Choosing the right carpet pile can be a little tricky. There’s a surprising amount to think about.
You need to find the right balance between comfort and appearance, appearance and functionality, and functionality and price.
On top of all that, there are loads of different types of fiber arrangements that affect how a carpet looks and feels. Oh, and there are synthetic and natural fiber types too.
That might be more than you thought, right?
Let’s walk you through a few tips so you can pick the best option for you.
1. Is a Loop Pile for You?
Loop pile is one of two very common carpet pile types. With this type of carpet, the fibers are bent into loops, which makes it a pretty resilient piece of fabric.
So this type of carpet can be a good choice for hallways, stairs, and other places where footfall is high. They’re also popular among landlords who don’t want to recarpet their rented homes too often.
Let’s compare it with the common type of pile — the cut pile.
2. How About a Cut Pile?
Cut pile, unlike loop pile, is cut straight – there are no loops. This means it’s less resistant to wear and tear but is normally softer underfoot.
There are lots of different sub-types in the ‘cut’ group.
For example, the textured cut pile has yarn cut unevenly to create a slightly cushioned texture, but the shag pile is thick, luxurious, and deep. Cable cut pile is also very long and comfortable to walk on.
3. Mixing the Two
Many homes use a mixture of cut and loop pile carpet flooring in different rooms.
That’s totally fine, and it can make practical sense to make sure the carpet in high-use areas doesn’t need replacing quickly. But you’ll need to consider how it will feel and look as you step from one room to another.
Let’s talk about those aspects in a little more detail.
4. How Does It Look?
You want your carpet to look great. But, when you mix different types of carpet from room to room, stepping over the threshold can feel a little strange.
On the other hand, having one type of carpet throughout an entire home can feel a bit boring. You need to mix it up, but always use complementary shades that don’t clash.
Remember when choosing colors that certain shades will look duller or more vibrant depending on the time of day. In the same vein, you also need to think about the position of the windows in each room and the direction they face. Choosing carpet probably feels like a science at this point!
5. How Does the Carpet Pile Feel?
Let’s back away from the technical thinking and visit something more human.
How does that new carpet feel?
Carpet pile needs to look great, but let’s face it, you don’t want to sacrifice underfoot comfort for the sake of looks. After all, you’re going to be walking on it pretty much every day!
The feel is down to the type of pile, but also to the density of the carpet. When fibers are packed closely together, the carpet is more dense, more durable, and in most cases, feels better. When they’re loose, the carpet is more prone to becoming threadbare over time.
6. Natural or Synthetic?
There are plenty of natural fiber carpets available, so don’t think you have to go synthetic if you’re on a budget.
Synthetic carpets do tend to be cheaper, but that’s not always true. And the style of carpet – and the pile type – will also affect the price.
Natural fibers used include wool and cotton, as well as some more exotic ones such as jute and seagrass. Popular synthetic fibers include nylon, polyester, and acrylic.
To be fair, the synthetic ones can feel pretty great to the touch – we’re a far cry from the early days of synthetic fibers. But
7. Testing Durability
We’ve talked a bit about how various things can affect a carpet’s durability. But it’s not an easy thing to work out without having every single detail to hand.
Thankfully, it’s an easy thing to practically test.
Just sink your thumb into the carpet pile and see how quickly it springs back out. If it’s slow to recover, this is likely down to the material being softer, and the carpet being less dense.
If the indent pops immediately back out, that’s a pretty dense carpet. But you’ll need to balance this density with comfort – as very dense short-cut pile carpets can be rather tough.
8. Will It be Easy to Clean?
Cleaning a carpet isn’t just a case of running the vacuum cleaner over it every so often. There are some tricks you can use to help keep any carpet clean. But eventually, it’ll be time for a full deep clean that’ll take far longer.
Thick carpet pile can present a challenge here, as you’ll need to scrub into every nook and cranny. But while a thin carpet might be easy to clean, it may not suit your home.
It’s always a balance, and to be frank, a high-quality thick pile is worth the extra effort. But do keep cleaning in mind when picking your pile.
More on Carpets and Flooring
We hope this guide helps you to find the right carpet pile for your home.
If you want to find some more inspiration on what to choose, or you’re looking for tiles, laminate flooring, or even hardwood flooring, we’ve got loads of options.
Come and take a look through our catalog and discover your next gorgeous carpet.