Wall-to-wall carpeting, with its many styles, textures, designs, and types of construction, is the most popular choice of floor covering for homes, and it enhances the look of most living spaces. Using it on stairs and in living rooms, family rooms, and bedrooms can make your home a more desirable and cozy place to live. When installed and cleaned properly, carpet will maintain its beauty and durability for many years.
Although carpeting is easy to find in textures, colours, and patterns that will complement your furniture and window treatments, you need to do research before you buy and consider which type of carpet will best suit your home and lifestyle. Remember that spending a lot of money for what might seem like the best carpet in the store doesn’t always mean you will get the best flooring for your particular needs.
Types of carpeting
Deciding which carpet is best for your needs goes beyond just running your hand across some samples and picking your favourite colour or pattern. You need to know what makes a good carpet, what underlayment to use, and how best to install it. A wide variety of carpet is available these days in two main types: natural and synthetic.
- Wool is the luxury choice—the best of the best. Even though wool is softer than synthetics, it’s very durable. But it’s not cheap. You’re going to pay $50 to $150 for a square metre. That’s why, despite wool’s overall superiority to other carpeting choices, it accounts for only about 1% of sales.
- Nylon is as durable as wool and costs a lot less. And while it’s soft, nylon is also good at resisting stains. You can cover your floor for about $27 to $45 per square metre. It’s no wonder it accounts for about 65% of carpet sales.
- Olefin is a good choice for commercial use as well as indoor and outdoor locations, because it is durable and resistant to water and stains. It’s best used in low-pile carpets, because it’s less resilient than nylon and can mat or crush. The average cost is $9 to $18 a square metre.
- Polyester, which has a soft texture, is known for its luxurious thick pile. It’s not as durable as nylon but is much cheaper. Expect to pay about $11 to $19 per square metre.
- Acrylic feels and looks like wool but tends to fuzz. It’s not usually used in room-size carpets. You will most often come across it in bathroom rugs, because it resists moisture and mildew. Expect to pay $10 to $15 per square metre.
Once you’ve narrowed your choice of fibre, you will have a variety of piles—cut, frieze, or loop—and hundreds of colours and patterns to establish a foundation for a room’s decor. Woven or loop-pile wool should be confined to dressing areas. Nylon and other synthetic carpets are a better choice for splash zones, because they are washable and hold up well in moist conditions.
Disadvantages of carpeting
Generally, the more material and the denser the weave in a carpet the greater the problems with moisture absorption, staining, and mildew. While carpet is not a good choice for bathrooms, if you do want to use it, make sure your choice is short-pile and unsculptured.
Carpeting can aggravate allergy symptoms, as the fibres catch and hold dust, dirt, bugs, and bacteria. If you are allergic to dust mites or similar insects, or if you have a respiratory condition such as asthma, you should think twice about using carpet in your home.
If a carpet is damaged by water or flooding, you really need to throw it out. Mould and mildew can develop in the under-padding and make you sick.
Although carpets are treated with stain guards, the chemical protectants won’t guard against everything. Pets and carpet don’t mix well, for instance. If a dog or cat urinates or defecates on carpet, the smell can be difficult to eradicate. If it happens a lot, the stink will linger, you won’t be able to get rid of it, and you will have to throw out the flooring. With pets, think hardwood floors, tiles, and other more resilient coverings.
Benefits of carpeting
The principal care of carpeting is regular vacuuming—which is easy enough. And since most carpet today is manufactured with a stain-resistant treatment, which doesn’t allow liquids to pass below the surface, you can sop up spills easily. But do it immediately. Stain guards are only so strong.
Carpeting saves energy as it provides insulation in winter and summer. It keeps chills, drafts, and outside heat from seeping through the floor, which helps cut your utility bills for heating and cooling. It’s cozy. It feels good on bare feet and makes a room feel warm.
Carpeting is also a good flooring choice if you want to minimize sound. This is why it’s good for bedrooms, as it reduces the sound of conversation, TV, and other noises from below.
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