Are you wondering how to buy the best carpet for your home? Fortunately, we have the ultimate, comprehensive guide to buying carpets to ensure that you find the best carpet for your home.
The first thing to consider when it comes to carpet, is where is it going to go. How much footfall will the carpet endure? Are you looking for a little luxury? Or maybe something with a dense pile for those high traffic areas? Whatever you are considering, it is vital that you consider the durability of your new carpet.
A great way to test the thickness, resilience, material and weight of a carpet’s pile is to firmly press your thumb into the carpet. Denser more resilient carpet will bounce back and recover quicker than a softer, less durable carpet.
For high traffic areas, the density is a huge factor to consider. The density of a carpet is defined by how closely each fibre is knitted to another, rather than the actual depth of the fibres. The best way to check this is to look at the back of the carpet to identify how close the tufts are to one and other. Larger gaps mean that the carpet will lose its resilience quicker than carpets which are of a higher density.
The weight is another important factor when it comes to finding the best carpet for you. You should consider checking the weight of the fabric on like-for-like styles, e.g. compare one Twist pile with another. The weight of the carpet should be printed on the back of the sample piece. A general rule of thumb to remember: short, dense-fibre carpets are the most durable. There are many carpets with longer loops and strands which can make the carpet appear bulkier, however they are lighter. It is important that you double check the weight of a carpet before you make your final decision.
When it comes to colour, darker colours work best in areas with high foot-fall such as hallways and stair cases. Lighter shades are better suited for areas which experience a lower foot fall such as the bedroom. However, if you find a high quality, stain resistant or dirt resistant carpet, you can opt for almost any colour in any area of your home.
Using samples will help you to find the best colour for your home, allowing you to compare the carpet colour and texture with the décor in your home ensuring that you find the best match.
Carpets of a higher quality are typically created using wool, and as a natural fibre, it can cost more than many man-made alternatives. However, for the price you will receive an incredibly durable, sustainable and resilient carpet which can stand the tests of time. Wool carpets also act as a great heat and sound insulator while retaining its appearance for years to come. Moreover, wool feels divine underfoot!
Wool-mix is created using a combination of wool and man-made materials such as polyester. This type of carpet makes the most of the benefits of two or more materials to create a great value carpet.
A very popular choice, this man made fibre is incredibly hardwearing and stain resistant. Polypropylene is suitable for part-bleach cleaning; however, it is flammable.
Nylon carpets is a great choice of carpet material if you are looking for bold and vibrant colours which simply cannot be achieved using wool. Incredibly durable and stain-resistant, polyamide carpets are a great choice for family homes.
Polyester is a fibre best suited for use in a blended carpet, however, it is incredibly soft, durable and stain resistant. This material is most typically used for textured and shag carpets.
There are two main types of carpet pile, woven and tufted.
Woven carpets, such as Wilton, are typically created using the traditional (and labour intensive) loomed method. These carpets widely regarded as the top-end choice due to their premium finish, but they, also come at a premium price.
Made in a similar style to an oriental rug, the fibres are woven in and out of the backing material using an Axminster machine. This type of carpet is renowned for its spectacular, patterned designs and their high quality finish and durability. Most Axminster carpets come in a velvet finish, and are typically expensive.
Wilton carpets are also incredibly luxurious. This style gained its name from the loom used to create the carpet where it is made using a continuous strand of yarn. With a smooth, velvet appearance, Wilton carpets are available in a wide range of patterns.
Tufted are the most popular type of carpet. Made by a row of needles which punch the pile yarn into a base material. This type of carpet is easier to manufacture, and can be made using all types of yarns with a variety of finishes. Tufted carpet is available in looped or cut styles (or both).
Twist pile carpets are incredibly hard-wearing, created using yarn which has been tightly twisted together. This twisting creates a one-way pile direction which can be produced in a wide range of colours and “heather” styles. Heathered carpets are great for hiding the likes of dust and animal hair. This hard wearing carpet is well suited to high-traffic areas of the home.
Berber and Loop Pile
Berber carpets were named after an African tribe who used a weaving style which involved creating continuous, uncut loops on the surface to create a distinctive knotted appearance. Available in short and longer loops, loop pile carpets can be created in a range of styles and textures. We recommend shorter loops for high traffic areas of the home as tighter, shorter loops bounce back, reducing the chance of your carpet becoming crushed and worn. However, it is important to note that loop carpets are not suitable for homes with pets as their claws can get stuck in the looped fibres.
Ideally suited as a stair runner, flat weave carpets are created using vertical interlocking warp and horizontal weft threads. While this carpet is looped, it appears flat and is firm underfoot.
This deep pile carpet is perfect for bedrooms with its long tuft cut pile style, it is incredibly soft underfoot and looks luxurious in any setting. You should bare in mind that the long pile of this carpet makes it relatively easy to flatten. If you were to place the likes of a wardrobe on this carpet, it may not spring back as you might expect.
Shag carpets are incredibly opulent and luxurious, in particular, deep pile shag. The extra-long tufts create a shaggy look, however, the long fibres make this carpet unsuitable for areas of high foot traffic. Shag carpets are perfect for bedrooms, providing a luxurious feel underfoot every time you step out of bed.
Created using short, dense pile, velvet carpet is a great choice as a luxurious bedroom carpet with its smooth, cut pile finish. Velvet carpets are typically available in solid colours.
Underlay is a great addition to any carpet, acting as a shock absorber and providing extra cushioning underfoot. The right underlay can also act as a great heat insulator, saving you money on your energy bills. It is a good idea to invest in a high quality underlay, no matter what carpet you may choose as a good underlay can significantly prolong the life of your carpet.
When choosing the right underlay, you should look at the tog rating. Carpets with a higher tog has better insulation, however, if you are using your underlay alongside underfloor heating, you should opt for a low tog rating (no more than 2.5 tog).
- Waffle – This underlay takes its name from the bubble like pattern on the underside of the underlay. Waffle underlay can become squashed in high-traffic areas, so is best suited to the likes of the spare room and areas which are used less frequently.
- Flat – Flat underlay is more compact making it more hardwearing and able to endure a higher level of foot-fall. This underlay can also act as a good noise insulator.
- Crumb – Typically made from recycled materials such as car tyres, crumb underlay is incredibly hard wearing, perfect for areas of high traffic. Crumb underlay is also perfect if you have heavy furniture as it can help you avoid any annoying indents in your flooring.
- Crumb/Felt – This type of underlay is most commonly used for woven carpets to help reduce rucking. Made using a combination of rubber and felt, this underlay is incredibly hard wearing.
- Polyethylene (PE) – This budget friendly underlay is made using closed-cell polyethylene foam.
- Polyurethane (PU) – Typically created using 80% recycled materials, the granulated pieces are then thermally bonded together. PU underlay is suitable for use with almost any carpet.
- Jute – Created using natural fibres, Jute underlay does not flatten, crumble of dry out. It is typically used with a felt or rubber top.
- Recycled felt – An excellent eco-friendly option, recycled felt is a great heat insulator and can be used with a concrete floor. However, it does compact relatively easily and is best used in the likes of a spare room or study.
- Felt and rubber – Bringing together the best of both worlds, felt and rubber underlay is incredibly comfortable underfoot while also providing firm support for areas of high foot fall.
Once you have selected and installed your new carpet, there are a few things you should remember when it comes to maintaining your new flooring.
- New carpets will shed fluff, simple vacuum the carpet to loosen and remove the loose fibres.
- Vacuum your carpet regularly (at least once a week) to keep the carpet clean and looking new.
- Use a mat in areas where the carpet is more likely to get dirty e.g. the front door.
- Use a reliable carpet cleaner to remove any stains or spills to prevent damaging your new carpet.
- Deal with any spills or stains as soon as they happen.
- Do not scrub the carpet or over-wet it.
- Gently remove solids by gently scraping the carpet using a knife.
- For grease and oil spills, use a suitable oil or grease remover with an absorbent cloth.
- Blot, don’t rub!
- Blot any liquid spills as far as possible, then use a stain remover recommended for your carpet to remove the rest of the stain.
- For a deep carpet clean, follow the manufacturer’s instructions or hire a professional carpet cleaner.
Joe Walker’s Flooring – Carpets Glasgow Loves