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Have Kids? You NEED this Carpet

You love your kids, and your kids love running around and playing on the floor. You know that carpet is the best choice of flooring for protecting little hands and knees, but you also know that kids spill — and between colored drinks, chocolate, wax crayons, and more, it can be hard to keep a carpet clean.

Well, we can’t keep your kids from making messes (though we do have some tips for the most stubborn stains), but we can recommend a carpet that’s durable, comfortable, and long-lasting.

Pressed for time? We’ll cut right to the chase: a triexta carpet fiber in a Berber style with a factory-applied stain resistance treatment is the best carpet choice for you. Want to know why? Keep reading!

Carpet Materials

If your kids occasionally spill on the carpet — and let’s face it, all kids do — then you can pretty much take natural fibers off the table. Natural carpet fibers like wool and sisal have their own pros and cons, but one consistent feature of natural carpet fibers is that they absorb liquid stains very easily.

If you’re choosing among synthetic fibers, you’ll be choosing from three major groups of materials. Every carpet brand will have its own proprietary fibers, but they all fall into the same three general types:

  • Polyester/PET — PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate, which is a bit of a mouthful, so we just shorten it to PET. It’s a great choice for carpet on a budget. If you have to carpet a large area like a finished basement, or if there’s an area like a kids’ room where you don’t want to spend the money only to replace the carpet after a few years, polyester is a great choice.

On the other hand, PET isn’t as durable as nylon or triexta, so for a high-traffic area like hallways and stairs, we don’t recommend it for the long term.

  • Nylon — Nylon has been the king of high-quality residential carpet fibers for years, but it might have a new challenger in triexta (more on that in a second). Nylon is an excellent balance of appearance, comfort, and durability, granting you soft floors with maximum longevity, no matter what your kids throw at them.
  • Triexta — triexta was invented by DuPont, who also invented nylon all those years ago. It’s chemically very similar to polyester, but distinct enough that it’s recognized as a different class of material by the FTC.

Triexta appears poised to be the next best thing in residential carpet. It was only introduced in 2009, so its long-term durability is yet to be seen — but so far, triexta appears to be the perfect fiber. It’s hydrophobic, so it doesn’t absorb liquid at all. Its fibers are thin, making soft and comfortable underfoot. And it’s so durable that Mohawk tested it by installing it in a rhinoceros enclosure for three weeks, after which it came out looking as good as new!

The bottom line: we recommend a triexta fiber like SmartStrand for households with young or active kids.

Carpet Styles

Like carpet materials, carpet styles also fall into three main categories: cut-pile, loop pile, and cut-and-loop.

  • Level loop carpet looks like rows of small yarn loops, packed close together. Variations on level loop carpet include Berber, a type of carpet where the loops are crossed and closely packed, and multi-level loop, where the loops are different lengths to add a bit of texture.

Loop-pile carpets protect the ends of the fibers, so they’re more durable and longer-lasting than cut-pile carpets, but they’re not quite as soft.

  • Cut-pile carpet is made by cutting the loops in level loop or loop-pile carpet into individual strands for a softer surface. Cut-pile carpets have a velvety appearance and feel very soft and comfortable under your feet, but they’ve also much more likely to absorb liquids and dirt, so they’re not as easy to keep clean. Since the ends of the yarns are exposed, they’re less durable than loop-pile as well, so we recommend them for bedrooms or other low-traffic areas.
  • Cut-and-loop carpet is simply a hybrid of the two types above. Some of the fibers are cut and some aren’t, giving you a compromise between softness and durability. Occasionally, the loops and cut strands are arranged in patterns to add a little variety to your carpets.

The bottom line: we recommend a Berber carpet for high-traffic areas in households with kids, where spill resistance and durability are key. Berber carpet is easier to vacuum, provides a cushioned surface that’s perfect for playing on, and lasts until your kids are all grown up.

Stain Resistance

The last thing to consider is stain resistance. There are plenty of aftermarket stain resistance treatments you can apply to your carpets, either sprayed on or applied through a carpet cleaning machine, but none of them is as long-lasting as a factory treatment.

A factory-applied stain resistance treatment is applied to each individual fiber before the fibers are made into carpet, creating a coating that’s as durable and long-lasting as the carpet itself. A factory treatment also won’t wear off, even with repeated hot water extraction cleaning (steam cleaning) or vacuuming.

The Perfect Carpet for Your Home

If we had to pick just one carpet style for a household with young children, it would be Sorona SmartStrand in a Berber style. It’s not the softest carpet in the world, but it’s perfect for playtime, running around, or just sitting and watching a movie. It’s stain resistant, doesn’t absorb dirt and dust, and it will easily last fifteen years if cared for properly.

But don’t take our word for it from one blog post! At Sloane’s, we’re carpet experts. Come down to our warehouse and take a look around. Tell us about your family, your pets, your lifestyle, and your personal aesthetic. We’ll find the carpet that’s right for you.