The appeal of carpet as a flooring is timeless. Providing cushion and warmth to the feet, reduces slipping and skidding, and comes with a range of colors, designs, and textures, it is a practical flooring type both indoors and outdoor living space extensions like patios and balconies.
Part of making the right carpet choice is to be aware of the different types of carpets first and foremost. As such, here are the major types of carpets that you should know of.
In this article:
- 19+ Different Types Of Carpets, Styles, And Pile Options (Buying Guide)
- A. Loop pile
- Cut pile
- Combination cut and loop pile
- Carpet fibers
- Quality indicators for carpets
- How to decide which rooms are best suited to carpet
- Carpet prices
- Where to buy online carpet?
- Carpet installation
- Factors to consider when buying a new carpet
- What is the most popular style of carpet?
- Should carpet be lighter or darker than walls?
- What color carpet hides dirt best?
- What is the best time to buy carpet?
- What kind of carpet is best for a hotel?
- What carpets can be dyed?
- Can carpets be painted?
- In what rooms is carpeting a poor choice?
- Can carpeting be patched?
- How often should carpets be cleaned?
- Can you put carpeting over tile?
- Can used carpeting be sold?
- Can used carpeting be recycled?
- Can you immediately put furniture over the newly carpeted area?
- What temperature should the carpet be installed?
19+ Different Types Of Carpets, Styles, And Pile Options (Buying Guide)
Basically, there are two types of carpets categorized in terms of how their backing is attached to the carpet itself: the loop pile and cut pile.
In this list, we do not only narrow down the major types of loop and cut piles but shall also look into cut and loop combo and the most popular natural fibers used as carpet material.
A. Loop pile
As the name suggests, loop pile carpets have fibers or yarns that are uncut and looped on the backing or around the carpet’s surface. The pile height for loop piles varies but they are known for their durability, suitability for high traffic areas and their high stain hiding capability.
This is the most popular loop pile carpet because of its long-lasting nature and its neutral and modern flair. The yarn loops of this carpet are low-pile (lower than the other three) and are knotted tighter.
The yarns used in this carpet are also denser so it has a higher resistance to stain and shall look new for a long period of time.
Berbers often come in speckled brown, beige and gray. The speckled look gives it a unique and modern look. They are placed mainly along hallways, stairways, basements and bedrooms.
2. Level loop
Made up of a series of looped yarns cut precisely in the same length, this loop pile carpet is cushiony and has a very uniform look.
The loops are also very small giving it more durable wear and resistance to sharp objects. The loop style also gives it a solid and tighter look.
Not showing vacuum marks and footprints, it is cushioned enough to be placed in kids’ bedrooms and playrooms, offering a soft landing for active toddlers.
3. Multi-level loop
Compared to level loop, this has more imprecise yarn cuts giving it a more uneven, and more spaced look.
It also goes by the name of high-low loop pile because some surfaces are higher piled while others are lower. As such, they have a more irregular texture but, on the upside, can create unique carpet patterns.
The irregularity of the loops makes it good for medium-traffic areas and would require a stronger vacuum for them not to be knotted. Keeping them in a vertical position is also a maintenance trick for this type of loop pile carpet.
This one is a highly textured loop pile knotted in parallel rows, giving it a unique striped pattern. The height, texture, and patterns of sisal vary. Geometric patterns can easily be incorporated in the weave to give it a more spruced look.
Speaking of weaves, the hard-weaving in sisal makes it very durable and gives it a lot of stain resistance. Nonetheless, it is not that neutral looking compared to Berber so it is not that famous.
Compared to loop pile carpets, this has a more formal, more luxurious and softer look. It is made by looping yarns and then cutting each strand at their highest points. As such, the strands of these carpets are all standing upright.
This cut pile has an even, textured look as the yarns are cut into precise, even lengths. The texture is densely arranged and has a plush effect.
Often associated with plush piles, this one is slightly twisted and has longer threads. On the downside, this shows stains and also marks easily.
Formal and cozy looking, it is one of the most expensive carpets out there.
This one is a twisty cut pile. The yarns are cut in different lengths and then heated with a special treatment which knots them in twisty spirals.
They are then pressed so that the knots remain twisted. The irregular surface of this carpet is beneficial in hiding mud, stains, and smears. And even if some parts of the surface are crushed due to high foot traffic, you would not notice them.
This type of cut pile is very fuzzy looking thanks to the combo knots of short and tall, thin and thick yarns.
The strands are knotted in different directions and can even be twisted. It is often mistaken for shag piles but frieze has longer strands. If you want a more playful and informal look, this is the carpet to choose.
Darker colored frieze has a high stain resistance capacity and does not mark easily. It is perfect for high traffic areas too.
This cut pile is popular for its soft surface, stylishness, and unlimited designs. From florals to geometric patterns, images can easily be incorporated with its cut and loop pile knotting technique.
Most people would say that patterned carpets are more decorative than functional but it is not often the truth.
On the functional side, the patterns in these carpets give a room an illusion of space. Also, it does not easily show vacuum marks, footprints, and stains. It is very cut out for high-traffic areas.
9. Plush pile
Also called as velour carpet, plush piles are very soft to the touch. Its strands are smaller compared to the ones in this category, and they are cut in even lengths.
The threads may be slightly twisted but the very dense packing of this carpet gives it an overall cushioned and padded feel.
This one is not recommended for high-traffic areas because it does not conceal marks, stains, and unevenness. It shows tear and wear more easily compared to level loop and patterned carpets.
10. Cut pile twist
This one comes with a luxe feel that is soft on the feet with a random textured finish. As the name implies, it is a high pile with slightly twisted strands lying in different directions.
It is durable in wear and tear and is perfect for high traffic areas and it conceals footprints, tracking, and other marks.
Combination cut and loop pile
As the name already suggests, this one is the combo of cut pile and loop pile carpets. Thus, it adds a lot of visual impact to a room because they come in different textures, heights, and also incorporate a lot of geometric patterns to their look.
11. Level cut and loop pile
This one has a very soft finish and smooth surface thanks to the strands that are cut and looped in precise, similar lengths and patterns.
The result would be a dense, yet also plush carpet pile with lots of distinct patterns. With its symmetry and patterns, it is perfect in giving your room an illusion of space.
12. Textured cut and loop pile
This one is the modern version of the 80s sculpted pile. Like it, this carpet is knotted in different directions and are aligned in uneven tones featuring high and low piles in one carpet, and strands that are packed densely, hence, the textured look.
The patterns often come in plaid, diamond, and other geometric patterns with bolder colors, fitting for a modern room.
13. Sculpted pile
This is the cut and loop pile of the 70s and 80s. The carved or sculpted look of this carpet features random loops and squiggly lines resonating a marbly vibe. It is also very dramatic, incorporating both vibrant colors and muted tones in one.
The type of fiber used in carpets play a major role in creating different feels for a room. The fabric is also an important determinant of features such as stain resistance and durability. The following are the most popular carpet fibers out there.
90% of all carpets used in homes are made of nylon and this is due to different factors. For one, it comes at a reasonable price given its life expectancy of up to 15 years.
Another is that its performance is top rate compared to synthetic fibers. It is especially commendable for its resistance to mold, mildew, abrasion, and staining.
Most importantly, it ages well, holding its dye for a long time. Its only downside is that it could produce static energy, giving you an unexpected tingle on the feet sometimes.
2. Polypropylene (Olefin)
This one is the more cost-effective, synthetic counterpart of wool. 80% of commercial settings use Olefin carpets and is also now the second most popular carpeting for residences next to nylon.
On the upside, Olefin is easy to clean and can also be bleached. It is also commonly used as a top surface for Berber.
Nonetheless, it is not perfect and some of its downsides include not being recommended for sunny and bright rooms because it fades. It also does not show high resistance to staining and also holds on to oils, mud and dirt.
This is another well-loved synthetic fiber carpet because of its inexpensiveness and lots of upside features.
For one, it has a great ability to retain dye color, maintaining vibrance and fade free for many years. It is also hypoallergenic, resistant to stains, moisture, molds, and mildew.
On the downside, polyester carpets can hold onto oils and can produce dark marks on the surface. Also, it could be flattened easily in high traffic areas. It is also not good under furniture.
Also called synthetic wool, this one could pass as a substitute for wool carpets because they have similar fibers.
Acrylic carpets are well-loved, nonetheless, because of their resistance to mildew, molds, stains, and static energy. While it stands at a longevity similar to nylon carpets, it cannot tolerate high-traffic a lot.
It works well in bedrooms and basements and it might be prone to fading when alkaline products are used in bleaching them.
This one is considered a premium carpet because of its expensiveness. It is the softest type of carpet and as such, shall always be held at a luxurious and very comfortable level.
Made of intricately woven wool fabric, it is good for people suffering from allergies. Most manufacturers add acrylic fiber to wool sometimes to produce mid-tier wool carpets.
However, as an organic fiber, wool can be a niche for mildew and mold. As such, it cannot be placed in high humidity and high moisture rooms. They are also very prone to stains.
This one is a recent addition to the carpet market and has become comparable to the popularity of nylon in the last few years.
It comes in solid and patterned looks with a surface that is similar to nylon.
The upside is that it is very resistant to stains and has been regarded as stronger, and more durable than nylon as it could last for more than 20 years. However, it is even more expensive than the highest quality nylon.
Quality indicators for carpets
To get the best out of carpeting your room or special spaces in the home, you have to master the quality indicators for carpets.
From padding, to height and weight, here are some of the standards that you should settle for when it comes to carpets.
Carpet pile fiber density
The first determinant of a quality carpet is its pile fiber density. As per rule of thumb, the denser the carpet pile, the higher its quality.
To check this, run your hand over the carpet’s upper side and if you feel the backing material against your hand, it means that it is not dense enough.
According to the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI), a 5000-pile fiber density or higher is recommended for high-traffic areas.
The choice for carpet colors is virtually limitless but the preference for neutrals and nude colors are still on top of the carpet colors list.
As a matter of fact, the three top carpet colors would be beige, grey and brown. Other popular carpet colors include: black, brown, green, orange, pink, purple, red, white, yellow, and multi-colors.
A carpet padding is an important underlayment placed between the subflooring and the base of the carpet where the strands are attached.
This is the material that keeps the carpet in place and stable, non-slip and non-skid. Aside from this, carpet padding also adds insulation to the room and creates softer surfaces. There are lots of carpet padding types that you should know about:
- Prime foam: This one is made of polyurethane and combined with other recycled materials. It is similar to foams used in quality furniture and as such, dense and would not sink. It is also affordable, with lots of air pockets, and is perfect for high-traffic areas.
- Memory foam: Still regarded as one of the softest paddings in the market, this one never loses its form and because of that, is very stable. However, because it stretches over time, it is more recommended for low-traffic rooms.
- Fiber padding: This one is made from the combination of synthetic fibers (nylon, felt, and polyester). It is relatively thinner than foam and other cushioning materials so it is perfect for denser carpets like Berber. Inexpensive and durable, it is used mostly in commercial settings. The downside of this is its being prone to mold and not hypoallergenic.
- Rebonded padding: For a more versatile carpet underlayment, rebonded padding is the best choice because it comes in a variety of cushioning height and thickness. Hence, there is a specific rebonded padding for your carpet type. Also, it is cost-effective and adds a protective layer from carpet wear and tear.
Carpet pile height
There are three categories when it comes to carpet pile height. The lowest would be less than 0.25-inch.
Medium height would be at 0.25-0.5-inch and the highest height is at 0.5 to 1-inch. Carpets with a pile height of 0.75 and above are already considered as plush carpets because the standard is that the higher the pile height, the softer the surface.
Carpet face weight
The face weight of carpets determines their durability. For a good quality carpet, you should choose at least 35-ounces of carpet face weight. However, the face weight still depends on the features of the carpet and how high the room traffic is as well as the carpet’s density and the twist level of the carpet.
How to decide which rooms are best suited to carpet
When it comes to choosing what carpet is the best fit for a particular room, you should delineate which ones are high traffic or low traffic. Here is a breakdown of the best carpet choices for specific rooms and needs:
|For stairways and landings||Short pile nylon carpet|
|For hallways||Berber carpet|
|For bedrooms||Nylon or wool carpet|
|For family rooms and living rooms||Berber or frieze|
|For dining rooms and kitchen||Cotton, sisal|
|For people with allergies||Nylon and pile loop carpets|
|For high traffic areas||Nylon and polyester|
|Soft carpeting||Berber and plush pile|
|For homes with elderly||Short pile and pile loops|
When it comes to carpeting, the cost depends on how much area it would cover. On average, carpets range from $2-15 per square foot.
Installation starts at $1 for DIY installation per square foot and when it is professionally installed, it starts at $25. With these ranges, it is fair to spend at least a couple of dollars for carpeting.
Where to buy online carpet?
The good thing about carpets is that they are so staple in home improvements that they could be found at your local store, major department store outlets, and a lot of online stores. Here are some of the stores where you could buy carpets online:
- Istanbul Rug
- Rugs USA
- The Rugs Store
- Urban Outfitters
- Revival Rugs
- West Elm
- Home Depot
- Cold Picnic
- Empire Today
- Abbey Carpet and Floor
- Carpet One
- Carpet Express
There are three types of carpet installation and it pays to know each if you are considering the DIY carpet installation project or if you should tap professional carpet installation.
Glue down carpet installation
This is the most popular and easiest carpet installation method and it has two types: direct glue down and double glue down carpet installation.
|Direct glue down: The carpet is directly glued down to the flooring without pads.||Solid support and minimal movement.|
For high-traffic and for wheelchair rolling.
No buckling in climate-controlled areas.
Durable and suited for larger rooms.
|Does not have carpet padding. |
Harder to replace.
|Double glue down: The pads are first glued down followed by the carpet.||Comfortable and more cushioned. |
Durable and long lifespan.
Stretch-in carpet installation
This is the installation technique preferred for residential settings. For this method, tackless strips made of wood are nailed or glued around the floor’s perimeter.
Padding is then laid from the mid out and then the carpet is pinned to the padding through pins. After that, the carpet is then stretched to the perimeter.
|Efficient and easy installation.||Can buckle and ripple in climate-controlled areas.|
|Assured insulation and comfort due to padding.||Not recommended for large areas.|
|Long lifespan.||Not okay for heavy foot and rolling traffic.|
|Easier to remove and replace.|
|Great for patterned and highly textured carpets.|
Cut to fit carpet installation
This one is the installation technique for customized carpeting. As such, it is not considered as a bona fide installation method.
Here, the carpet is cut to fit the room and then it is directly attached to a pad or to the floor. So, basically, you just have to customize the carpet fitting and then choose between the first two carpet installation methods.
Factors to consider when buying a new carpet
Carpets are real investments to a home and because of this, you have to be well-versed with a carpet buying guide before buying one. As such, here are the factors to consider when buying a new carpet for the home.
This is the first thing to consider because carpet costs depend on its material, texture, density, height, and others.
If you are working on a large room, expect thousands of dollars. Medium size and small rooms could still be at least a hundred dollars if you want high-quality carpeting.
By space we mean to emphasize how the room is used. If it is meant for high traffic, go for denser, more textured, and low-pile carpets.
If it is for small, low-traffic areas, you can consider plush and high-pile carpeting. For rolling traffic, dense and low pile carpets are the choice.
3. Effect to the room
Anent to space, your choice of carpet should also take into consideration the projected impact it will have on a room.
For hiding stains and dirt, textured carpets are the recommended choice. If you want to give an illusion of space, lighter colored carpets and geometric patterns should be the options.
Some carpet styles, textures, and colors are more high-maintenance than others. When it comes to this, just know that low-pile carpets are easier to maintain compared to high-pile ones. Twisted and uneven carpets are also harder to wash.
Homeowners should start investing in carpet padding more because really, it is the material that offers more comfort, insulation, and cushioning for the carpet. As has been stated in the previous section, there are various types of carpet padding. You just have to make the right choice.
As with other products, choose the carpet brand that offers a wider range of insurance and longer product warranty. A good brand should walk you through the coverage of their insurance services so pay attention to their service too.
7. Professional installation
Just because it looks easy to glue down or stretch out a carpet would mean that your DIY installation would not experience rippling and buckling down the long haul. If it is your first time, it might be best to consult with a professional carpet installer to get tips from them.
Aside from everything that we have covered here, there are still a lot of FAQs revolving around types of carpets. Hence, here are some bits of other information that would help you in choosing the right carpet for the home.
What is the most popular style of carpet?
For the last five years, you would be stunned to know that textured (and twisted) carpets have consistently topped the ranking for the most popular carpet style.
Almost always using two-toned yarns or fabric, its twisted build is very resistant to dirt, mud, and stains. Its subdued appearance is also popular among bedrooms and living rooms. They are also highly durable, soft to the touch, well-cushioned and low-maintenance.
Should carpet be lighter or darker than walls?
By standard, if you want to get the highest visual impact a carpet could give to your room, the carpet color should be two shades darker over lighter walls and two shades lighter over warmer, darker walls. Darker carpets are made for high-traffic areas but when in doubt, neutral colors should still make the best choice.
What color carpet hides dirt best?
Aside from black, the other carpet colors that hide dirt best, it would be dark brown, blue and green. As for lighter colored carpets that can hide dirt, choose from light green, pink, and multi-colored carpets and patterned ones.
What is the best time to buy carpet?
The best time to buy carpets would be in late spring and early winter. These are holiday-laden times so expect for carpets to be on sale.
The discount level during these times is also very significant. As such, because of the sale, stores also tend to have more flexible store hours, schedules, and better warranties.
What kind of carpet is best for a hotel?
As per hospitality management standards, the four best carpets for a hotel would be sisal, wool, nylon, and polypropylene.
All of these carpet types have high resistance to stains and are very durable. They are made for high-traffic so they are the most appropriate for hotels.
What carpets can be dyed?
Of all carpet types, nylon, wool, acrylic, polypropylene, and polyester can all be dyed when the colors fade or when you just want to change your carpet’s color. There are three methods of dying carpets: wand spraying, aerosol spray can, using nylon bristles.
Can carpets be painted?
The only carpets that can be painted are Berber, jute, sisal, and seagrass. They can be easily revamped through paint using upholstery paints. Never try painting plush carpets. The result will be a matte, hardened carpet that cannot be put into good use anymore.
In what rooms is carpeting a poor choice?
Rooms that suffer from a lot of moisture, dampness, and poor insulation are poor choices for carpeting. Hence, kitchens, bathrooms and sometimes basements are not made for carpeting (especially wall-to-wall carpeting).
Can carpeting be patched?
Yes. But if you are not sure how to, you should tap the help of professionals. Nonetheless, there are video tutorials for DIY patching in which you have to buy specific carpet patching kits and carpet adhesive disks. If the tear is too significant to be patched, just invest in a new one.
How often should carpets be cleaned?
To keep the carpet strands on their best performance, the Carpet and Rug Institute suggests that carpets be cleaned in between 12-18-months. Deep cleaning, including washing, scrubbing, and steam cleaning are all recommended cleaning tips for carpets.
Related: How To Get Slime Out Of A Carpet
Can you put carpeting over tile?
Surprisingly, yes. However, you have to remove the rows of tile first and then install the carpeting using the stretch-in room method. Nail in the tackless strips at 1.5-inches from the baseboard. Also make sure that you use a power stretcher to attach the carpet to the strips’ nails.
Can used carpeting be sold?
Yes. We often found them in thrift shops, flea shops, home goods and home decorating stores, private listings, and online auction sites. The only consideration here is that they should be in an ‘acceptable condition’, minimal patches, and the edges should still be intact.
Can used carpeting be recycled?
Note that all types of carpets can be recycled. You can send them back to their manufacturers. The usual process of recycling includes separating the fabric from the carpet backing.
They are then separately treated, broken down and then pressed to form, creating new carpets and other textile products.
Can you immediately put furniture over the newly carpeted area?
No. You need to give it at least 24-48-hours before putting furniture over a newly carpeted area, especially for glued down carpets. Moving the furniture in place immediately would disrupt the stability of the newly laid carpet because the glue takes time to dry. When this happens, you are risking damage to your flooring.
What temperature should the carpet be installed?
The recommended room temperature when installing a carpet would be a consistent 65-80F, 48-hours before and after installing the carpet.
To conclude, carpeting is a prime investment for the home because it is an alternative to the usual concrete, tiled, and hardwood flooring.
Carpets give a cushioned experience for the home, giving it a cozier and homier feel. However, choosing one and maintaining one are challenging. There are a lot of factors to consider and it pays to be aware of these for you to get the best of what they can offer.
With all things that we have covered, all it takes to have a good carpet choice would be to sift through carpet essentials first, assess your room/home, and make a calculated rundown of what carpet to consider.