There are generally three types of tufted carpet construction: cut pile, loop pile, and cut and loop pile. In a cut pile style, the carpet loops have been cut to create individual tips. Examples of this style include velvets and textured saxonies. In a loop pile style, the carpet loops are not cut or sheared. Instead, the intact loops form the surface of the carpet. Examples include multi-level loops and berbers. In a cut and loop pile style, as the name suggests, you will see a combination of the previous two styles. This type of carpet can range from very striking patterns to subtle tracery designs. Advantages of each: Cut pile styles come in a tremendous variety, making them suitable for virtually any area of the house; some of the textured types do well at minimizing footprints. Loop pile carpets are very durable, making them well-suited for high-traffic areas. Cut and loop styles come in multi-colorations and random patterns and have excellent soil-hiding properties.
When selecting a cut pile carpet, you may want to look at the twist, which refers to the number of times the fiber is twisted together in each individual carpet yarn. The tighter the twist, the more durable the carpet will be. For loop pile styles, the measure of quality is the tuft bind, which refers to the relative strength of the attachment of yarn loops to the carpet backing. Higher quality carpets have a denser tuft bind.
Another factor to consider is type of fiber. Most residential carpet is made from four types of fibers or blends of those fibers: nylon, polyester, polypropylene or wool. Nylon is the most common fiber because of its durability, resiliency and soil resistance. Polyester is a soft fiber that provides great color clarity; it is stain- and fade-resistant and less expensive than nylon. Polypropylene, also known as olefin, is gaining in popularity due to its stain-, fade- and moisture-resistance as well as its low cost. Wool, the original carpet fiber, is more expensive and less stain-resistant than the newer synthetics. Yet, it is still sought-after because of its luxury and beauty.