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Most carpets available in North America are of the Berber carpet type, which uses a looped pattern that emulates the style used in traditional, hand-woven carpets made by North African artisans. Since these types serve so durably, resisting dirt and stains while masking footprints and vacuum tracks, it's easy to see why they're so popular. However, they are by no means the only type of carpet to be found on this continent, nor are they necessarily the best or even easiest to maintain. Because of their somewhat dense nature, and the fact that there are different kinds of Berber-style carpet, some hold dirt more tenaciously than others, and some are tall and plush enough that footprints do remain visible.

Sisal carpets are a very popular type of carpeting for those with strong environmental concerns or sensitivities to synthetic materials. Since the Sisal material is naturally derived from the agave cactus, it offers an attractive alternative to materials such as nylon, vinyl and polyester, and it helps to keep dust and other allergens to a minimum. Like other carpets, its fiber is long-lasting, but does not come with the lengthy warranties that are found on many synthetic options.

If you are buying carpet for your home, then you may not be very interested in either commercial carpeting or carpet tile systems - but by learning about them, you'll be better equipped to decide what type of floor covering you really need. Most commercial and industrial buildings get a lot more foot traffic than the average household, so commercial carpeting and modular tile systems are both attractive ways to manage wear and tear. These systems also prevent dirt and grime from making themselves readily apparent. In order to be extra tough, commercial carpets are generally made of nylon, polypropylene or other synthetics, minimizing the need for replacement.

Carpet tile systems offer modularity and flexibility, allowing you to replace only the worn segments as they age. Another option is to simply rearrange the carpet tiles so that the aging segments are placed in lower-traffic areas, to maximize the useful life of the carpet as a whole.

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