When choosing carpet, it’s important to understand the characteristics of the different carpet types to make sure you end up with the most appropriate carpet for your space.
While you may love the look and feel of a sample in the showroom, if it’s not well matched to how the room is used you could be headed for disappointment. High traffic areas demand something that is hard wearing, while low traffic areas, like bedrooms, lend themselves to something warm and plush under foot.
In choosing carpets , there are two key factors to consider – type of fibre and type of pile.
What fibres are available?
In Australia, there are three main fibres used for carpets: wool, nylon and polypropylene. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses.
Wool is natural and definitely the softest of the fibres, giving these carpets a luxurious feel. Low-grade wool can be susceptible to staining, and high-grade wool can be expensive, though it is long-lasting and durable.
Nylon is a synthetic fibre that is also soft, durable and resistant to stains.
Polypropylene is almost as soft as nylon, resistant to stains and mildew, and extremely resilient.
It’s common to find blends of fibres in carpets. 80% wool, 20% nylon is a common blend that combines the luxury of wool with the stain-resistant durability of nylon.
Choosing the right pile
Carpets are generally either loop pile or cut pile, with several styles in each.
In a loop pile carpet, the yarn is looped over which creates a soft, smooth feel underfoot. In a cut pile carpet, the loops are cut so that the pile is more upright, creating a more formal and luxurious look.
Loop piles are perfect for high traffic areas as they don’t show indentations from footprints or vacuum marks. They’re easy to clean, stain resistant and highly durable. However, they tend to be less soft than cut styles, and the loops can present a snagging hazard for pets or young children.
Loop piles range from level loop, where fine yarn is tufted close together with loops of equal height, to multi-level or sculptured loops, where different pile heights are used to create patterns that appear as if they’ve been sculpted in the carpet. Loop piles also include sisal, which is heavily textured and looks similar to matting made from plant fibres, but is more stylish and comfortable.
Cut piles are soft and beautiful to look at. They’re also easy to clean, but do show up footprint indentations and trails from being vacuumed. If used in a high traffic area, a cut pile carpet would need to be replaced more often as it would show signs of wear and tear.
Velvet, velour and Saxony piles all give a plush, fuzzy surface from the individual strands standing straight up. This gives them a luxurious feel, but they’re easily worn down making them only suitable for low traffic areas. They’re also susceptible to staining.
Some cut piles are more suited to traffic. A textured cut pile carpet has yarn strands that are twisted into spirals so they don’t reflect as much light, making footprint indentations less obvious. This can suit a medium traffic area. Frieze cut pile uses strands that are twisted and kinked and therefore curl in all different directions. This is more suited to high traffic areas as it hides wear and tear, and dirt.
Overwhelmed by the possibilities? Let us help.
It can be difficult to work out which carpet to choose. Why not have a chat with one of our experts? We can help you figure out which carpet types are right for your space.