How to choose the perfect carpet or rug for any floor space

2022-12-08 11:53:36 By : Ms. qiaoping feng

With hard flooring and a massive rug, the soft and hard flooring question is not an either/or. Kaleidoscope rug in New Zealand Wool by artisan weavers, from €1849,

Carpets may have been rolled out of prime position in the flooring market in favour of the hard stuff (tile, hardwood flooring and a variety of laminate and engineered timber types), but it’s still the softest place to fall. With its aesthetic appeal and gentle going, it has proven performance from sound absorption to air quality management and presents an easy install, character and great value for money even in a desirable quality wool mix.

It’s vital to first assess the room in which the carpet is being fitted and then to look at whole-life cost, not simply the price tag per metre.

Polypropylene and other synthetics present economy and durability and will suit the tightest budget. Some are made using recycled bottles or fishing nets, making them an eco-friendly choice if you keep your carpet in good order for at least a decade.

That said, you really get what you pay for. If you’re staging to sell, the artificial glitter and slide of an indifferent polypropylene carpet are unlikely to impress a dewy-eyed viewer, compared to the yielding beauty of a prestigious wool mix.

Carpet fibres, especially in high-traffic areas are under immense mechanical pressure. Buy too cheap, with heavy footfall, and a skimpy underlay it will visibly and physically give way. Synthetic carpets tend to scrub up well in the slings and arrows of family life and are a good choice for children’s rooms, playrooms, busy family rooms and back halls where animals may sleep. In terms of quality, start at nylon (polyamide), then try polyester and then examine polypropylene.

Man-made carpet is generally UV stable, and won’t fade under blistering south-facing aspects. Synthetic long fibres will tend to flatten, so reserve them for polite, officer quarters upstairs. The worst velvet pile polypropylene will all but spark under bare feet, whereas a good brand will be yielding and tactile in a perfect imitation of wool. For softness choose nylon, which can also deliver colour combinations impossible with wood and even wool mixes (it’s the go-to for even wealthy Americans).

If you insist on the antediluvian practice of putting carpet in the bathroom, choose a nylon carpet with a rubber back and moisture-resistant pad to hold off moisture and stains (for a year or so). Flotex, a sort of flock-topped vinyl offers a more durable option,

In all carpeting, look for a dense pile that doesn’t easily separate and shows the supporting base when pressed firmly. It’s the density of the pile, not its length that marks out a good carpet. With the underlay, this can add up to a superb thermal break from your grinning suspended boards or un-insulated slab.

Delivering the best quality carpeting in the World, wool’s virtues are largely down to its complex and beautiful natural make-up. The premiere ingredient of soft, traditional carpeting wool offers dimensional stability (won’t flatten with wear, springing neatly back to shape), no static, and is gentle on an infant’s knees. True believers describe high wool mix carpets as a huge air filter.

Both wool mixes and synthetics come in loop, twist and sumptuous, toe-swallowing Saxony varieties. 100% wool carpeting will be a loop pile (be warned of pussy the destroyer). It can be combined in varying percentages with nylon or polypropylene to deliver a more economic and durable flooring, and many hotels opt for 80:20 rations of wool to nylon. Dense wool carpeting is perfect for stairs where it will hold up for many years even over treads.

Wool unlike synthetics, is hydrophilic and wicks excess moisture in the air and then releases it gently back to a dryer atmosphere. This does not however make it hypo-allergenic. To keep your carpet as lung-healthy as possible, be proactive — vacuuming it regularly, and deep-cleaning at least once a year to guard against dust mites, pet dander, mould, settled gases, and cunning petro-chemicals like pesticides.

Woven and tufted wool and wool mixes are available as cheap, skinny, badly produced tufted carpeting that will depress and shed for years when you vacuum. Thin underlay further undermines any inexpensive carpet, robbing it of that essential even wear and material bounce, vital to longevity. The higher the footfall, the better the underlay should be. A carpet density in the area of 40oz is suggested for living rooms where wear and spillages are inevitable (look for ‘Heavy Domestic’). Longer, looser strands will wear faster than a short rich, muscular pile.

KIng of care and clean

When it comes to slinging on the bleach, synthetic carpet is a fantastic material, and utterly forgiving of rough chemical treatments. That said, it can melt if puddled in scalding liquid, and will singe easily if hit by embers from the fire.

Most modern 100% wool carpeting is moth-resistant, so vouching for a treated carpet. You shouldn’t have to worry about finding the tell-tale balding of moth larvae of Tinea Pellionella, grazing behind the super-king.

All that said, your unprotected wool/synthetic mixes are equally attractive to moths and carpet beetles if your cleaning routine is skimpy.

Pale wool can easily and permanently stain, and should be treated immediately on spillage with alkaline-free products, green or commercial. Avoid traipsing gritty soil into any carpet where it can saw away at the fibres leading to balding and holes.

Petrochemical carpets have a low ignition point (the moment when they actually go up in flames) and are notoriously flammable producing toxic smoke when alight and allowing a fire to spread once it takes hold. The carpeting also becomes very sticky, which can produce particularly vicious burns. If you have an open fire, you might want to rethink their inclusion.

Wool carpeting, pure wool that is, has higher water content and is said to smoulder than catch fire due to its density, and will often self-extinguish. Wool is lower in VOCs and also produces less smoke. Shorter wool piles have less volume than a shaggy rug, making them a better bet anywhere near an open flame.

Above all, take the basic, vital measures to ensure your flooring never has the chance to catch and spread fire by installing a working smoke and CO alarm in every room and working out means of escape.

If you look too deeply into all but the most un-dyed and innocent of carpeting, you will be up against worrisome chemical ingredients. Even quality carpeting has been accused of everything from hormone disruption to respiratory disorders due to the chemical load accrued during its manufacture.

Sadly, completely natural wool carpeting with no treatments is likely to not only smell like a middle-aged, wind-battered sheep but to perish with age. As I’ve already said, no carpet is totally hypo-allergenic, as it soon ingests the foot-borne and airborne dirt.

In terms of potentially irritating off-gassing most of the more noxious ingredients like phthalates, ammonia and VOC-heavy adhesives, will be found in felt backing and carpet underlay, so consider airing these products out very well before installation or choose a Zero VOC product like felt, with no volatile organic compounds to leach out.

If you are concerned about hazardous ingredients, cut out moth-proofing that includes permethrin. Treatments that keep carpets clean by repelling stains must obviously hold those chemicals for the potential lifetime of the carpet itself, and that includes the iconic defenders included in Scotchguard.

For something soft, that’s self-coloured and chemical-free for everywhere but stairs, try Agave Sisalana — good old sisal.

It’s vital to know the width of the room you’re covering including any strange alcoves or run-off spaces. Measure up, sketch it on paper jot down the dimensions in centimetres skirting to skirting and bring these to the supplier.

Carpet widths vary, and having the exact layout will reveal where seams will run, a pattern with a repeat will be lined up, and multiple rolls will work in the space.

For a whole house project, have the supplier measure the space for you – then any mistakes are contractually their own. No-obligation visits to survey space and to offer an itemised estimate are a godsend.

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