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Carpet Buying Guide

There are few things better than the feeling of soft touch carpet under your feet, but that’s not all that needs to be considered when it comes to choosing the perfect carpet for you.


It needs to be safe for children- if you have a family, the carpet has to be easy to clean, provide warmth and most importantly, be comfortable. Add to this the amount of designs, materials and colours available and there’s little wonder why people spend so longer debating just which carpet is right for them.  


However, we’re coming to your aid. This guide has been created to assist you with selecting the right carpet for your flooring needs, as well as providing some essential tips that shouldn’t be forgotten when making this important choice.


Pick The Right Padding


Although it may be appealing to go for a cheaper carpet padding to save money, don’t give in to temptation. Just as a building needs a proper foundation, a carpet heavily relies on padding for strength, support and cushioning throughout its lifetime.


It isn’t something you can easily see, but the damage that’ll occur if you choose poor quality padding material will soon become apparent.


Normally made from foam or rubber, carpet padding can cover any floor imperfections that may be distracting. It also acts as an insulation, helping you to control the temperature of your room. It can even block out sound, which can provide your home with more privacy and muffle any noises from your neighbours.


However, the most important point is the support that padding provides. It stops carpet backing and fibres from tearing apart, ensuring that you don’t need to replace the flooring as often.


As a rule of thumb, areas that have high traffic rates need a firm yet dense pad. Guest bedrooms and other locations that see less traffic don’t need as much protection.


Look At Different Carpet Styles


As previously stated, carpets come in a number of styles - such as Berber, Saxony, frieze and textured. These terms relate to the surface materials, which can be cut in a variety of different ways. Each type has its own distinct style, but that shouldn’t be your main priority. Focus on how your lifestyle will fit with the carpet you’re considering, not the other way around.


For example, plush is created from tight and twisted piles, and is soft. It also easily shows vaccuum tracks and something called pooling. This is when the carpet can appear to have a water spill, even if it has been cleared up correctly.


In contrast, berber carpets are made from continuous fibre loops that are flat and dense. This ensures it’s incredibly durable, and won’t show soil, stains and tracks. It’s easy to see which is better for high traffic areas, and you also know which one will be best for you and your family too.


Spend a bit of time understanding carpet types and which are best suited to the area you are installing it in. That way, you can be sure you’ll get the most out of your choice in terms of comfort and longevity.


Know The Maintenance Requirements


The best way to be satisfied with a new carpet is to pick one that’s easy to maintain. If there are pets and young children in the household, a shag carpet is tough to clean so should be avoided. Instead, opt for stain resistant carpets that can easily cope with accidental spills.


When actually purchasing a carpet, ask the salesperson about the maintenance and cleaning requirements. In some cases, you may need special cleaning equipment, so it’s worth factoring this into your decision making.


Be Careful With Stairs


It can’t be stressed enough how important it is that you get the choice of carpet on your stairs right.


This area of the household will see a lot of ware, and each section needs to be bent over the edge of each step. A cut pile carpet is a great choice for a staircase, as the spaces between loops will open up as the carpet curls.


Another factor to consider is the density. If you go for a carpet which isn’t particularly thick, it’s possible the backing will be in lumps over each step. However, there’s a simple way to test the density of a carpet. Stick your fingers deep into a carpet sample, and if you easily separate the Fibres and feel the backing, it isn’t the best choice for your stairs.


Another popular stair carpet choice is a woven wool carpet. They are incredibly durable, and the woven backing keeps each piece of yarn in place. Wool carpets may be more expensive, but they’re worth it in the long run.


Carpet Fibre Types


The fibre used within a carpet’s yarn has a large effect on its appearance and performance. This section will cover all the fibre types normally used.




Over two thirds of carpet fibres are made of nylon. This is because they are resistant to soil, wear and mildew. They also have the advantage of dealing with the continuous weight of furniture well, and can even cope in high traffic areas.




Otherwise known as polypropylene, olefin can be found in around 30% of carpets. Originally, it started as an outdoor carpet fibre due to the way it can resist moisture. Later advances in this carpet type show an improvement in the look and the feel however, making it more appropriate for the home. It’s easy to clean, is strong, and cam resist wear, stains and static electricity.




If you’re looking for a luxurious pile type that’s thick and soft, look no further than polyester. There are a selection of colours to choose from, and they are good at resisting wear. Unfortunately, however, when compared to nylon and olefin it isn’t as durable.




A fairly new subclass of polyester is triexta. It’s permanently stain resistant, incredibly durable and is also friendly underfoot. This material has been created using renewable resources, making it a greener choice when compared to other synthetic fibre types.




It’s rare to find a carpet that is made completely of acrylic, yet as this type of fibre is blended with others, they mimic the look and feel of natural wool. This helps to create a carpet with the feel and look of natural wool, but without the high cost. It is also resistant to mildew, fading and moisture.




One of the most luxurious fibres available on the market today is natural wool. Not only is it soft, but it also offers durability and comes in a variety of colours.  Furthermore, for those wanting to be environmentally conscious, wool is one of the best choices. It’s a sustainable resource, but is often accompanied by a high price tag.


Carpet Loops And Cuts


One of the basic qualities of a carpet is its construction, and there are a variety of different factors take into consideration when making a purchase.


Cut Pile


A cut pile carpet has loops trimmed off, allowing the yarn to poke upwards. This creates a luxurious look and feel, which is probably why it’s so popular. Textured plushes have a slightly taller pile and aren’t as dense.


Another popular cut pile carpet type is velvet. It is smooth, uniform and level, but when it is walked on, footprints are more likely to be seen.




Loop carpets exist thanks to tufting, which leaves yarn loops that stand straight. Loops generally wear better than a cut pile carpet due to the way the yarn tips aren’t exposed. However, in this case, the side is likely to wear out instead.


To create a smooth surface, it’s possible to get a low level loop. In the case that a person wants to create an impressive pattern, there’s also a multi level loop option.


Most high level loops have what can be described as a nubby texture and have coined the name Berber, in reference to rubs created by tribes in Africa.


Cut And Looped


It’s possible to combine both cut loop pile and tip sheared to create a unique look. The new material has cut ends that are much taller than loops, making it easy to showcase a variety of styles. It is also still possible to create a conventional style, instead of having bold patterns and colours.




For a number of people, rugs are a more appealing choice than a full carpet. As a matter of fact, this type of flooring has become popular in various homes for a variety of reasons.


Hardwood and vinyl flooring have become incredibly popular over recent years. They look good and they’re also easy to maintain, but they can also get cold during winter months. Furthermore they can be unsafe for households with young children. A well placed wool rug can provide instant warmth on crisp days, and are safer to fall on than their wooden cousins.


One of the main reasons people choose rugs over carpets is because of their versatile nature. They are available in a variety of styles, colours, and shapes allowing you to match it to furniture and the overall layout of a room with great ease. For those that like to redecorate on a regular basis, rugs are also much easier to move, and are more cost effective than replacing an entire carpet.


Rugs have also become a necessity for people that live in areas that face flooding on a regular basis. If a flood warning comes in, they simply take their rugs to a higher place where they won’t be damaged. Waterproof flooring can be laid down, making maintenance that bit easier in these circumstances.


A Cut Above, For All Your Carpet Needs

A Cut Above are experts when it comes to carpets, and we are able to cope with any type of job no matter how big or small. If you have any questions about carpet maintenance, or if you’re interested in a new purchase, simply get in touch today and we’ll help you find the best carpet for your home.