut Pile

This is one of the most popular carpets, in part because it feels good on the feet. This is simply carpet that has had the loops cut, leaving the ends of the fibers standing. In order for this kind of carpeting to be durable, it should have good "twist" in the fiber, and it should also be high-density, meaning the tufts are packed together tightly. There are several sub-types of cut pile.

A "frieze" carpet has very twisted fibers, giving it a surface texture that minimizes footprints and marks from your vacuum cleaner. It creates a casual look, make it a decent choice for family rooms or children's bedrooms.

A "saxony" has less twist in the fiber, making it look more level and smooth. Considered an informal look like a frieze, it is good for heavily trafficked areas.

"Plush" carpet is also called "velvet cut pile," and it looks and feels very smooth. It is a popular choice for a formal living room. It will show foot prints and other marks, but these can be "erased" with frequent vacuuming.

Cut and Loop

A cut and loop pile is often used to create sculpted carpets. The loops are cut in patterns to create a decorative appearance.

Level Loop

Berber carpet is perhaps the most well-known of the level loop piles (although it is sometimes fashioned as a multi-level loop as well). With the loops uncut and the level surface, this is a durable form of carpeting. It's one of the more popular types of carpet at the moment, and is commonly used for living rooms, home offices and finished basements.

Multi-Level Loop

This type is just what it sounds like. Multi-level loop pile simply has different loop heights to create a decorative and casual look. The less the loop height varies, the more durable the carpet is likely to be.

Shag Carpeting

This was one of the more popular types of carpeting in the 1970s, and it's still around (but less popular). Generally it is called a shag if the pile is more than an inch in height. It can look good for a while, and feel good on the feet, or for lounging on in front of the television. They have several problems though, starting with the fact that they are more difficult to thoroughly clean because of the depth of the pile. That depth also makes it hard to find small objects dropped in them. Finally, because of the length, the fibers will often end up laying down, and so you step on the sides, which cause them to wear out quickly. As a result, shag carpet usually doesn't look good for very long.

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