Durability. It’s a word we frequently hear from homeowners searching for carpet. After all, you don’t want buyers’ remorse from the moment you lay your new carpet into place. And if you use the wrong carpet, it will show up almost instantly.
If you lay carpet in a guest room used infrequently, it might last for years, looking almost as good as the day you installed it. For other rooms, it depends on how much foot traffic it sees in a day. If you want the best carpet for high-traffic areas, how do you ensure you’re buying the right carpet?
Certain areas naturally see more foot traffic. Living rooms, hallways, and stairs all receive vast amounts of traffic on a daily basis. If you don’t want to replace your carpet regularly, it’s best to find carpet that holds its shape over time. It typically depends on:
- Fiber type
- Stain resistance
What is the best carpet for high-traffic areas? Here are things to look for.
When it comes time to select a new carpet, most people run their fingers through it to feel its softness. They settle in on the right color to match the decor inside their homes.
While that’s an excellent place to start, it also benefits you to pay attention to the carpet fibers used. When carpets are made, they are constructed from thousands of fibers attached to a sturdy backing material. These fibers are stitched into closed loops, also known as loop carpet, or can be cut to create a plusher texture. Loop carpet will retain the loops, creating a dense material. Cut pile will be closer together and have a luxurious feel when touched.
Low pile loop carpets are smooth and firm, which makes them more durable. High pile cut fibers will be taller, and have a looser look with a softer feel.
How it’s cut and woven together is the starting point for durability. But it also is determined by the fiber material. There are four basic fibers to choose from:
While other fibers exist, these tend to be the broadest categories of residential carpeting available to homeowners.
Nylon fiber – is one of the most popular carpet materials used because of its functionality. When properly treated, it’s durable, stain resistant, and comes in an almost infinite range of colors and patterns. It keeps its shape well over time, and is well protected from spills, pet stains, and other household messes.
Olefin fiber – olefin is used for both indoor and outdoor carpet options, made of a synthetic material that delivers both longevity and durability. It’s designed to be stain-resistant and moisture-resistant. It’s reasonably durable, and falls in second place on the list for use in high-traffic situations.
Polyester fiber – like olefin, polyester is a reasonably well-functioning carpet that handles well in many rooms in the home. It’s designed to balance cost-efficiency with performance. While it may perform better in medium traffic situations, a lot depends on the level of traffic throughout your home. It can be a perfect choice for empty nesters who don’t spend a lot of time at home.
Wool fiber – wool is ever-popular because it offers homeowners a durable, natural alternative. You’ll find it used in every room in the home, including living rooms and stairs. It’s a traditional favorite because it’s been used for thousands of years. It also has natural warmth factors that help warm a chilly home in the dead of winter.
The main threat to a carpet’s lifespan is caused by wear by heavy foot traffic. The more foot traffic, the more potential for damage.
- Spills from kids dropping food or juice
- Stains from red wine or other challenging liquids
- Crushed fibers from repeated wear
- Wear marks from natural patterns of the home
- Pet stains
Any one of these can be a big problem for new carpet. Add several of them together, and you have the potential to shorten the lifespan of your carpet.
Durability is typically divided into two categories:
- Stain resistance
Stain resistance refers to the ability of the fibers to resist permanent staining from dropped food or drink, or ground in dirt. This is most often determined by the type of fiber it’s made from.
Out of all the fiber types, treated nylon and polyester tend to have the most stain resistance qualities. Polyester offers a natural stain-resistant repelling quality that prevents spills from seeping below its surface. Nylon is inherently stain-resistant, but most manufacturers also take the time to add stain-resistance qualities to prevent spills and stains. Many come with stain-resistant protection, such as Stainmaster, so ask about what features are most important to you before you finalize your purchase.
Resilience is the ability of the fibers to resist crushing as they are walked on. It’s the likelihood of the fibers bouncing back after every footstep.
This is where style comes back into play. Loop pile tends to be more durable because the loops hold their shape better than cut fiber. They usually form a shorter pile, which stands up better to foot traffic.
Resilience also depends on density and face weight. While less obvious than fiber and style, they are both equally important when it comes to durability.
Density is determined by how close the fibers are tufted together. Face weight is determined by the weight of the fibers within one square yard.
In most circumstances, the higher the face weight and the higher the density, the more resilient the carpet will be. You’ll find many high-quality nylon carpets treated with stain-resistant protectors take it further and also have high-density and face weight values too.
For a further breakdown of what makes the best carpet in high-traffic situations, stopping by and seeing samples can help you narrow down what’s available, and what makes the best choice for your home.
It’s time to choose – what’s the best carpet for you?
Carpet is always best chosen according to your personality, your desires, and the room you’re buying for.
Most homeowners instinctively know that a white carpet in a high-traffic room is a set-up for disaster. But choosing a neutral color between nylon and olefin fibers, for example, might be a tougher decision.
That’s where we can help you finalize your decision. Stop by today and see our complete selection of carpet. We’ll help you narrow down your choices, and make the best decision for your lifestyle and situation.
How can we help you find the best carpet to suit your needs?
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