For many people in recent years, hardwood flooring has seen a massive rise in popularity. However, different types of carpet offer several nice benefits that make it very well-suited to different areas of your home more so than tile, wood, or laminate flooring. Carpeting can add a softness to your flooring that is difficult to replicate with other flooring types, and this is why it works very well in playrooms and bedrooms. It gives these spaces a very cozy and warm feeling, and it provides a thin layer of safety if you were to fall.
A lot of different types of carpets are also stain-resistant, and this makes them much more practical than you may think. Carpets also give you a fantastic design choice because you get a range of patterns and colors that you don’t get with hardwood. Carpeting types have a broad range too, and you can choose from different types of pile and materials.
We’re going to outline 11 popular types of carpet for several carpet fabrics for you below. Our goal is to help you narrow down your choices and quickly and easily as possible to help ensure that you make the correct choice for your home.
Many people don’t know that there are different types of carpets available, or that some types can fit in high-traffic areas better than others. However, picking out the correct one can help you get a durable and long-lasting choice. Carpets by Ildar Sagdejev / CC BY 2.0
11 Popular Types of Carpet
You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to different types of carpet, but you should carefully look at the most popular options to ensure you pick out something that is going to match your wants and needs well for years to come.
Berber is an extremely popular type of carpet with a loose pile to it, and it lends a neutral and modern look to new homes. It also has a reputation for being durable and long-lasting, and it features a series of looped yarn. The yarn also gets looped much tighter and lower when they make it compared to other loop pile types of carpet. The loops get very tightly packed to create a very dense texture that holds up well and stays looking like new for longer times. It also usually features a thicker yarn variety, and this makes it much more resistant to stains.
Traditionally, most of these carpet types come in neutral or earthy tones, including shades of beige with brown or grey flecks. The flecks are a very important part of this type of carpet because they lend it a very interesting look, and they provide a natural camouflage against stains or dirty marks like mud or potting soil that can easily blend into the carpet to mimic the flecked pattern. The ability of the flecks to hide these marks make it a popular choice for stairways, basements, and bedrooms.
2. Cut Pile
You create cut pile types of carpet by creating yarn loops and cutting them open at the highest point in the loop. This gives you carpet that has pieces of yarn that stand upright, and it can work to give your carpet a much more formal look and feel than you’d get with loop pile carpeting. It also makes it much softer, and this gives it a very luxurious feel.
This type of carpet pile tends to have a mix of thin and thick yarn with short and tall yarn. Every yarn gets kinked or twisted in different directions, and this lends a very fuzzy, unique texture to the carpet. Some people confuse this carpet style with shag carpeting that was very popular in the 1970s and 1980s in the United States. Shag pile is very similar to this carpet, but the strands of yarn in shag carpeting are much longer. You’ll get a very informal and relaxed look in any room you install this carpet in, and the soft texture lends a cozy and inviting feel to the room.
This type of carpet, due to the fact that the yarn tends to kink or twist in so many different directions, won’t show vacuum marks or footprints easily. However, it’s not a good choice for high-traffic areas like your hallway because it can get flat and look really worn out if you walk over it too much. It can also be very hard to get stains out of this type of carpeting, so it’s a good idea to go with darker colors if you want this style. You can also put it in a guestroom or any room you rarely use.
4. Loop Pile
Loop pile types of carpet feature loops of yard that create a very hard-wearing medium that is great for high-traffic areas in your home like hallways or stairways. However, this carpet won’t feel extremely luxurious when you walk over it like you’d get with different types of cut pile carpet. However, it has a much softer and warmer feel than hard flooring, so it’s a nice midway point between the two.
5. Level Loop
Level loop carpet features a series of precisely-measured looped yarn that is the exact same length. In turn, this allows the carpet to have a very uniform look and feel to it when you install it. Level loop types of carpet have smaller loops to it, and this allows you to get a tight look. In turn, you get a very hard-wearing and solid carpet that is resistant to stains and catching on sharp objects as they go across it.
Due to the tightness of the loops, the carpet won’t show vacuum marks or footprints, and it’s very well-suited to go in areas where your foot traffic is much higher. This includes stairways or children’s play rooms where you need the surface of the floor to resist staining well while giving any smaller kids that fall a soft landing spot.
The level loop-style carpet is very durable and long-lasting, and it’s relatively easy to maintain by quick vacuuming once or twice a week. Carpet by drumby / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
6. Multi-Level Loop
This type of carpet features yarn loops in different heights, and this lends a very unevenly textured finish on the floor. You may hear it called high-low profile loop carpet, and this references that the loops are different heights. The loop height is random, and this allows the carpet to have a very relaxed texture. You can also get the loop height sequenced to create a pattern in the carpet. This is an extremely durable type of carpet, and if you do end up with a stubborn stain that you just can’t get out, it’ll most likely blend right into the carpet’s texture. In turn, it won’t be nearly as obvious as it would be if you had a more uniform loop style.
This carpet style can easily feel and look much more luxurious than other loop carpet types because the higher loops give a much softer feel on your feet and they won’t be nearly as stiff as the lower ones. However, it’s easy to age this carpet very quickly because you can flatten the higher loops with foot traffic. So, to keep it in good condition, you want to put it in an area that doesn’t get as much traffic. Also, it’s a good idea to regularly use a stronger vacuum on it that will suck the crushed loops upwards to keep them vertical for longer.
Manufacturers create patterned types of carpets by combining level and cut loop pile techniques. The final result is a very stylish carpet that is very aesthetically pleasing and soft to the touch. The patterns on this type of carpet can have squares, swirls, or floral motifs, and there is virtually an endless design style available. These carpets usually get designed purely for decorative purposes, and you use them to visually enhance a room over practice purposes.
A few types of patterns, especially repeating patterns, can trick your eye into thinking that the room is much larger than it actually is. It gives you the illusion of space. Carpets that have heirloom patterns are very common in restaurants or hotels to give you a traditional or grandeur feeling. They usually don’t show vacuum marks or footprints easily, so you can put them in high traffic areas. These carpets are also excellent at hiding marks from stains or soiling because the stains can blend right into the pattern.
Plush pile types of carpet is also referred to as velour or velvet carpet because it’s extremely soft to the touch. It’s a type of cut pile carpeting that has very short lengths to the yarn, and they all get cut to the exact same even level. The yarn is also very densely packed to lend a padded and soft feel to the carpet when you step on it. Each yarn can also be gently twisted, and this increases how dense the carpet looks while improving the springy texture. It’s a very popular choice for bedrooms because it feels nice on your bare feet when you get out of bed while lending a cozy and warm feel.
However, this carpet type will show vacuum marks and footprints easily, so it’s not a good choice to put in common areas in your home. It’s also not good when it comes to hiding stains, so you should avoid putting it in your kid’s rooms unless you pick out a darker color that can hold up slightly better to stains. Also, don’t put this carpet in stairways as it can look tired and old and show wear much faster than a level loop or patterned carpet will.
Saxony is a type of carpet that is cut pile and made from loops that the company cuts to the exact same length to give you a very neat and even finish. It features pieces of yarn that get densely packed together to get a very plush and soft feel. This is very similar to plush pile carpeting, but with this option, the yarn is longer, and it has a slightly twisted look to it. The result is a carpet that is very soft. It also lends a very impressive look to any room you install it in because it’s not comfortable and more formal.
However, this type of carpet will show vacuum marks or footprints very easily, so it’s not a good idea to put it in rooms you use a lot if you want to keep it looking nice. It will also show marks or stains very easily because it has a very uniform look, so any imperfections on it will stand out much more and be challenging to hide compared to other options. It has a very high quality to it, and this makes it one of the most expensive options available.
Having a very plush carpet can be pleasant to walk on, but it does take more upkeep to ensure that it looks and feels nice for years after you install it. 24th May 2011 by George Armstrong / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Sisal loop carpet is a carpet style with a textured loop pile that gets aligned in two roles to create a striped pattern. The loop height will usually vary to create different textures and looks, and the patterns may not form solid stripes. However, you can use it to create fun geometric patterns using the loop rows as you base. This is a very durable and hard-wearing option that has a great ability to hide stains while aging well. However, it isn’t as neutral as Berber, so it’s not as popular.
The final type of carpet on the list features varying lengths on the strands of yarn, and the yarn goes through a specialized heat treatment that twists the strands into spirals and presses them to ensure that they keep the kinked or twisted shape. The end result is a very textured surface that is very good when it comes to resisting surface marks like stains or footprints. The textured surface is also great for hiding any areas or marks that get crushed due to higher foot traffic because the carpet has an overall uneven look to it to make any imperfections less noticeable.
This is a carpet style that is very good for play areas or children’s bedrooms because it gives you a cushion-like and soft surface that is forgiving if you should fall. You also won’t have as much of an issue with staining.
Six Popular Types of Carpet Fabrics
Different types of carpets feature different materials in the makeup, and the type of material you pick out will factor into the carpet’s quality and the features it can have. This includes stain resistance. Commonly, you’ll find that your carpet uses either one or a mix of the following fabrics.
Acrylic is one of the most cost-effective carpet types available, and it’s a nice choice for certain rooms while you’d avoid putting it in others. It resists mold, staining, static, and mildew very well. Also, it’s very soft while being able to replicate what actual wool feels like because the fibers are very similar. In some places, this type of carpet gets marketed as synthetic wool. This makes it a great option to put in your kid’s rooms, nurseries, or playrooms where you want to get a soft carpet that will withstand staining. It also works well in basements.
The downfall of this carpet is the durability factor. It’s not extremely strong, so it won’t last as long as any nylon carpet would. Also, it won’t stand up well to heavy foot traffic. You should avoid putting this carpet down on hallways, stairways, or high-traffic spots in your home. It does stand up well to sunlight, and it’s not as prone to fading over time as some other fabrics. It can have issues with certain cleaning products, and you want to avoid putting alkaline products on this carpet because it can turn the carpet a brown tone.
Most types of carpet have nylon as the biggest portion of the makeup, and nylon accounts for 90% of all carpets used in residential homes. The popularity of this material is due to several factors, including being reasonably-priced for as long as it lasts. In most cases, this carpet’s life expectancy is between 10 and 15-years. Even though you’ll pay more for it over synthetic carpets, it is cheaper than wool. It also performs much better than other synthetic types of carpets, and it has decent resistance to abrasion, staining, mildew, and mold. It keeps the appearance for years, and it wears very well.
This type of carpet also dyes very well and it’ll retain the color, and this allows you to choose from a huge range of colors. It’s very soft, and this makes it comfortable to walk over. However, it can produce static energy.
This is better known as polypropylene, and it’s a polypropylene compound. You’ll find that manufactures use it as a synthetic substitute for wool. They do this because the fibers on this type of carpet feel and look like natural wool, but it’s much more cost-effective. It’s a very common carpet type in commercial buildings, and it is around what 80% of all businesses have installed. It’s also started gaining popularity in residential buildings and homes, and it’s the second most popular option right behind nylon. It’s slightly less expensive than nylon cost-wise, but it’s not as durable. It has a very high stain-resistance to it, but it will hold onto oils. Also, dirt clings to it.
Despite this fact, this type of carpet cleans up very nicely with a steam cleaner or carpet cleaner. It’s very common to find this material in level loop carpets because it’s extremely strong, and this means that it’ll hold up well to high levels of traffic. You’ll pay more for this carpet than you will for acrylic or polyester. Sun exposure will damage it if you’re not careful, so watch it if you choose to install it in brighter rooms.
Picking out the correct carpet fabric can help to ensure that you get something that is going to match your aesthetic while being durable enough to withstand whatever traffic you have going over it. Carpet by George Oates / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
This is a synthetic carpet fabric that is very budget-friendly, and it comes with a host of good features. It’s one of the best carpet types you can get for dying because it will hold onto bright and vibrant colors very well. If you’re after a carpet fabric that won’t fade over time and stays vibrant, this is the type of carpet to go for. It’s also relatively good at resisting staining and moisture, so it does well against mildew and mold. It’s another option that is easy to clean, but it does tend to hold onto oils that can lead to dirt marks. It’s a non-allergenic carpet too, and it’s good for people with sensitivities.
However, one big drawback of using this type of carpet is that it’s extremely easy to flatten. If you put it in an area with a lot of traffic, you will get a worn-looking carpet very quickly. It also easily flattens out when you put it under furniture, so it makes it hard to move the furniture around without it looking old. Once the fibers flatten out, they’re almost impossible to fluff up again. However, it’s one of the most inexpensive options on the current market, and this is why it’s so popular in student housing or in low-income rental properties.
This type of fabric is synthetic, and it’s a relatively new option to the market. It has slowly been gaining in popularity over nylon carpet. It’s very durable and strong, and it’s very resistant to staining to make it a great choice for homes with children or pets. It’s a very long-lasting option too, but there is no evidence that suggests that it’ll last longer than nylon. It works well in any areas that have more foot traffic because it survives heavy use very easily. It’ll keep a good appearance with upright strands under heavy foot traffic. The cost is the biggest drawback, and it’s one of the most expensive fabrics available, including being more expensive than a high-end nylon carpet.
The final fabric for types of carpet is wool, and this is a natural material that has a range of benefits at a higher cost. High-quality wool has a host of very intricate woven fibers on it that make it very difficult to stain. It’s one of the softest types of carpet fabric available on the current market, and it feels luxurious when you step on it. Pure wool carpets are great for anyone who has allergies because they feature no additives or chemicals in the makeup.
Wool isn’t a very common carpet material because it’s extremely expensive. Because it’s a natural fabric, it also won’t hold up well against mildew or mold because they feed on organic materials like wool. You shouldn’t use it in areas where the humidity levels are higher or you have moisture issues like the basement. You can get lower-grade wool carpets at lower prices, but they’re more prone to staining.
A lot of companies combine acrylic with wool to give you blended carpets. So, you end up getting a carpet that is soft to the touch like you’d get full wool but it has acrylic’s longevity and stain-resistance. By reducing how much wool is needed and adding some acrylic in, it reduces the final costs.
Three Big Carpet Quality Indicators
There are three big indicators of your potential carpet’s quality that you want to pay attention to when you shop. Doing so will ensure that you get a long-lasting carpet that looks nice for years.
Pile Fiber Density
The density of the fibers that the manufacturers use in the pile is a huge quality indicator. The denser your type of carpet’s pile is, the higher the quality. When you can run your hand over the upside of the carpet and feel the carpet backing material, it’s a low quality choice. When you can’t feel the backing, this is a good indication that you’ve got a nice option.
Pile Fiber Weight
If your carpet is heavier, this is a good indication that it is more fibers per square foot. The yarn that makes up the carpet can also make the carpet heavier. However, the general rule of thumb is that the heavier your carpet is per square foot, the higher the quality. This includes any synthetic fiber carpets.
The best carpet material is wool, but it’s also one of the most expensive. It’s durable, soft, eco-friendly, and natural. However, it’s usually not the most practical choice because most other materials are more stain-resistant, and some can be more durable.
Common Prices for Types of Carpet
Most people won’t tackle installing carpet by themselves, so it’s common to have to factor in a professional installation when you try to estimate your total project costs. Carpet Installation by Peter Galvin / CC BY 2.0
The cost to buy and install your carpet will depend on how large the room is. There are several specific price points that you should consider. However, generally speaking, it usually costs between $1.00 and $10.00 a square foot for your carpet. The more expensive ones are usually more durable, and you could get them in a pretty pattern. Wool and berber are usually the two most expensive.
To get the carpet installed, you’ll pay roughly $1.00 a square foot. If you need to remove your old carpets or move furniture around, the cost to install it can go up. So, you can expect to pay roughly $2.00 to $10.00 a square foot for your carpet, depending on what you buy. The standard room will cost a few hundred dollars to outfit.
How to Pick Out a Carpet Pad
Most soft types of flooring like carpet need a cushion under them. The density and thickness of your carpet pads directly impacts how the carpet feels and looks. It’s standard to have a six to eight pound density, and the thickness ranges from 0.25” to 0.50”. To install carpet pad, you’ll pay between $0.50 and $1.00 a square foot. Plush styles for lower traffic areas in your home can work with a thicker product. If you buy Berber carpet, you’ll want a thinner pad.
We’ve outlined 11 different types of carpet for you, and you can use this quick guide to decide which one will work best in your intended area. It’s possible to mix and match, but most people go with one type. If you get it right, you’ll have a stunning complement to your decor for years to come.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.