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Carpet Selection for the Home: Broadloom or Carpet Tiles.

Updated on August 27, 2011
Broadloom curvy design solid with textured compliment
Broadloom curvy design solid with textured compliment | Source

Carpet is often a great choice for the home!

Now, I know some of you are thinking, low quality boring beige in apartment rentals, or the shaggy burnt orange carpet you remember growing up with in the 70’s. But, there are many great looking elegant stylish carpets out there. There is something very comfortable, cozy and safe about carpet. When I say safe, I mean for little kids running around and crawling around and the elderly trying to get around without slipping. But once you’ve decided on carpet, it can still be little mind boggling out there with so many options.

There are two types of carpet; broadloom and tiles. Broadloom comes in large rolls of any length that come in 12’, 13’6” and 15’ wide and more recently 6’ wide. The 6’ wide is an ideal choice for installation access in elevators to a high rise small condo or a tight corner to a loft above your garage. Tiles are sold in a few sizes but, 18”, 24” square and 36”x18” is the most popular.

Here are some things to consider that will come down to five issues: design, budget, construction/performance, comfort and maintenance.


Cost: The cost of the carpet itself (not including installation) for broadloom is typically priced less perhaps as much as 15-25% in many cases.

Under-Pad: Typically for residential application for comfort you will want to go with an under padding. The padding comes in a few different densities and thicknesses. A 5/16” is good for the more three-dimensional sculpture combined loop and cut pile heavier carpets and 3/8” med size is the most popular for a simple cut pile, I rarely suggest the thickest of ½”, because under door clearance and aligning with other flooring in your home can be a problem and it usually isn't necessary. Going with a more dense padding is a wise choice if you have ‘heavy traffic’ in the hallways.

Construction and Performance: Construction and performance of the carpet, whether it's broadloom or tile gives you both the design and performance qualities. There are many different types of carpet construction as many as eight. I could write a whole article on construction, but my favorite for wear and tear is ‘loop’ or any combination with a loop. Frieze is a very tight constructed carpet and performs well especially in high traffic areas like hallways, stairs, entrances to rooms, etc. Frieze will give you a commercial look and feel. A combination of loop, cut pile or tip shear to give a sculpture texture also will be more tenacious than 100% cut pile. If you go with a Saxony or plush velvet for a very formal look, go with an expensive one that is heavier, it’ll be worth it in the long run, carpet is priced by the weight. Ask yourself how many people are in and out of your home on a weekly basis: big family, lots of parties? Nylon is my favorite fiber for holding up over the years and is the most popular. Dye method is chosen based on color fastness (how likely it is to fade from sunlight). This is not as much of an issue in homes as it is in commercial applications like public building lobbies.

Design Concepts: You can create a design focal point in a space with either broadloom or tile. But with broadloom can be very creative in a large open space or many rooms off of a large space or long hallway. Most carpet patterns come with a coordinate or sometimes two or three that are part of the same collection and designed to use together as compliments. This works great in both homes and corporate offices. You may choose the less expensive ‘field’ pattern for your hallway and the bolder patterned compliment in the bedrooms off of the hallway. For example, if you have a very large open family room or den consider doing a curvilinear or angel design incorporating two different carpets or where carpet meets ceramic tile. If you are working with an interior designer or architect, they can prepare a finish plan for you with different design options.


Maintenance: As a designer that does mainly commercial projects, I can’t tell you enough how facility departments love the logistic of carpet tiles. It is a case of easy access to anything underneath; cables, wiring, etc. Also if one gets badly stained or damaged, it is easily switched out by their facilities person.

Cost: The disadvantage is budget if you don’t install them yourself. Including the installation, carpet tiles and often more expensive. You are paying for the factories cuts, modularity and vinyl backing.

Design Concepts: In my designs, I like to break up the monotony of long aisles within rows of cubicles in large office spaces by doing different patterns or specifying the same tile with a texture or pattern and doing quarter or random turns. Most carpet tile sample books will show installation photos of the same space so you can see the different looks you can create with different turns of four tiles. You can come up with at least four different looks and add a splash of color with a bright solid 36x18 tile. The looks are endless. There is no rule that you can’t create this look in your home too.

Easy Do It Yourself Install: Carpet tile is constructed with a vinyl back padding and can be dry and your purchase the adhesive or even more convenient are the peel and stuck to the sub-floor. They are similar to installing VCT (Vinyl Composite Tiles). If you have a room where you throw a lot of parties and food and drink spills are an issue and you want a great look, but underfoot comfort isn’t an issue as much, carpet tile may well be a good choice. They are easy to install, so it can end up being the same or a little less than broadloom if you do it yourself.

Carpet tiles Ashlar configuration
Carpet tiles Ashlar configuration | Source
Carpet tiles Quarter turn
Carpet tiles Quarter turn | Source


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