Choose These Carpet Types For The High-Traffic Areas In Your House

Buying a home with carpet, or thinking about installing some, is often intimidating as we immediately imagine all of the stains that could litter the floor over the years. We all want spaces that can seamlessly host dinner parties and birthday celebrations with children and pets running wild without worrying about damage to our property. Hardwood floors can be a much pricier investment, costing between $8 to $20 per square foot as opposed to a carpet's average price point of $3 to $14. And let's face it, hardwood floors don't necessarily keep your feet warm in colder months or offer a soft landing when tripping down the stairs.

Fortunately, not all carpets will result in stains and tears, and you won't have to sacrifice design with resilient alternatives as each viable option offers a variety of colors and styles. There are some great carpet choices, commonly synthetic with lower piles, that perform extremely well in high-traffic areas and should last for decades.

Nylon carpet

Nylon carpet is an exceptional choice for your home if you have children and pets. This carpet's synthetic fibers make for a very stain- and moisture-resistant surface. Per Avalon Flooring, its first commercial use was in 1939 for women's stockings and was even used for fishing lines and toothbrush bristles. It wasn't until the 1950s that the material was spun into carpet, however, making it the first truly synthetic fiber. Nylon is static-free in areas that aren't too dry, as well as colorfast, meaning its pigments don't dissolve from moisture, heat, and most cleaning products.

Steam cleaners are a great and easy cleaning method for nylon, and it's recommended to be treated once every 12 to 18 months. While this is not the softest approach on the market, it is one of the most durable, which is reflected in its slightly higher price point. Depending on how creative you want to get with colors and patterns, the average cost per square foot for nylon carpet is $2 to $8.

Olefin carpet

Also known as polypropylene, olefin carpet is recommended for indoor and outdoor use for its high moisture resistance and quick-drying qualities. This also makes it great for basements that are naturally more susceptible to mildew and mold damage or for waterfront properties. Most olefin products are solution-dyed, ensuring the color is built into the fibers to avoid sun-bleaching and discoloration from chemical cleaners. Like most synthetic options, it's stain-resistant and easy to clean.

Polypropylene is manufactured by melting plastic pellets that are then spun and woven into fabric. If you're considering olefin for your home, it's important to note that this carpet only holds up somewhat well against friction and isn't quite as durable as nylon. This would be best installed in an area that won't see much furniture movement or other heavy items constantly dragging along the carpet. Pricing is very reasonable at $2 to $7 per square foot.

Polyester carpet

Polyester is constructed with polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is made with recycled plastics like water bottles and other waste. This makes it not only a durable option but also an eco-friendly one. Polyester is said to be more stain-resistant than nylon, and its recyclable quality ensures that in a few decades, it won't be left behind to harm our planet. Previous generations may have seen polyester carpets that lacked resiliency, but new technology has drastically improved the material's performance.

Despite being manufactured from materials that often end up in landfills and clog our ocean, polyester is praised for its luxurious and high-end feel at an affordable price of $4 to $8 per square foot. Polyester carpet is best fit for moderate to high foot traffic, commonly seen in family rooms and bedrooms. This carpet is resistant to mold and mildew and is hypoallergenic, making it an optimal choice for anyone with pets. Because of its affordable pricing and durability, this carpet is often used in newly built apartment complexes that see a frequent change of residents.

Wool carpet

Wool carpet is a top choice for many because it's a natural material made from sheep wool. This holds up exceptionally well in the busiest areas of our homes, like stairs and hallways. This renewable and biodegradable carpet option is resistant to stains and moisture but less than synthetic carpets. Its natural membrane keeps spills and dirt from sinking into the carpet, making it easy to vacuum all the grime sitting on the surface. Wool's natural elasticity also keeps it from being crushed underweight, including furniture. You will find wool carpet on the more expensive side at $5 to $26 per square foot.

While wool has many great qualities, including its highly soft hand, some factors should be considered before deciding on this carpet for your home. Since it's a natural material, it can fade with sun exposure and be harmed by chemical cleaners. Its lower stain resistance means that this might not be the best foundation for a dining room where meals are often taken, and it's more favorable to insects like moths and beetles. Rather than DIY home remedies, hiring professionals is best to deep-clean this plush and upscale option. If properly maintained, however, a wool carpet will last decades and won't disappoint.