How do I choose carpet?

When choosing a new carpet, consider the type of carpet pile, the carpet's durability, and price of the carpet. And don't forget the ever-essential carpet padding.
So what happened? Did you move a piece of furniture and realize that your carpet is actually white, not cappuccino? Did you saunter barefoot down the hall, thinking what a relief it would be to walk on some concrete? Did you move into a pre-owned home that screams "Fido and Boots lived here" right when you walk through the front door?

Either way, one thing is unmistakable-it's time for new carpet. But where do you start and how do you choose the carpeting that's right for you? Although matching the color to your curtains is an important detail, there are several other things to take into consideration.

Do you want nice-looking carpet or durable carpet? How about both?

Yes, you want carpet that looks nice. But to keep it looking nice, you need to first think about durability. Is it going in a high-traffic area, or is it going in that "don't even think about setting foot in there" formal living room? Are you trying to make your den more snuggly or your home office more professional? Depending on its main function, different carpet fibers are intended for different types of wear and tear. Nylon carpets are more wear-resistant and durable to take on herds of kids, while polyester carpets are known for their ability to resist those oops-spots like grape juice (or red wine, the other grape juice). More common in commercial uses, olefin carpets can take a foot-traffic beating and are easily cleaned. But if it's purely yum that you seek, acrylic and wool carpets are like dessert for your feet.

Determine the carpet pile that's best for you.

Loop piles are looped yarns that can be even in length or various lengths to provide more of a patterned look (good for style, bad for snagging pet claws). For less formal looks, a cut pile is plush and smooth, or a cut-and-loop pile adds more texture and personality to your carpet. And if it's a more carefree, funk-a-licious style you prefer, definitely go with a frieze pile. Whatever style you choose, just make sure it won't become some "That 70's Show" shag carpet topic for outdated fashion discussions.

Don't forget carpet padding; it's more important than you think.

It's a good thing you can't see carpet padding once it's installed because, quite honestly, it's hideously unstylish. However, it serves far more important purposes than looks. First of all, it's essential to your carpet's durability. The firmer your carpet pad, the more it absorbs the abuse of feet. Another vital purpose is its ability to resist moisture. This is high on the list for more humid climates or carpeting that's closer to moisture exposure like basement foundations. Lastly, but likely most importantly, carpet padding provides comfort-that ooh-la-la, foot-hugging goodness that only new carpet can give.

Shop around for the best deals on carpet.

Once you feel comfortable enough to make a carpet selection, shop around, as carpet prices can vary greatly. Depending on its purpose and how long you'll be using it, you definitely want to get the best quality carpet for the price you can afford. Even if it's just going down before you put a home up for sale, a smart carpet choice is a must. Some carpeting even comes with a warranty that transfers to the new owners. And when it finally comes time to pick carpet colors, don't forget to bring several samples home from the carpet shop. Kind of like an online dating site, it may seem like it's going to be perfect, until you take it to dinner.

And to find the best carpet stores and carpet installers in your area, search today!

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