Many people choose carpet by the cost, but while this should certainly be considered, there are other important criteria to use to ensure you get the best value as well as a carpet you can live with. It is a good idea to consider these points before choosing a carpet.
What the fibre is made from
There are several choices, and these need to be considered especially in regard to carpet cleaning – from wool to synthetics such as nylon, acrylic, polyester and olefin. In many cases, a blend of wool and nylon or another synthetic is favoured because while wool is durable, adding a synthetic makes it even more hardwearing. Usually, blends contain 80% wool and 20% nylon.
The depth of pile you like
The depth of pile is an important factor because it has an effect on the look and wear of the carpet. Long, even pile shows footprints and even vacuum trails, but it is very soft, elegant and luxurious underfoot. It may not be the best choice for heavy traffic areas.
Shorter pile does not feel as soft, but it is harder wearing and ideal for heavy traffic areas. You can also get a combination of short and long which can add visual interest with a self-pattern and texture.
The type of pile, e.g. loop or cut
A loop pile is formed from the stitching in the carpet remaining uncut. The main problem is if a loop gets caught on something and pulled, the whole length or row will come undone. That said, loops that are close to the backing – low pile – are unlikely to catch on anything. Another problem can be that it is more difficult to vacuum loose dirt out of the carpet as it gets caught under the loop.
With cut pile carpet there are no loops to catch on anything. If a tuft does get pulled out it will be almost unnoticeable because it will only be one little spot rather than a whole length. Cut pile is easier to vacuum clean, especially when the pile is not twisted. The main types of carpet pile are: –
There are many variations within these four types, and some carpets include more than one type, such as loop and cut pile together. Berber is a thicker carpet in neutral shades with flecks of colour that help to hide soiling. It is usually a loop pile, but it can also be made with cut pile.
The grade of carpet
The grade of carpet is usually commercial, industrial or residential. While you can use commercial carpet in the home, it is often not as pretty. However, both commercial and industrial carpet are far more durable than residential since they are made especially for heavy traffic. Commercial carpet is found in places such as offices, clubs and hotels.
Carpets and your health
Some carpets release toxic fumes in the form of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The healthiest carpet choices are those made from natural organic fibres both in the top part and the backing. These may not last as long, which is why blends are popular. Another source of toxic fumes comes from the adhesive used to glue some carpets down. It is far better to choose a carpet that is nailed down around the edges rather than glued. When the floor is concrete, this can be done using special tacking strips.