All You Need to Know About Carpet

Residential Floors can create warmth, luxury and beauty under your feet, in the Maryland/D.C. Metro areas, by installing any of our finely crafted carpets from the best manufacturers in the business. Feel free to take your shoes off and plunge your toes into the kind of comfort that only a well-made, professionally installed, carpet can provide. Inasmuch as your home and lifestyle are unique, be sure to communicate any special requirements that you may have so that our Residential Floors staff can be attentive with showing you the products that will suit your needs the best. Unlike other types of flooring, carpet can be a little tricky at times. Take a look at some of the variables, below, that will help you decide what works best in your home in the Maryland/D.C. area.


Believe it, or not, the actual style, or cut, of your carpet may have a significant impact on how your carpet’s performance. The style, therefore, should be chosen with your home décor intentions and your traffic and maintenance regimen in mind.

  • Saxony, Velvets, Cut-Pile (generic term)–All carpets are initially tufted as a loop construction and then some, like these, get a haircut (shearing). With these styles, the yarn is straight (vertical) and not kinked; and every single yarn is trimmed to the exact same height. This is a more formal style and is typically not one to hide foot-prints, traffic patterns, vacuum marks, etc.
  • Textured–While manufactured similarly to the above style, the yarn itself is prepared differently: The yarn is ‘kinked’ to make it look ‘zig-zagged’ before it’s tufted into the carpet. After the carpet is sheared, the appearance tends to look ‘curly’. This style tends to hide all the things that a velvet cannot because the surface is so uneven.
  • Berber or Loop–Simply put, these never got a hair-cut and are in their original manufactured form. These tend to be extremely effective in hiding all signs of traffic and use and are extremely durable.
  • Cut-Uncut-As the name would imply, some of the yarns receive a shearing while others don’t. Because of the stylish unevenness of the surface, these too, hide a lot of signs of traffic.


The chemical composition of the fiber, or yarn, has a great deal to do with how your carpet will perform to your requirements, your expectations. This is another element, or feature, which you should discuss with your Residential Flooring professional to see which is right for you.

  • Wool-Still the hardest wearing, longest lasting fiber available and, of course, coming from sheep makes it particularly earth-friendly. However, wool is not for everyone as costs and the fiber’s propensity to accept stains are things to consider.
  • Nylon-Typically speaking, this fiber presents the best universal value. It is very hard-wearing, retains its twist and dyes evenly.
  • Polyester-The new ‘polys’ are often extruded from post-consumer waste (plastic bottles) and corn. Polyester takes dye remarkably well and offers a ‘brightness’ of color that outshines any other fiber. It is also more inherently stain resistant than nylon. There are some drawbacks in this fiber, so please discuss this with your Residential Floors professional.
  • Olefin/Polypropylene-This is a very common fiber used in the construction of berber carpeting–and for good reason. This fiber is inherently very brittle, as fibers go, and actually has to be lubricated (with soap) in order to be manufactured. In loop construction, like berbers, the fiber performs fairly well. This fiber is also near impossible to stain. This fiber also tends to be quite economical.

Terms and Trivia

The carpet industry has a number of catchy terms that have been adopted through the years. Some of these terms are meaningful while others are not. Here’s a few that you may run into, or have heard in the past and a couple of their origins.

  • Weight or Ounce Weight-This is the actual, physical weight of the amount of yarn that is tufted into any particular carpet. It is a unit or form of measure that was originally used exclusively when evaluating commercial carpet; and that’s probably where it’s most meaningful. Sears-Roebuck, Inc. (when they sold carpet) is responsible for using this measure in residential carpet advertising. This measure, alone, has little to do with a carpet’s performance.
  • ‘Hand’-A transparent term, this refers to the ‘feeling’ a consumer has when she runs her hand across the carpet. A carpet that has a ‘great hand’ is one that feels full and luxurious. Circa 1972, Sears-Roebuck, Inc. did a study/poll in customer evaluations in the showroom. It seemed that a consumer was more drawn to ‘fullness’ of a product than one that was made well–judging the product with their hands. Unless you actually walk on your hands, this is not a good measure of quality goods.
  • Wear-A homeowner will tell you that ‘wear’ on a carpet is the dramatic change of appearance in a traffic area. However, matting, crushing, and packing are the terms manufacturers associate with this change and NOT ‘wear’. The manufacturers define ‘wear’ as a percentile of the yarn that is worn-off by normal foot traffic. It is important to understand these differences in definition when discussing claims of performance.

Your Best Advocate

In the Maryland/D.C. Metro area there is no better professional to have in your flooring corner than Residential Floors. There are many, many things to know about carpeting and pad and we’ve done our homework! For honest answers and guidance in your carpet, or other flooring endeavors, seek the always professional folks, here, at Residential Floors.