Best Carpet for Kids
Fletcher - Carpet Expert & Consumer Advocate
What is a good carpet choice for kids and
Q. I am looking for a good quality carpet that can
withstand children, cats, dogs and heavy traffic. I have a formal living
room that you land in upon entering my house. To get to any other part
of the house at that point, one needs to walk through the living room.
My biggest problem is the traffic marks from the front door, across the
living room and down the hallway to the bedrooms. This gets dirty fast.
A Nylon Frieze is one of the most
durable and best-wearing carpet styles. There is only one type of carpet fiber
that can withstand kids, pets, and heavy traffic, it's a Nylon Frieze.
Depending on how long you want your carpet to last, you need to choose
accordingly. I suggest you take my free Carpet
Traffic Test and follow the prompts until you determine what
face-weight and pile density might best meet your needs and goals.
For example: A
100% nylon frieze carpet style
with a tuft twist of at least 6, a face weight of 38 to 45-oz, and a pile density of at
1800-2200 is designed to withstand 10
to 15 years of
medium to heavy
traffic. Frieze styles
wear so well because they have a higher tuft twist and nylon is the most
Points to consider:
- The lower your foot traffic the longer your
carpet will last.
- You have to take proper care of your carpet
or it will wear out faster and void
- Choosing the wrong pad will cause your
carpet to develop wrinkles and void your warranty.
- Your carpet must be installed correctly or
it may develop wrinkles and void your
You need to vacuum frequently and have your carpet cleaned
on a regular basis - at
least once every 12-18 months by a Certified Carpet Cleaning Company. You might want to consider laying down a plastic
runner or throw rugs in the heavy traffic areas, stairs and hallways.
Is a looped Berber a good choice for
children or pets?
Q. How well does Berber withstand high traffic areas? Is
it easy to keep clean and what kind of padding is the best? I am going
crazy trying to decide if I want a plush carpet or Berber. I have a
newborn son and know I will soon have lots of messes to clean up!
Don't spend a lot on carpet if
you have small children! Children are very hard on carpets.
They spill everything imaginable and parents are often too tired to
clean up messes quickly enough to keep up with the demand. For this
reason and many others, looped Berbers made from the Olefin
Fiber are hard to clean, snag easily
and are not recommended for folks
with small children or accident prone pets.
For folks without children or accident prone pets:
Berber may be a good choice. Most Berber styles are made with
loops. Some have loops and cut loops, Some have patterns and some do
not, while other Berber styles have no loops at all and are called
"Cut-Berbers" (also known as a California Berber) Berber carpet is often made from Nylon
or Olefin, and of the two, Nylon would be the better choice. Nylon costs
more but it lasts
much longer and cleans easier than Berbers made from Olefin.
Berber Carpet Cleaning Complaints
Why do some Berber carpets attract dirt and
are hard to keep clean?
While Berber styles are elegant and beautiful
when new, there is a common complaint from homeowners with Berber carpets made
with the Olefin fiber. Consumers often report that within a week or two after a professional cleaning, previous
spots and stains tend to reappear as if they were never cleaned at all. This is
because the Olefin fiber is inherently oily and often makes Olefin hard to clean and
prone to attracting dirt like a magnet. Old stains tend to reappear like magic.
Why do Some Olefin fibers attract dirt?
Here's why... During the manufacturing
Olefin fiber is naturally oily. Fiber makers use a special process to clean the Olefin
fibers to try to remove these oils, but often cut corners in order to
reduce costs. Some manufacturers put
their Olefin fibers through a "three-phase" cleaning process to try to
remove most of the oils. To make a better product, the fiber maker will use a
"five-phase" cleaning process
which removes much more of these oils from the fiber.
This makes a significantly less-oily fiber that cleans much easier and
doesn't attract dirt nearly as much.
Using the five-phase process to removing excess oils from Olefin is a
more time consuming and costly procedure, manufacturers must charge more for these
premium fibers and therefore you will pay more for a carpet made from
these premium olefin fibers. Unfortunately
consumers have no way of knowing which Olefin fibers have been cleaned
with the "five-phase" process and those that have only had the
Rule of thumb: I think it would be
reasonable to assume that most Berbers priced under $13.50 per yard ($1.50 sf)
would be made using the "three-phase" process. You might have to spend
$18 per yard or more to get the better grade of olefin fiber.
Most carpet salespeople have no knowledge
about this manufacturing process and asking them questions about it might be
futile. However, perhaps you could ask them to call the carpet manufacturer and
see if they can tell you which cleaning process was used in the Berber carpet
you are considering. Good luck with that.
Fact: Cheap Berber carpets snag easily and wear out
Inexpensive looped Berbers also snag easily.
Don't fall for those cheap Berber prices and think that this carpet will
last for you. It surely won't if you have active kids or pets. If a Berber carpet is priced under
per yard, then it is likely a cheaply made carpet only designed to last a
couple of years at best. You'll be plagued with lots of snags, runs and
stains that will not be easily cleanable. Berber is a bad choice for
folks with kids or pets. A good quality Nylon Berber would clean easier,
wear better, and retain its new appearance much longer than would an
If you decide buy a Berber carpet and
want it to last, be sure to select one with smaller loops, as the bigger
loops tend fall over quickly and look worn out sooner. As far as pad goes, an
8-pound minimum density, and a 1/4" to 3/8" thickness is
required for all Berber styles. Some Berbers are made from wool, which is an
excellent natural fiber, but are very costly. For this reason, I do not
recommend wool Berber carpets for folks with children or pets.
The Benefits of Nylon Carpet
Nylon fibers are not inherently oily
like Olefin and therefore do not have the problem of attracting dirt.
Berber carpets made of Nylon are more expensive but offer a longer
lifespan, look like new longer and have ease of cleaning. Nylon is
considered to be the fiber that offers the absolute best value for your
How do I choose the Right Carpet Fiber? What is BCF?
Q. I have four kids and three dogs. I need a carpet that
is able to take a beating. My question: I am confused about carpet
specifications. What is BCF? I see these initials on the back of
some carpet samples but not others? What does this mean?
BCF stands for Bulked Continuous
Filament. You want to buy a carpet made from a continuous filament
fiber. The work "Bulked" refers to a process where the
manufacturer makes the strand of fiber beefed up, or bulked to create a
fatter and more beefy feel. Think of it like using a volumizer on your
hair. It makes it feel thicker and fuller. The "CF"
means the strand is formed in one long strand. When they make
carpet from a CF fiber is virtually eliminates the shedding and fuzzing
that you experience with a carpet made of a staple fiber. Learn About
My Carpet Buying Guide
A staple fiber is short lengths of
fiber, usually 3 to 10 inches long, that are spun together. When carpet
is made from a staple fiber, the carpet will shed and fuzz for up to a
year after installation. Unless you like vacuuming three times a day, I
suggest you be sure to buy a carpet made from a Continuous Filament
If the carpet sample does not indicate that the fiber is made
from a continuous filament strand, then you can assume that the carpet
pile is made from staple fibers and therefore will shed and fuzz for a
period of time after installation. The amount and duration of shedding
and fuzzing is determined by the quality of the carpet and the length of
the staple fibers used in construction.
There is no way to know for sure
how long the carpet will shed. Some carpet samples might use the
abbreviation of CF, for Continuous Filament, or CFN for Continuous
Filament Nylon. If a carpet sample is marked "100% nylon" you
can assume it is NOT a continuous filament product.