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Carpet Styles Comparison

Different Carpet Cuts and Textures Create a Personalized Underfoot Experience

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Some people like carpet so thick and plush that it leaves footprints behind, while others prefer a stiffer, trackless carpet. Depending on where you intend to install carpeting, some types make more sense than others. Read on to find out more about the distinguishing characteristics of basic carpet styles.

Carpet Construction

Most carpets are either loop pile or cut pile, but some are a combination of cut and loop.

Loop Pile Carpet

Loop pile carpeting, commonly referred to as Berber, has yarns that are attached on two ends to the backing, creating a "loop" at the top of the strand. Homeowners who want carpeting that holds up better under traffic tend to choose loop pile, which, before gaining popularity in residential construction, was generally used for commercial applications.

Several different types and colors of carpet laid on top of each other.

Although an intact loop is what distinguishes loop pile carpet, there are three different loop patterns. Level loop has loops that are all the same height, providing a more or less smooth, even surface. Level loop carpet doesn't offer much in the way of texture, but this means that it hides foot traffic and vacuum tracks and is durable. Textured loop carpet, on the other hand, with loops of different heights, provides a more patterned look, but is still durable and hides marks well. For an even more distinguished pattern, there's multilevel loop carpet, which has more height variation between loops than textured loop, giving it a richer, more pronounced pattern.

Cut Pile Carpet

Almost all carpet begins as loop carpeting. Cut pile carpeting simply has the loops trimmed. The most popular type of residential carpeting, cut pile doesn't hide foot traffic or vacuum tracks the way that loop pile does. In fact, you may notice that when you walk on or drag something over cut pile carpet, it appears to change color. But if you want to install carpet primarily for comfort, cut pile is the way to go. Compare the following types to help you decide which one is best for your home.

Plush: Plush carpeting, aka velvet carpeting, with a surface of homogenous piles that form a smooth, velvety appearance, is the prototypical cut pile. The elegant appearance of plush makes it a good choice for bedrooms and formal living rooms, but it tends to show marks.

Saxony: Thick and comfortable, with a distinct, tufted appearance, Saxony carpet is one of the most popular cut pile varieties. While it doesn't wear particularly well, it holds up better under traffic than plush carpet.

Frieze: If you're looking for the comfort of cut pile carpeting but want something that shows fewer marks, Frieze carpeting, made from twisted yarns arranged unevenly over the backing, is a good compromise. It's casual look and durability makes Frieze appropriate for high-traffic areas.

Textured: Sometimes confused with Frieze, textured carpet also has twisted yarns, but they aren't as pronounced, and generally, aren't as good at hiding wear. Nevertheless, the two-tone appearance of textured carpeting makes it far more forgiving than plush.

Carpet Costs

  • The cost of carpeting varies widely, especially when different styles are taken into account. Most homeowners spend between $1,000 and $5,000 to install new carpeting, or $250-$1,250 per room.
  • It's possible to buy carpet and padding that costs $2 or less per square foot installed, but better-quality materials costs $2.50 to $5.00 installed, and top-quality products may cost as much as $5 to $10 per square foot installed.
  • If calculated separately, installation costs should be around $1 to $2 per square foot, while padding might run you anywhere from $.50 to $2.00 per square foot.

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