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The Best Carpets For Kids And Pets

If your only priority was durability, your whole home would be surfaced in laminate flooring or ceramic tile. But that wouldn’t be warm, comfortable, or especially stylish. Carpet is much more luxurious, but it’s a delicate balance between durability and comfort.

Kids and pets will put your carpets through the wringer, from spilled food and abrasion to dirt and dyed liquids. When you choose a carpet for a household with kids and pets, there are a few characteristics you’ll want to focus on: stain resistance, durability, and softness.

What Type Of Fiber Should You Choose?

Organic fibers like wool are great for many homes, but their fibers are porous and thus easier to stain, so they’re not the best choice for houses with kids and dogs. Instead, you’ll probably want to go with a synthetic fiber.

The problem is, there are a lot of synthetic fibers out there, and it’s hard to know the difference between polyester, Sorona, nylon, and olefin (also called polypropylene). The truth is, when it comes to carpet fibers, there’s a strong correlation between cost and quality — what you pay for is what you get.

Among synthetic fibers, nylon and Sorona are the most costly, but they’re also durable, resistant to stains, soft, and retain their appearance for years without getting work down. For less-trafficked and less-seen areas like basements or guest rooms, polyester fibers are a bargain, but at the cost of some of their durability and longevity.

What Style Of Carpet Should I Get?

Carpet styles are a confusing spectrum of texture, durability, and appearance that can be hard to keep track of. Here are the basics:

Cut pile is a series of loops of yarn, cut to a common height to give the appearance of single strands. Within the cut pile category, you’ll find variations like Saxony, plush, textured, frieze, and shag. Don’t worry if it’s confusing — the experts at Sloane’s will explain everything when you come in.

Level loop pile is made of loops of yarn rather than strands. Those loops are usually short and densely packed, making a durable, easy-to-clean surface. Multi-level loop pile is similar, but the loops are of varying heights, which gives the carpet a little more texture and depth. Sometimes the loops are even arranged in patterns.

Finally, cut and loop pile is what it sounds like — a mixture of cut strands and closed loops. This gives your carpet a more interesting texture and combines the softness of cut pile with the durability of loop pile.

When it comes to kids and pets, you’ll have to consider the trade-off between comfort and durability. Level loop pile is what you’re likely to find in office buildings — it’s dense, durable, and easy to clean, but not very warm or soft. It’s a good choice for entryways, playrooms, and other high-traffic areas. For living areas, cut pile is softer and more comfortable on little hands and feet.

What About Color?

Color is a personal, subjective choice, so it’s a good idea to bring in swatches of upholstery or curtains, paint chips from nearby walls, or at least photos of your furniture and wall art to get the best match you can.

That said, there are some things to consider. For example, lighter colors tend to make rooms look lighter and airier — if you’re finishing a basement, dark colors probably aren’t the way to go. Dark colors are dramatic and give a luxurious flair, but will show off dust and pet hair.

Can I Treat My Carpet?

Even if you choose a stain-resistant fiber, it’s not a bad idea to have your carpets treated with Scotchgard as well. If you’ve ever had your carpets professionally cleaned, they’ve probably offered you a coating option — while it has its drawbacks with respect to your furniture, it’s worth considering for your carpet.

But spraying your carpets, or even adding it to the cleaning fluid, is not nearly as durable as buying carpet treated with Scotchgard directly from the factory. When it’s applied as part of the manufacturing process, the Scotchgard coats every fiber of the carpet all the way down to the backing for total stain and soil protection. That factory-applied coating will never wear off or walk off, making it a perfect choice for households with children and pets.