Most carpeting is made by pulling the fibers through a woven backing; then additional layers of backing are glued on to provide strength and thickness. A carpet pad adds cushioning and helps prolong the life of the carpet. Indoor/outdoor carpeting withstands weather and usually is installed without a pad.

Some carpets use a rating system that indicates the product’s ability to withstand wear and tear. Found on the carpet label, the system is graduated from 1 to 5, with 5 being the best. A rating of 3 to 4 is considered normal.

Carpeting costs $2 to $12 per square foot. Add 50 cents to $2 per square foot for padding and installation, depending on the complexity of the job.

Wool carpeting is the standard of quality. It's naturally durable and resistant to moisture and stains, and it’s considered to have the best feel against hands and bare feet. With the exception of wool, most carpets are made of synthetic fibers. Various types include the following:

Nylon is exceptionally strong and resistant to wear. Make sure the carpet you buy is treated to reduce static electricity. Acrylic has physical properties that approximate wool. It resists wear, crushing and mildew, and it’s inhospitable for insects. Polyester produces bright colors and is highly resistant to moisture, but stains can be difficult to remove. Polypropylene olefin is used for indoor/outdoor carpeting. It's extremely resistant to stains, moisture and mildew.