Choosing the right carpet for you and your family can be a little bit confusing. What fabric is best? Nylon, Triexta, PET, Olefin! What is a “Tuft Twist” rating? Besides the questions you may have about the types of carpet, you will also need to evaluate your family lifestyle, your budget and the layout of your home. So, let’s take this step by step, and help you figure out how to choose the right carpet for your home.

Your Family Lifestyle

To find the right carpet in your budget you will need to decide what your number one priority is and work down from there. Your family lifestyle is going to have a large impact on that answer. A large family with a lot of pets might decide stain resistance is their number one priority and the singleton with no pets might decide that softness of the fabric is the number one priority for them.

There is no wrong answer, but here are a few things you should consider.

  • Do you have children living in the home?
  • Do you have pets?
  • Do you have a mudroom area where shoes can be removed when you walk in the door?
  • Does your job often require you to work outdoors?
  • How many people live in your household?
  • How much traffic does the area you plan on putting the carpet normally get?

Once you answer these questions you can see what your number one priority will be. A high traffic area with a large family may choose durability, lots of kids and pets might equal stain resistance, a low traffic area where you spend most of your time in bare feet might mean softness is your number one. Like I said, no wrong answer, but this answer will help you when you are making your decision.

Fiber Types

The type of fabric you choose will be the number one thing in determining durability, longevity, stain resistance and ultimately the price of the carpet you are considering. What your carpet is made of is the base of every carpet.


Nylon is my number one fabric choice. It is durable, long lasting, stain resistant and comfortable. Nylon is a great choice for anyone — whether or not you have kids or pets.

High traffic or low traffic. Nylon keeps looking great and is easy to clean and maintain.

To choose your nylon carpet you want to look at a few things. A high-quality nylon will be listed as 6.6 nylon, Mohawk nylon or Stain-Master nylon. If none of this is listed on the manufacturers label, the nylon is likely a lower quality and may not last as long or be as durable as a higher quality nylon.

You will also want to check the denier of the nylon. The denier is the filament strength of the nylon. A higher denier will be a longer lasting carpet. Some carpets advertised as “soft touch” will be a lower denier and may not be as durable or as stain resistant as a standard denier nylon.


Triexta is a Mohawk brand fiber and is good option for those who don’t have the budget for nylon. A Triexta carpet is durable and stain resistant, but a much newer product than nylon so although it seems to hold up well, it doesn’t have the time-tested reputation of nylon.

To date it seems to keep its shape and color very well and last in high traffic areas. If I had anything negative to say, it does seem to be a little bit harder to clean than nylon, but if I were on a budget, this is the fiber I would go with.

Polyester (Sometimes called PET)

This is my least favorite type of fiber used in carpet. Although it has a pretty good stain resistant rating and is very soft, it also tends to shed and isn’t nearly as durable as nylon or Triexta. If this carpet were to be used anywhere it should be in extremely low traffic areas or better yet, not at all.

Olefin (Polypropylene)

Olefin is mostly used in commercial and outdoor applications. It is constructed of tightly looped Berber in a short nubby weave to conceal dirt and grime. This carpet has great stain resistance if it is treated with a stain resistor chemical and can be very long lasting.

If you have a very high traffic area, this might be a great choice for your home. Be sure to check the looping to make sure they are very tightly looped. The tighter the loop the more durable the carpet.

A Few Other Things to Consider

Now that you have chosen the right fabric for your home, there are 3 other things that can change the quality of the carpet and how long it will last.

Pile Density Rating

A pile density rating is a mathematical formula based on yarn face weight, pile thickness and pile height. Pile density ratings are given from 1,000 to 6,000 and the higher the density rating the more durable the carpet will be. Look on the manufacturers tag to find the rating.

Tuft Twist Rating

The tuft twist rating is the rating that will tell you how long your carpet will keep its just installed look. A tuft twist is a group of fibers that have been twisted together while being heated, similar to the way a curling iron works. Once each fiber is twisted and “heat set”, many fibers are twisted together to create a “tuft”. The more fibers in the tuft, the higher the rating. The higher the rating, the longer your carpet will keep its brand-new look.

Twist tuft ratings range from 3.0 – 7.5, look for something with at least a rating of 5.0 to get a carpet that will look great for years to come.

The Carpet Padding

Installing the wrong carpet padding can cut the life of your carpet in half, and in some cases, void the warranty. A high-quality pad 3/8” to 1/2” thick with a load rating of at least 6 pounds is recommended by most manufacturers. You might save money on the front end, but in the long run you will be replacing your carpet in half the time you otherwise would.

A Lot to Consider

Installing a new carpet in your home is a big decision. From the fibers to the price there are a lot of things to consider. Take everything a step at a time, ask lots of questions and do your research before you plunk down your hard-earned money on a new carpet.

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