Types of Carpet
Finding the right type of carpet is an important aspect in finishing your home. Carpet makes a room cozy and comfortable, and even subtle carpeting helps create a room's personality. Different types of carpet will serve different needs. This guide dives into all the factors you should consider when choosing carpet to fit your home.
Before deciding between different types of carpet, consider the room you plan on carpeting. The room’s purpose should guide your decision-making process, so think about how much traffic the room will get, who will be using the room and how they will be using it, as well as how you envision the room contributing to the overall look of your home.
For example, the best carpet for a family room may not be the best carpet for a home office or the best carpet for basements and so on. A family room will typically get much more daily traffic than a home office, so you may want to choose a more durable option for the former than you might for the latter. A home office may also be where you choose to use a statement carpet color or pattern, while your family room may be better suited for a neutral carpet, as family room decor changes more often, especially for holiday seasons.
The size of the room is another important factor. Not all carpet styles will be economical choices for large rooms. Use our Fflooring estimator tool to determine the amount and relative cost of carpet you will need.
Tip: The best carpet for stairs will be a carpet that resists snagging, abrasions and dirt. Since stairs are more difficult to clean, the best carpet for stairs should also deter pet hair, so consider low pile carpet options.
When determining the quality and durability of carpet, start by finding out its pile height and face weight.
Pile height is the height of the carpet fibers, excluding the backing. Carpet will typically be classified as low pile carpet, medium pile carpet or high pile carpet.
Low pile carpet has short fibers that look and feel flat and dense. This type of carpet is easy to clean and durable; it doesn’t catch much dirt or debris, and it can stand up to a lot of foot traffic without losing its initial appearance. Low pile carpet is the best carpet for high traffic areas and rooms where dirt, pet hair or other messes are a concern.
Medium pile carpet offers a balance of ease and comfort. With fibers taller than those of low pile carpet, medium pile carpet is softer to the touch but still manages to hold up to moderate foot traffic and dirt, making it a popular choice for living rooms and bedrooms where you may want more comfort underfoot. Although more prone to catching pet hair and debris, this type of carpet can still be easily cleaned with a vacuum with a brush roller.
High pile carpet has long fibers that create a plush and fluffy look and feel. High pile carpets add extra cushion underfoot but also more readily collect dust and debris, making it require more frequent maintenance. Additionally, high pile carpets are more prone to being crushed and holding impressions from furniture and foot traffic. This pile height is a good choice for areas where you want to add a touch of warmth and luxury or where you want to dampen noise.
Face weight is a measure of how much yarn makes up the carpet pile. A higher face weight means more yarn and thus a denser, longer-lasting carpet. Face weight also tends to correlate with price, so carpet with a high face weight is usually more expensive than carpet with a low face weight. You can think of carpet face weight in the same terms as thread count for bedding—the higher, the better.
Most carpet fibers are made of synthetic materials or blends of synthetic and natural materials, since synthetic materials are designed to resist stains, static electricity, fading and moisture. Of course, each type of carpet fiber has various pros and cons, even among synthetic options. There are five primary types of carpet fibers:
Nylon is the most popular carpet fiber, thanks to its strength and durability. It resists fading, mildew, staining and crushing.
Triexta has a similar appearance to nylon fibers but is significantly softer. It is naturally hydrophobic, so it repels stains and moisture damage well.
Polyester fibers, like triexta fibers, are hydrophobic and resist stains. Polyester also offers vibrant color options. However, polyester fibers can fade in the sun and are generally known to be less durable than nylon fibers.
Wool, a traditional and natural fiber, has a soft and luxurious feel. Wool is a strong material that can hold up to heavy foot-traffic and compaction from furniture, but it needs to be cleaned and maintained properly. Many stains as well as the chemicals in stain removers can damage wool carpet.
Olefin is another durable and colorfast fiber option that is suitable for high traffic areas. Olefin carpet tends to be less expensive than the previous four fibers.
Tip: Nylon carpet tends to be the most popular for homes with pets thanks to its durability, stain resistance and affordability.
Indoor carpet has three main types of carpet constructions from which to choose based on your needs and style.
Texture carpet or twist carpet is the most popular indoor carpet style. It uses two-toned yarn and has a tightly twisted construction that resists absorbing dirt. Soft to the touch and subdued in appearance, texture carpet is a popular choice for family rooms and bedrooms.
Berber carpet or loop carpet is a dense construction that holds up well in heavily trafficked areas. The yarn is uncut and looped, which makes it highly stain resistant and one of the best carpets for stairs, hallways and basements. Note that pet claws can snag on this type of carpet.
Pattern carpet is a combination of texture and berber constructions. Since the looped yarn is slightly shorter than the cut yarn, this type of carpet appears to have its pattern cut into the surface. Many people prefer to use pattern carpet in family rooms, bedrooms and offices due to its sophisticated appearance.
Tip: Even outdoor carpet can be used indoors in the right situations. For example, artificial turf can be a good option for pet-exclusive areas.
Once you have determined the type and construction of your carpet, you can choose the underlying carpet pad.
Carpet padding is the cushioning layer underneath the carpet that not only makes walking on the carpet more comfortable, but also insulates the room, dampens noise and extends the life of the carpet. Many carpet pads also have a spill-safe moisture barrier. Thicker carpet pads are more comfortable and durable, but you may want thinner carpet padding in commercial settings or for those who need steadier footing. Thick carpet padding may not be ideal for all styles of carpet. For example, thick carpet pads have too much give for thin carpet styles like berber and can damage the carpet in the long term. Always check the carpet manufacturer’s recommendations for the thickness of carpet padding.
Tip: If you are installing carpet tiles, there is no need for a carpet pad. The padding is already incorporated into the carpet tile.
You have a multitude of options when shopping for carpet, allowing you to find exactly what you need for your home. Let The Home Depot help you narrow down your choices by visiting a store near you to view different types of carpet samples, schedule a professional room measurement or request our warranty-backed carpet installation services. Estimate how much carpet you'll need with our online carpet project calculator.