Buying a carpet for any room in your home is going to be a significant investment. Finding the right flooring for your home isn't merely a matter of choosing a color or pile that appeals to you. You're also going to need to think about brands, pricing and whether or not soft floors are necessarily the best choice to make.
In this buying guide, we will look at some of the more commonly overlooked points in carpet buying. We will also compare and contrast popular brands to help you make the best choice.
When Carpet is Not the Best Option
While this guide was written to help you understand what to expect when it comes to buying carpeting for your home, there may be a few reasons to consider an alternative. Not all homes have carpets laid throughout. It is not always a matter of aesthetic or comfort, either. There are hardwood, vinyl or tile options available which may be more appealing to you for various reasons.
Do think about dust and allergens. There are plenty of soft furnishing choices out there which promote allergy protection. However, you will need to vacuum carpeting regularly to remove dust mites and their eggs. Many people prefer buying hardwood or vinyl flooring because it's easier to maintain, and can offer fewer health risks. However, it's not necessarily as safe.
While these are all valid points to be made in either direction, there are more than a few soft flooring standards which are designed to compete directly against hard or vinyl flooring. Therefore, we greatly recommend you continue to look at the broader market and to read on to learn more.
You may also like: Carpet vs Hardwood Flooring
Let’s consider some of the main factors you’ll need to bear in mind when shopping for new carpeting, before moving on to prices and brands.
While a deeper pile or more luxurious design will work well in a private bedroom, consider rooms of your home which are likely to see more traffic. For these rooms, you will need closely-knitted fibers for durability. The smaller the gaps are between the fibers, the more chance it will have of withstanding years of use.
However, softer and deeper piles may be considered safer for families as there is greater cushioning. There are, however, types of material which offer both durability and comfort, which we will look at in detail below.
Types of Material
While we have considered what you should look for when buying, you should also acquaint yourself with some of the more common types of soft flooring available to you. Here are just a few types to can expect to see on the market, along with a table to break down their features.
Type of Material
Ease of Cleaning
A common material, polyester is preferred by many is it looks good and is easy to clean. However, a good polyester choice will also need plenty of care and maintenance.
Nylon surfaces are extremely easy to keep clean and are super-durable. These are excellent choices for family rooms and are incredibly soft underfoot. Nylon tends to be the mid-range option across all area.
Natural fibers make for some of the best looks. Wool is incredibly resistant and is, again, very easy to clean. It is considered a more premium option in terms of pricing, though it is generally very budget-effective.
This type of material is man-made and is famous for its resistance and its suitability to intensive use. Polypropylene fights back against stains like any other – they simply won’t get ground-in. They are low-density, too, and are very colorfast.
A man-made material, Triexta floors are tough and resistant against stains. They are perhaps some of the most resistant synthetic carpets on the market. However, this can raise how much you expect to pay.
Types of Style
There are also various styles available for you to choose from. Therefore, you will need to weigh up further pros and cons once you have chosen your desired material. You may see the following while shopping:
1. Cut Pile
Cut pile carpeting is perfect for family areas thanks to its construction. As the name suggests, this flooring consists of yarns and fibers which have their ends cut at an equal level. This helps to create a smooth surface, which is, of course, comfortable to walk across.
There are different types of cut pile carpet, which may include:
However, there are reasons to go against cut pile. Cut pile can show furniture and foot traffic indentation after time. It can also be trickier to clean, and deep piles may not be the easiest to walk across.
Loop carpeting, unlike cut pile, leaves the threads and fibers intact, in tiny loops. That makes for a tighter, more rigid construction. However, this style of flooring is preferred by people who value ease of cleaning and who likely see heavy foot traffic.
Like cut pile, there are different types of loop flooring:
Loop carpets are exceptionally stain-resistant and are easy to clean. However, this can mean you lose a little softness. They are also probably too tough for family and pet homes.
3. Cut and Loop
Cut and loop flooring is a mixture of the two styles listed above. This look can also be referred to as ‘patterned,' as the blending fibers can create unique styles. They are straightforward to clean; however, they won't wear as well as cut pile or loop models. Therefore, for longevity, it may be prudent to consider one or the other.
There has never been a more comprehensive array of colors available for home flooring. That is likely to be one of the first things you consider when buying a new carpet. It’s also an important one.
You will now need to consider how a carpet will be used in your home. For private bedrooms and single adults or couples, light colors and shades are ideal. However, they are not suitable choices should you have children or own pets, as stains will likely linger for longer.
Choose a color which appeals to your tastes, and which fits in well with your existing décor. There is also a tactic you can use to ensure you make the right choice, which we will discuss below.
While shopping for a new carpet, always make sure to do the following:
Depending on the type of carpeting you wish to by, the cost can vary. This much is obvious, but how much should you expect to pay, on the whole, per square foot? We have arranged a small table for you below to show you a cross-section of what you should and shouldn’t be paying.
Cost By Type of Material:
Type of Material
Cost per Square Foot (US)
Cost By Carpet Brand:
per Square Foot (US)
Most Expensive Cost
per Square Foot (US)
$0.80 - $3.55
$7.25 - $14.00
$1.85 - $3.00
$3.00 - $5.00
$2.45 - $4.55
$6.00 - $9.00
$5.25 - $7.80
$15.00 - $30.00
$7.00 - $10.00
$15.00 - $23.00
Cost By Carpet Style:
per Square Foot (US)
Most Expensive Cost
per Square Foot (US)
$0.80 - $2.00
$2.40 - $5.00
Cut / Texture
$0.85 - $2.65
$3.60 - $7.55
$1.25 - $2.50
$3.00 - $4.50
$1.75 - $2.85
$3.25 - $4.80
It is also worth bearing in mind that there are various factors which can affect the cost of a new carpet. These can include:
Therefore, this guide should only be used as a rough estimate as to what you can expect to pay.
Carpet Installation Cost
While some people are confident in their ability to install a carpet, hiring an expert can save a lot of time, effort and hassle. However, there will be a fee applied on top of your flooring purchase. Do bear in mind that costs may vary depending on where you live, the carpet you choose, and the complexity of your needs.
You will generally expect to pay:
Therefore, overall costs may come to around $3,650 at the low end and $12,250 at the high end. Always make sure to measure correctly, and to use a quote calculator for more
Installation: DIY or Hire a Pro
There are pros and cons when it comes to installation. As mentioned, one of the major benefits of hiring an expert lies in the fact that everything is done for you. You will be able to let an expert installer carefully cut, prepare and install your flooring to safe, impeccable standards.
DIY installation may be more financially viable. If you already know how to install flooring and carpeting, you may already be a few steps ahead of everyone else. However, it is still plenty of time out of your day, and even as an amateur, there is no guarantee that you have done the perfect job. With an installer, too, you receive a guarantee of quality and a money back contract in the vast majority of cases. When you install a carpet on your own, you are not insured should you make a mistake.
If you do wish to hire an expert to help install your new carpet, we have set up an installation quote tool for your perusal. Simply select the service you require, followed by your name and address details, and a short description of what you need. You will then be offered a series of quotes based on your needs and requirements.
Best Manufacturer Brands
You should also consider looking at some of the most reputable flooring brands in the US. The following six brands are trustworthy, household names, and they each offer a different approach to home flooring worth considering. Let’s take a look at them in a little detail.
Mohawk Flooring is perhaps one of the biggest names in the industry. The brand, which has also swallowed up the popular Karastan line in recent years, is famed for specialist carpeting and flooring built for everyday use. Some of their most popular flooring options include SmartStrand Forever Clean, which is designed to specifically resist even the toughest of household stains. It is also targeted towards pet owners.
What’s most notable about Mohawk Industries is their adoption of polyester, which is used in the creation of some of the brand’s most striking-looking and most durable designs. Mohawk is a brand which is generally aimed at families, with lifetime protection against staining and other mishaps also covered in the price tag. However, this type of technology will also demand more money.
2. Shaw Floors
Shaw, too, is a brand that has become a household name, quite literally. The brand has continued to be recognized in the industry as leaders in flooring design as well as in customer service. Like Mohawk, Shaw also leads with a family approach, offering products and carpeting types which are designed to be resistant against heavy staining and regular use. They are therefore seen as some of the most innovative flooring developers in the US, if not the world.
Shaw is a brand to look for if durability and ease of maintenance are important to you. Once again, some of these floor types and options may be a little more expensive than your run-of-the-mill options.
However, it may often be worth investing additional money if it is set to save you hassle in the long run. It should also be noted that Shaw Floors are dedicated to sustainability, and in fact, encourage recycling. They are one of the few big brands who actively encourage debate on what happens to their flooring at the end of their lifespan.
As the name might suggest, the main aim of a Stainmaster carpet is to protect against long-term damage from spillages and staining. Therefore, it is often marketed as a brand which families and pet owners prefer. Their range is generally focused on durability as well as everyday style, with waterproofing and allergen-free options available.
Stainmaster can be seen as a mid-range choice in terms of cost, though plenty of families prefer the comfort and reliability of their soft furnishings to others. The brand also produces and retails cleaning products which can be used explicitly on their flooring standards. They are a clear competitor with the likes of Shaw, though the bigger name may have the edge.
Fabrica is a high-end flooring brand specializing in various materials and flooring types. Designed for luxury living spaces, this is a brand which not be as well-known to everyday homeowners, but it is one which genuinely cares about providing great-looking and long-lasting flooring solutions. If superior style and attention to manufacturing are essential to you, you will likely want to consider a Fabrica carpet.
Fabrica is a firm which, like Shaw, is upfront about their impact on the environment. If you are conscious of sustainability while buying, you may wish to keep the Fabrica name in mind. The company states that they use ‘state of the art technology’ to design and craft their flooring solutions, which automatically puts them at the top of the list as far as innovation is concerned.
Specializing in wool and nylon, Fabrica can also install wooden flooring if required. The firm is also keen to advise that their flooring solutions satisfy the Green Label Plus certification. That means that the Carpet and Rug Insititute has recognized the company’s products to help offer superior ‘indoor air quality.’ To the everyday buyer, that means a Fabrica flooring option will be very unlikely to carry allergens.
Dreamweaver is a company dedicated to supplying flooring that is hard-wearing and resistant against common stains and spillages. Promoting their pet-friendly carpeting range, the brand asserts that flooring bought from their range will last ‘for life.’ They are well-recognized and rated in the industry and by customers across the US.
Dreamweaver's products are available in a vast variety of colors, shades, thicknesses, and grading. Similar to how paint choices are named and organized, you will be able to pick from a palette of different options before you buy. The firm’s technology in design also focuses on retaining color. While some colors may fade after years of use, and in intense sunlight, a Dreamweaver solution is one which is said to be resistant to most everyday stains.
6. Anderson Tuftex
Anderson Tuftex is a well-known brand which specializes in twist carpeting and tight, patterned weaves. Their flooring solutions are popular with many homes across the US and beyond, mostly available in warm, natural colors and what the brand refers to as ‘timeless' design. However, Anderson Tuftex flooring may not be the best choice for heavy family use. However, their soft and hard flooring may look great as part of any adult bedroom or professional, comfortable office space.
The firm leads on a promise of durability both in terms of physicality and in terms of look. Like Dreamweaver flooring, Anderson Tuftex products are designed to resist fading and other wear and tear that would otherwise impact your floors. It is a brand which is actually part of the Shaw Industries line, though this collection is still treated as its own entity. Therefore, you will always be able to safely tell the difference between the two makes.
Finding the Right Brand
As you can see, there are different brands which specialize in various types of soft flooring. As established, not everyone is going to want or benefit from the durability and tough exterior of an Anderson Tuftex carpet. Most families will, by and large, head towards larger collections owned by Mohawk, Stainmaster and Shaw. That is no bad thing, as both have an excellent reputation.
Knowing which brand to look for when it comes to finding the ideal flooring choice is key. However, it must also be said that you may even come across the perfect brand while browsing. Do make sure to keep these brands in mind just in case.
Finding the perfect carpet shouldn't ever be a hassle. There are plenty of factors to consider but do remember that there are always experts on hand to help you find that perfect fit for your home.
If you would like to know more about our services or what you can expect from choosing or installing carpeting in your home, feel free to use our quote calculator to prepare your budget in advance.
Q: Does my home need to be a specific temperature before carpet is installed?
A: Yes. In most cases, it’s best to ensure the room where carpet will be installed is between 65 to 80 degrees for at least a few days beforehand.
Q: Will I be able to see seams on my carpet?
A: It’s possible depending on the style and how it’s installed, and something you should discuss with the installers or research if you plan to install the carpet yourself. They will be more visible with some styles as well, like looped and low pile carpeting.
Q: When renovating an area, how long should we wait to install carpet after painting the room?
A: It’s recommended that you wait at least 24 hours before installing carpet in any room of your home that has been painted.
Q: What’s the best type of vacuum cleaner to use on carpet?
A: That all depends on the type of carpet you have. Plush styles will require something a little more delicate than what you’d want for wool or low pile. Our vacuum cleaner buying guide can help you find the right choice for carpet in your home.
Q: How important is stain resistance technology in carpet; is it worth paying more for?
A: If you have a home with pets, children, or heavy foot traffic, buying carpet with an additional layer of protection can certainly be worthwhile. Just consider
Q: Can I sleep in a newly carpeted room the same day it’s been installed?
A: Yes, but be aware that padding or the carpet itself can have a certain smell. If possible, you may want to consider installation during a time of year when the windows can be opened.
A: That’s a great question and depends on your monitor, the website, and your vision. Our advice is to order samples once you find something you like online if you can’t find the style or brand locally.
Q: What’s the best way to find a
A: While most big-box retailers and carpet stores offer installation, you will have more options if you choose your own installer. Ensure they have references or examples of their work and ask if they are licensed and insured. You can also check their information through Google to see if they have reviews on home improvement sites.
Q: How often should I deep clean my carpet?
A: If you want to keep your carpet looking its best, once per year is ideal. Otherwise, it’s recommended you clean your carpet once every 24 months.
Q: What’s the best type of padding to use with new carpet?
A: Several factors go into choosing carpet padding, so there’s no perfect option as it depends on the type of carpet along with your needs and budget. Check out our carpet padding guide if you want to learn more about padding.
Q: How do I know when it’s time to install new carpet in my home?
A: Is your carpet starting to shed consistently or unravel towards the seams? If so, it’s time to start looking for new carpet. Typically, after around 10-15 years, most carpet will begin to show its age, although some brands and styles will hold up for significantly longer.