Carpets are a great addition to the home as they provide comfort, warmth, and luxury, depending on the type you choose. Yet, before buying a carpet it’s important to understand how their different materials and pile styles affect their properties. Getting the right combination between these two factors will allow you to pick the most suitable carpet for your home but getting this combination wrong can be costly in the long term.
To help you come to a reasoned decision, this article outlines why you might want to purchase a carpet, what material to choose, what style of pile to pick, and how to maintain the carpet after purchase.
5 KEY REASONS TO GET A CARPET OVER ALTERNATIVES
Firstly though, we should establish exactly why you might want to buy a carpet in the first place to make sure that you’re making the right decision. Here are five key reasons why you should choose a carpet for your next flooring project:
1. Cheap: Carpets are a great option if you have a low budget. This is partly because the materials required to make it are less expensive and partly because installation is less complex.
2. Installation: Because carpet is easier to install than alternatives like slate and stone flooring, you could potentially do this yourself which saves even more costs.
3. Look: In certain rooms, carpets aesthetically fit better than their alternatives. The most obvious examples are in bedrooms where the primary aim is for comfort, as well as in the living room.
4. Sound Proof: Another key benefit of installing carpets is that they absorb sound much better than other types of flooring, making them ideal for above-ground flats.
5. Warmth: Nothing beats a really fluffy carpet in the winter. If you live in a colder climate then carpets will be a sensible choice for retaining warmth in the house and controlling humidity.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT CARPET PILE
Having established the benefits of installing a carpet, you should now have a good idea if it is the right decision for you and your home. The next step is to consider what type of carpet pile you would like.
A caret’s pile is its individual fibres which can be either looped back into the carpet material or cut off at the top. There are two main types of carpet in the UK, woven and tufted. Where woven carpets are more labour intensive and expensive, tufted carpets are much more popular as they are easier to produce and are more cost-effective.
Woven carpets generally break down into either Axminster or Wilton variations.
Axminster: With this type of carpet, yarn is cut into tufts and these are kept together by the weft (yarn thread). This allows for intricate designs and patterns to be created, making them a statement of luxury and wealth.
Wilton: Wilton carpets are different because, rather than having a series of tufts connected together via a weft, the yarn is one continuous strand which is woven the whole way through. Although less intricate with its patterns, their continuous yarn makes them one of the most durable types of carpets.
Because they are much more popular, there are many more types of tufted carpet.
Cut and Loop: Popular in the ‘70s, cut and loop carpets combine both looped and cut yarn to create interesting textures and looks. For instance, there could be neat lines of tiny balls, or there could be swirling mottled textures.
Twist: With its shorter twisted yarn, this type of tufted carpet is much more durable which makes them the most popular choice. This is why they’re particularly good for stairs and hallways.
Saxony: Because they have a deeper and softer pile which is cut at the end, this type of carpet is easily flattened and shows vacuum marks. That being said, they have uniform finishes because all of the fibres are cut to the same length.
Velvet: Velvet carpets have a shorter pile with a smooth finish which makes them softer. They’re particularly popular in bedrooms and living rooms for this reason. They’re a more luxurious tuft carpet to install so it should be in areas with less traffic.
Berber: As another form of looped tuft carpet, Berbers are made from the uncut loops of pile so they’re a sustainable option. Their knot effect gives them a speckled aesthetic which makes them distinctive and hardwearing.
Loop: As its name suggests, this type of carpet has its yarn looped back into the carpet material. Because the loops are tight to the carpet material, they have a coarser feel and their uniform loops are particularly distinctive. It might be durable and practical but it’s not a good idea for those who have pets with claws!
CHOOSING THE RIGHT CARPET MATERIAL
The next step is to pick the right carpet material. This is important because it largely determines how durable, soft, and stain-resistant the carpet will be.
Nylon: This material is the most durable of the five options. It is much more resistant against fluids and dirt, making it easier to clean. Being the most hardened choice, it’s a great option for areas that experience a lot of foot traffic or where furniture is frequently moved. This is because it provides a lot of counter-compression.
Wool: Wool is a more expensive material than the other synthetic alternatives. However, not only is it the only material that offers sound proofing, it can also absorb and release moisture which makes it a good choice for controlling humidity levels. Yet, they tend to fade over time and they attract moths.
Polyester: If you’re looking for colour, then polyester is the right material for you. Although it is a pricier option, it is also incredibly soft and is naturally stain- and water-resistant. Plus, it is made from recycled materials like tyres and bottle caps making it a sustainable option which is a big bonus in today’s world!
Polypropylene: This is another durable option as a carpet material. Because it is made of a combination of different polymers it is extra hardwearing, making it ideal for the hallway. Another bonus is that it can be cleaned using bleach which makes it a good option for anyone with children or who are particularly clumsy!
Plant-based: This type of carpet material is becoming more popular but they certainly aren’t the cheapest option! Sisal is coarse on the feet and prone to stains but it is very hard wearing. Jute is softer and less durable, seagrass is more resistant to stains and watermarks but there aren’t many colour options, and coir is a durable option which is less soft underfoot.
MAINTAINING YOUR CARPET
The last step you’ll want to think about is how to maintain your carpet properly which is often overlooked. This means that the carpet you spent a long time planning and buying can last longer which will save you money in the long run.
Vacuuming: When you vacuum, ensure that you manage to cover all areas including under furniture and in any awkward nooks and crannies. You should make sure it’s on the right setting and get into a routine of vacuuming weekly as consistency will maintain the health of your carpet.
Spills: Another really important way to maintain your carpet is to address spills as soon as they occur. The longer it sits, the more difficult it will be to remove the stain. You should blot spills with a towel and apply a small amount of warm water if needs be. Always avoid scrubbing fibres and make sure that any stain removing or cleaning substances are compatible with your type of carpet.
Restoring fibres: Another cardinal sin for maintaining a carpet is to pull on snags rather than using a pair of scissors to remove the problem. Pulling on snags only exacerbates the problem. You can also restore the furniture dents in your carpet by rubbing the edge of a coin over the area which will encourage the fibres to stand up again.
Having the right carpet to suit your home can make a huge difference. It can make a room feel more relaxing and comfortable or it can make cleaning an area a lot more practical. The important thing is to carefully consider how the combination between pile and material will affect the carpet’s properties. Plus, it’s crucial to properly maintain your carpet going forward.
Lewis Interiors are industry-leading specialists in installing and maintaining carpets and other types of flooring, curtains, and blinds, for both commercial and residential settings. If you have any further questions about choosing the right carpet, or if you’d like to enquire about any of our other services, then don’t hesitate to get in touch by calling us on
01332 662 450 today!