What to consider when choosing a carpet

yellow orange carpet

There’s a reason that carpets turn up time and time again in the pages of flooring catalogues across Australia, and that’s because they’re so comfortable and friendly to our feet.

Carpets continue to be a fan favourite in Australian homes, particularly in living areas such as the living room and bedrooms, for this very reason. However, when you’re choosing carpets for your home, it’s important to make sure that you consider its durability, how easy it is to clean, its composition, and its colour.

In this article, we look at each of the above factors, so you can make a more informed decision around which carpet will offer you the best performance in terms of durability, useability and practicality.

Durability

Living rooms typically experience a high volume of traffic. People are using them at all hours of the day as they watch television, play games, and generally chill out after a long day at work. The same can be said of bedrooms, although not to quite the same degree.

This is why the carpets you choose for your home should be durable.

Make sure that you select a carpet that can stand up to the test of time, as well as to the pressures of everyday use.

A quick indicator for a sturdy, durable carpet is its wear warranty, which guarantees the buyer a certain amount of time in which it is insured against wear and tear – typically, the longer the wear warranty, the better its durability.

Another tip for quickly eyeing up the durability of a carpet is to bend a sample backwards to see if it shows the backing. If it flexes back with little force, it means it’s of a lesser quality and will likely deteriorate sooner than one that withstands the bend.

If this still doesn’t help you out, ask your local flooring consultant about the carpet’s face weight, tuft twist and density rating. For the best, sturdiest carpets, you’ll want one that measures in at 34-40 ounces (Face Weight), 5 or more (Tuft Twist), and a density of 2,000+.

How easy is it to clean?

Something else you’ll want to take into consideration is how much time, effort and money you’ll have to put in to maintaining the integrity and quality of your carpet.

This typically boils down to how easy it is to clean.

Because the living room experiences a lot of use on an everyday basis, it is more prone to experiencing accidents such as spills and stains.

That red wine you like to enjoy while you’re watching the evening news? Yep, that is more likely to end up on the carpet of your living room than any other space in the house.

If you have a carpet that is easy to clean, it is going to alleviate any stress you might experience should you happen to spill that wine, or if your child tromps muddy shoes through the house, leaving shoeprints all over the carpet.

For this reason, it’s worthwhile getting a carpet that has a lifetime stain warranty. This literally insures your purchase should you ever spill something on the carpet that can’t be removed through cleaning.

Carpet Composition

The composition of your chosen carpet can have a huge impact on the atmosphere and look that it evokes. The two main factors that affect the composition of a carpet are its pile and style.

Cut piles are usually referred to as plush. Uncut piles, on the other hand, are known as ‘looped’. These are the two chief pile options, but there are others including a patterned loop (loops at multiple levels), and cut and loop (which produce a pattern).

The style of a carpet is usually classified by its level of smoothness, texture, twist, and shag. For the most formal look, you should go for a smooth style, whereas a shag style creates a casual look.

Fibres

As you’re probably aware, carpets come in a variety of fibres. These are what make up the surface of the carpet on which you’ll stand, sit, lay and kneel over the course of its lifetime.

The fibres of a carpet can affect its appearance, comfortability, and its longevity. The following types of fibres are the most popular options on the market today.

I’ll give you a quick rundown on each of them, as well as an outline of their pros and cons:

Polyester

Pros:

  • Feels great
  • Soft and cushy under your feet
  • Resists stains

Cons:

  • Hard to clean
  • Sheds fibres easily (and therefore doesn’t last as long as other types)
  • For the above reason, not highly suitable for areas that experience a high volume of traffic

Nylon

Pros:

  • Most resilient, long-lasting carpet fibre

Cons:

  • Has to be treated with a stain protector from time to time to maintain its stain resistance qualities

Triextra

Pros:

  • Superior anti-stain qualities
  • Resilient and long-lasting

Cons:

  • Hasn’t been around for as long as nylon, so it’s difficult to make an informed comparison about which is better/more long-lasting

Olefin

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Resists fading, staining and mildew
  • Good option for high-traffic areas

Cons:

  • Not as durable as nylon

Fibre Softness

While we’re discussing fibres, it’s probably a good idea to consider the softness and springiness of the carpet.

After all, you might end up sprawled out on it while you’re watching a movie, or laying on your tummy while you play a game of checkers with your kids, or just resting your feet on it after a long day at work.

The good news is that most companies feature a selection of soft carpets in the pages of their catalogues. These carpets have much finer fibres than non-soft carpets, giving them that lush, comfy quality that we all want under our feet.

Another element that determines the softness of a carpet is its padding. Most carpets have a cushioned layer attached to their underside, which is generally used to enhance their durability.

However, this layer also affects the springiness and thereby the softness of the carpet. For the softest carpets, choose a carpet with a memory foam underlayer, which will make it super comfy on your feet.

Colour Selection

Selecting the right colours for your floor can affect the overall impression and appearance of the space in which its installed, thereby enhancing or limiting the visual appeal of the room.

However, choosing colours is also a subjective process that is dependent on the homeowner’s personal tastes.

Choose colours that complement the overall design, décor and colour scheme of your home, or at least of the room in which it is to be installed. Keep in mind that natural light exposure can also affect colouration.

Neutral coloured carpets on the blue-grey spectrum tend to be the most popular, as they have about them an ageless quality that seems to stand the test of time in terms of fashion and trendiness.

Bold, loud colours, on the other hand, might look good for a time, but they can lapse into unfashionability and look daggy after a few years.

At the end of the day…

You want to select a carpet that is going to last a long time, resists stains and spills, looks good in the space in which you’ve installed it, and is useful for the whole family.

When you’re looking for the right carpet, make sure you take into careful consideration the points described above. That way you can make the most informed decision around which carpets are best for your home and most suited to your needs and budget.

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About the Author: James Watt

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