Choosing carpets is a more technical challenge that it may appear. Choosing carpets is not just about price and appearance and durability. It helps when choosing carpets to have some understanding of texture and construction.
Choosing carpets over other options
Choosing carpets over other floor covering options has the benefit of ensuring a warm feel under foot, and choosing carpets over (say) a tiled floor provides for a much safer surface. Choosing carpets as your floor covering also reduces noise. Carpets absorb sounds and help prevent sound being carried between rooms and floor levels. So choosing carpets over laminate flooring for example is particularly advisable if you live in a flat. Modern carpets are amazingly durable and long lasting and choosing carpets as floor covering is also an ideal way of hiding uneven warped or irregular floors.
And choosing carpets over most other floor coverings gives more options for the decoration of your choosing. Carpets are usually the lowest costs alternative both in terms of material costs and fitting. Choosing carpets as the floor covering of choice offers an economical alternative to other flooring options, while installation costs are typically lower than for hard surfaces.
Types of Carpets and their Costs
Choosing carpets today usually means a choice between loop pile where single strands of yarn are pulled twice through the carpet backing creating a loop, or alternatively choosing carpets made with cut pile where the loop is cut at the top, leaving tufts of yarn standing up. The third main option is choosing carpets made with a natural pile, containing no synthetic materials.
Sometimes the pile can be mixed to achieve a texture of the buyer’s own choosing. Carpets are therefore available to suit all tastes.
Twist pile carpets are made from tufts of wool or man made fibre twisted to form a pile and are available with a textured surface. They usually have a low pile and maintain an even appearance. Choosing carpets with twist pile offers a choice of wool and man made fibres. Twist pile carpets typically cost between £10 and £40 per square metre but as with all the prices indicated below they can be much more expensive
Velvet pile carpets are similar in construction to twist but only have a small amount of twist allowing them to burst open creating a velvet appearance. Velvet pile carpets are made by cutting the pile several times to create a soft and extra smooth finish. Choosing carpets with a velvet finish is a popular option for formal areas. They cost between £25 and £50 per square metre
Saxony carpets are a popular choice when choosing carpets for low foot traffic areas. Saxony texture is formed by twisting yarn fibres tightly and then straightening them out with heat. Saxony is similar to but not quite as smooth as velvet and it should be remembered that like velvet is prone to holding foot prints
Choosing carpets with velvet or Saxony finishes is a practicable and luxurious option for the bedroom. Saxony costs between £25 and £45 per square metre.
Shag pile carpets Having been out of fashion for years ‘Shag’ carpets, although not to everyone’s taste, are now back. They use a thicker yarn and have a much longer tuft. Shag costs between £30 and £65 per square metre.
Sisal carpet has a stiff woven grass texture, achieved by twisting yarns and unlike most carpets can be dyed. Sisal however, costing between £20 and £40 per square metre, is quite expensive compared with choosing carpets of similar styles to it
Seagrass is grown in Chinese paddy fields, and is spun into almost solid yarn making it difficult to dye so it’s usually available only in natural shades. It costs between £10 and £20 per square metre. Choosing carpets made from sea grass is popular for halls stairs and landings
Jute comes from the plant ‘Genus Corchorus’ and is an eco friendly option. It’s much softer than other natural floor coverings but consequently, not as durable. Jute is not recommended for high wear areas, but costing between £13 and £25 per square metre choosing carpets made of jute is a suitable option in rooms where the wear is not to heavy
Patterned carpets cost between £10 and £50 per square metre. The pattern can create focal point in the room, but large patterns are not suitable for small rooms. Patterns do however work well in larger areas where choosing carpets without any distinguishing features visible across the entire floor surface make a large room look empty.
Choosing Carpets for each room
The Living Room. Almost any type of carpet can be placed in the living room but durability is usually the first consideration when choosing carpets for it. Almost as much foot traffic goes through the living room as the hall
Dining Room Stain resistance is priority when choosing carpets for the dining room. It’s only a matter of time before food, wine and beer is spilled and trodden in. It’s advisable to ask the carpet retailer for a stain resistant coated product. Most separate dining rooms are not used frequently, so choosing carpets with a deep pile or a natural covering is an option
Bedroom Deep pile Saxony or Shag is the most luxurious option in the bedroom. The absence of heavy wear allows for a softer pile which feels more luxurious under foot. Even choosing carpets with a delicate construction should ensure years of wear.
Bathroom For most people choosing carpets as a floor covering for the bathroom is a no-no. It’s unhygienic and the carpet is likely to be continually wet. You may soon even discover silverfish in the pile. But some people do like carpet in the bathroom because it feels so good underfoot. Anyone choosing carpet for the bathroom however has only one practicable choice, synthetic fibres. But bath mats are a better option.
Kitchen Again choosing carpets as kitchen floor covering is ill advised. There’s virtually nothing good to be said in its favour. But at least there’s less likelihood of it being constantly wet than carpet laid in the bathroom. If you do go for carpet in the kitchen, ensure that it’s the most stain resistant product possible and ask for advice in the carpet shop
Stairs and Halls. Using the same carpet in the hall and on the stairs and landing areas is popular. It unifies the space. But these are the areas of highest foot traffic so heavy duty dark fabrics are best
You may however not want a dark fabric on the stairs or landing. The hall itself is the area of heaviest wear from dirty shoes, so the alternative option is choosing carpets for the stairs and landing with a separate hard surface such as tiles, vinyl or wood effect floor for the hall. The carpet can start at the bottom of the stairs. That way you can if you wish maintain the colour throughout without the cleaning difficulties
Good underlay prolongs the life of carpets, and helps maintain the appearance. It gives additional comfort underfoot and keeps noise levels down. Thick underlay also makes possible choosing carpets with an easy to clean hard surface whilst maintaining a softer feel underfoot
Following a long time in the wilderness patterned and striped carpets are back in fashion as are ethnic designs. Darker, stronger colours and textured carpets generally, have become more popular recently than they have been for some time.
Neutral colours are still the safest option although the trend is towards eco friendly natural products some of which are the most economical floor cover products available.