Whilst house hinting this week, I was reminded about what a difference carpet makes to an interior. I walked into a house and instantly felt the plush softness with a little spring underfoot. Luxury and quality jumped straight into my head. It felt really great. We have a very strong and very durable loop pile wool carpet in our home and it has been fantastic over seven years with three small children and pets, it still looks as good as new, but it doesn't have the "bounce" that high quality cut pile carpets have especially with a good underlay.
I will talk a little about carpets, and refer you back to interiordezine.com because we have extensive information on carpet there.
In the New Zealand residential or domestic market we predominantly use 100% wool carpet or a 80% wool 20% nylon mix. After all we are one of the top producers of wool in the world. Wool has so many fabulous qualities that it is an ideal fibre for making carpet.
This was the case for commercial applications but now we are more likely to specify synthetic fibres like nylon or polypropylene. This is because of a number of factors, the ability to clean them, cost, durability, color retention, and many more. (Visit interiordezine.com to find out more, links at the end of the article). Commercial fitouts seem to have a high turnover and companies move to new premises or refit their interior on a 5 - 7 year cycle, they no longer require products that will last 10 or 20 years, therefore the original cost needs to be lower and the quality is generally less. I am not saying that synthetic fibres are not high quality, it is like anything else, there are numerous scales of quality of all carpet products and generally the cheaper they are the less time they will hold their appearance be it a natural fibre or a synthetic fibre. The lower end synthetic carpets are generally made of polypropylene.
Something I now use frequently in commercial fitouts is carpet tiles. These are great as they are loose laid over the floor allowing you to replace individual tiles should they get damaged or suffer wear and tear. They are quick to install and like any product come in a range of qualities to suit any budget.
So back to domestic or residential carpets now, my advice when specifying carpets is to make sure you answer these points below
1. how much do you have to spend?
2. who is going to be using the floor? (children, pets, adults)
3. how long will you intend on keeping the floor, (or how long do you want it to stay looking good)?
4. do you have stair treads to cover?
5. can you spare the time to spot clean and maintain a carpet?
6. what style of carpet do you like?
7. What color do you like?
8. will it get exposure to sunlight?
I get you to ask these things because carpet is expensive and not a product you can change in a hurry if you dislike it like you can with paint on the walls. You want to make sure that you get the best quality and luxury to suit your budget and your needs. As I mentioned earlier, a tight loop pile carpet for our family was perfect and it is a dark color allowing the odd muddy footprint to be hidden until you vacuum. The house we had prior to this had a very luxurious cream cut pile carpet. It looked beautiful and was very luxurious underfoot, but as we had a cat and extensive native bush at the back door I was constantly having to clean every cat and human footprint to keep it looking that way. I really did have better things to do with my time.
Stair treads take a lot of wear and tear, so you need to check that the quality of the carpet will withstand being used in this area. You don't want to have to replace your carpet in the entire house because only the stairs have worn out.
Cleaning is a major factor in choosing a carpet, if your family is prone to spills, then check which fibres will work best for you as there are advantages and disadvantages in both. A spill on a wool carpet for example will "sit" for a period of time before it is absorbed into the fibre, if you are quick enough you can get rid of it with no problem, but if it does soak in, then it is often much more difficult to remove the stain than with a synthetic fibre as they often have stain and odour resistance properties in the fibres and can tolerate harsher cleaning materials.
If sunlight is a major factor in a room, nylon carpets do offer the better option to wool. They will not fade keeping their color appearance, a wool carpet will fade over time with exposure to UV light.
However, wool has better flame retardantcy than a synthetic fibre, so that is something to think about also, especially if you live in a multi story apartment block.
Right, I think that has given you some insight into carpet, I didn't mean to go on and on, but it is such a big topic.
You can read more about carpets at the following pages:
Carpet - carpet construction, the different types and their uses.Introduction - find out how carpet is constructed.
Types of Carpet Fibers - Natural - A list of the different types available to make carpet.Types of Carpet Fibers - Man Made Synthetic - A list of the different types available to make carpet.
Pile - The different types of pile construction in carpet.Carpet Appearance Pitfalls - Shading, tracking and flattening.
Types of Carpet - 1- The different types available.Types of Carpet - 2 - The different types available.
Underlay - You should never forget what you cannot see!
Installation -The different installation method types.