Carpet flooring reduces echo in large rooms, as well as providing a layer of insulation on the floor, keeping a room warmer and more comfortable to walk on in cold weather. It is a popular medium used to accent a room's particular décor. Carpeting consists of a textile “pile” attached to a backing to create a soft floor covering.
Common materials used to make carpet yarn are nylon, polyester, polypropylene and acrylic, which are man made plastic fibers, or wool, which is a natural fiber. Wool is the best quality material you can find in a carpet, though not the most common, owing to its expense. Nylon is a tough fiber that holds its color and a popular choice for heavy traffic areas. Drawbacks are that it stains easily because it holds color so well. Polypropylene is used to make carpet fiber because it is inexpensive, but this material does not wear as well as nylon or wool and is harder to dye. Polyester carpeting is another inexpensive material, one which does not stain easily. It does tend to mat down under footsteps, however. Acrylic fiber used to be unpopular because of its tendency to pill or ball up over time and with use. This has been improved upon over time. Acrylic carpet yarn is colorfast, washable, and mimics wool in texture and appearance.
Cut and loop carpeting is a popular carpet style, usually used to create patterns in carpets, consisting of a higher level of “cut” yarns, and a lower of 'looped” yarns, tracing out the design. It is commonly made using two or more colors and good at hiding soil or stains. Very popular in the '70's and still popular today. Berber carpet is also a popular carpet style which consists of a rugged loop surface, wool-like in appearance, which is resistant to footprints and vacuum marks. Saxony carpeting, or plush carpeting, is a cut pile (made with cut yarns instead of looped yarn) carpet great for formal rooms because it shows highlights and accents. It also shows footprints and vacuum marks easily. Textured or twist carpet is similar to Saxony but less formal. Its carpet yarns are twisted, revealing the yarn ends and making it less susceptible to crushing. Its a popular carpet to use throughout the entire house, as it is fairly attractive and wears well. Shag carpeting has longer, slightly twisted yarns that are set further apart, giving it a “grass-like” appearance.
No matter what type of carpeting you have, its a good idea to vacuum once a day if possible. Vacuuming often will greatly reduce wear and breakdown of carpet fibers caused by dirt and soil. When a deeper clean is needed, there are two good ways to clean your carpet. One is hot water extraction, which is best done by a professional carpet cleaner for best results, simply because they will have superior equipment and reduce drying time. This method involves a machine spraying hot water (not steam) onto the carpet and immediately sucking it back up again. The second method, popular with businesses and commercial places with high trafficked carpeting, is encapsulating, which consists of putting a compound on the carpet which dissolves and absorbs soil. This dry compound can be vacuumed immediately and is favored because it eliminates the drying time necessary with wet cleaning methods.