Carpet from Carpet Giant in Houston, TX

Carpet 101: Which is better, this or that?

One of the biggest types of carpet questions we hear is “Which is a better (fill in the blanks) for flooring?”

Is a high or low pile better?

It's not a question of which is better, but of “Which carpet pile do I need for my installation needs?” Here is the main difference: Low pile carpets, such as the Berber, have a short, tightly woven loop which makes it easier to clean. This is why you often see them in commercial installations, such as offices or restaurants and hotels. A high pile, such as the shag and frieze rugs, have long, loose fibers that are more suited to low traffic areas, such as the bedroom.

Some rugs, such as the iconic Saxony, fall somewhere in the middle. It is available, however, in two versions where each might be more suited to certain installations than others. Saxony Plush has a luxurious, velvety feel and, while it’s great for formal rooms, but does tend to show footprints. Saxony Textured doesn’t show tracks at all. The best bet? Talk to your carpet retailer.

Which determines quality:

Density or weight?

Density refers to how closely the fibers are tufted together. You can check this yourself by bending back a sample card and looking at the amount of white space.

The weight does not determine quality, but you still need to pay attention. A too-thick carpet might be harmful to some installations, such as stairs where it must wrap securely around railings and risers to provide a solid foundation for the foot.

Should I choose natural or synthetic fibers?

It depends on personal preference and budget. Wool is pricey, but natural and has excellent stain resistance because of the natural oils. Nylon and polyester both resist stains; nylon, however, needs stain protectant, while polyester has a low absorption rate, giving inherent resistance, but polyester is considered less resilient than nylon.

Triexta is strong and has a permanent stain guard built into the fibers while olefin, has good stain resistance, but does not repel soil, although that can be easily remedied by vacuuming. It is most often associated with the Berber style.

For more information, visit the Carpet Giant showroom in Houston, TX., serving Houston, Sugar Land, Katy, The Woodlands and Clear Lake.