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Carpet Buying Advice

Many homeowners choose carpet because it is warm and soft under foot. When you select a carpet you generally buy it with the expectations that your new carpet will look just like the sample in the store for many years. To help meet you expectations it is best to first have some general knowledge about the different characteristics of carpet before choosing the carpet for your room.

Below are a few things to help you understand why certain carpets perform better than others.

TwistYARN TWIST - When it comes to carpet "tighter is better". In general terms, the tighter the twist the longer the carpet will perform before it begins to crush and matt. By taking lots of fine fiber strands (called filaments) and spinning them into a tightly twisted yarn and then locking them all together with heat you get a much more resilient yarn for making carpet.

NapSHORTER NAP - The height of the carpet's nap is also important to the overall performance of the carpet. The higher the yarn stands above the backing of the carpet the more difficult it is for the manufacturer to make the carpet crush and matt resistant. So the shorter the pile height the more crush resistant and the longer the like-new appearance of your carpet will last.

StitchesSTITCHES PER INCH - Like most fabric materials, carpet that has more yarn (or stitches) per inch will also be more crush and matt resistant. Some carpets are so dense that it is nearly impossible to push your fingers in between the yarns. Obviously, the carpets where the yarns are so crowded and packed together will have a easier time resisting crushing.

CushionCARPET CUSHION - A good quality carpet cushion will extend the life of any carpet, regardless of the quality of the carpet. Carpet cushion serves a vital purpose which is often over looked. Good quality carpet cushion acts as both a shock absorber and a spring which helps improve a carpet's overall performance. Review the carpet manufacturer's cushion recommendations prior to purchasing a carpet.

Families with pets or worried about spills should look for carpet cushions that are made specially to block spills from penetrating the cushion and are odor-resistant. As examples, Mohawk offers carpet cushions with Odor Eaters™ and Invista's STAINMASTER™ carpet cushion features the DuPont™ Hytrel® breathable moisture barrier to keep spills from soaking into the cushion.

CushionCONTINUOUS FILAMENT NYLON (CFN) - If you see on the back of a carpet sample a label that says "CFN", or "BCF", that means this carpet is made from continuous filament nylon. Continuous filament nylon starts out as one long continuous strand before made into yarn. The other type is called staple nylon, which means each fine filament starts out as a short strand about 7 inches long before it is spun into yarn and then tufted into carpet. As the short, unsecured pieces of staple nylon come loose from the yarn pile you get pilling on the surface of the carpet. This does not happen with a continuous nylon carpet.

Looped carpetsLOOPED CARPETS - From level loops to berbers there is an important factor to look for when buying a crush resistant looped carpet. This is the density of the loop and how much free space is underneath the loop. Like all carpets the more filaments that are packed into the yarn and the tighter the loops the better the performance will be.

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