If you’re thinking of installing carpeting in your home, it's essential to understand all your options so you can choose the one that best meets your needs. Whether you want something soft and plush under your bare feet or something more durable, there is a soft-surface floor covering for everyone, every budget, and every area of your home.

Looped construction: How they all start out


Every soft surface floor covering starts out as a looped construction. The level loop has uncut fibers and a tight overall texture, making it durable but not soft. On the other hand, the Berber style is durable and, depending on the fiber, can be softer than a level loop.

Cut-piles: soft and often durable


Once the fibers are looped, they either remain that way or are cut into various lengths; you'll often hear words like the low or high pile in the carpet store.

The basic cut-pile has even short fibers and is suitable for all traffic levels. Saxony is also a cut-pile, but the fibers are longer and sometimes packed so dense that it becomes plush. Referred to as Saxony Straight (or Saxony Plush), this is best for low traffic rooms, as the fibers go in one direction only, showing footprints or other markings.  Another version, called Saxony Texture (or Trackless), has fibers that slightly curl and won't show marks.

High pile rugs have long, loose fibers. This includes the shag, which is best for low-traffic rooms as it requires extra TLC to keep it clean. Frieze has long-ish fibers that are twisted so tightly they curl, giving it a more casual look. Frieze is durable and great for high-traffic areas.


Low pile rugs have short, tightly woven fibers. They can be pretty soft and are also more durable and easier to keep clean. Cut and loop have variations in fiber height to create fun patterns like geometrics or pin-dots, suitable for any traffic level.