A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Carpet | Find the right style for your space
While there is a huge array of flooring choices in today’s interior design, you still can’t beat the cosy feel of carpet, especially during the winter months.Our showroom has thousands to choose from but if you want to do your research and narrow it down before you visit us here is our quick guide to carpets to get you familiar with your options.
Woven carpets have crossing threads that interlace one another, allowing patterns and colours to be woven in during production, rather than just printed on top – which allows for deeper and richer tones.
Once a labour-intensive handmade carpet, they are now produced by hand or machine, offering a wider pricing scale from a once premium price point.
Woven carpets are either a Wilton or Axminster weave. On an Axminster loom, individual tufts
are cut to the correct length then placed within the backing, while Wilton looms weave in a continuous loop, which is then cut to the correct pile height.
Axminster weaving is more versatile and can cope with multiple colours, so these carpets can easily be patterned whereas you will find Wiltons are usually plain or have limited colours.
Tufted carpets become a little cheaper as they are produced on tufting machines – a bit like very large sewing machines. They can be made from a variety of different yarns which include wool, nylon and polypropylene to polyester, and blends of these – and finished formats include twist pile, velvet or loop pile.
Tufted carpet has a reputation for being a sturdy, hardwearing and reliable carpet; the tufted style is remains a very popular carpet and rug option for homeowners.
Pile is the part of the carpet that you stand on. Its quality is judged by its ‘weight’, which is the amount of yarn used to make the carpet. In general, the more pile you put into a carpet, the more wear you’ll get out of it.
However, it’s not quite that simple. Deep pile, while luxurious, flattens more easily, so it’s best for a bedroom, where it’ll get less wear. Short pile wears better but doesn’t quite have that deluxe feel.
You’ll find many varieties of pile material, weight and weave, each offering a different look.
This is made from yarn that has been tightly twisted and set to form a pile with a slightly textured surface. Twist piles are produced in both plain and heather colours. Heathers are created using a combination of complementary coloured fibres to obtain a tonal effect.
Twist pile is extremely hard-wearing and less likely to show footprints or vacuum marks. They are hugely popular as they offer practicality and style. Great for family life, they can withstand lots of everyday wear. A good choice for living space and hallways.
Velvet yarns are straighter than twisted yarn, with the cut ends on top giving a soft, velvety surface. Twist and velvet piles look very different, but are similarly hard-wearing. If you want to go the extra mile and make your house feel super luxurious then a velvet pile carpet is for you.
Due to its long-lasting nature, a velvet carpet is perfect for people wanting to settle down in a home for keeps, while the thickness of velvet pile means it will give you not only ultimate comfort but also easy maintenance.
Replicating the look of natural flooring, such as coir and sisal, this features yarns that form loops on the surface of the carpet. Choose loops of differing heights for a textured feel, or loops of uniform height a neater pile.
Sturdy, stylish and sophisticated, loop pile carpet promises long-lasting quality with a contemporary edge that doesn’t require lots of maintenance, so is perfect for busy family homes.
Versatile for any space, they offer good value and choice, coming in an array of colours, patterns and finishes for a textured or flat surface finish. But do be careful if you have a pet with sharp claws, they may not be the best choice as they can catch on them.
Saxony carpets are longer-pile carpets that have a luxurious feel. Available in both wool and man-made fibres, they’re not really recommended for heavy-traffic areas, because the pile will flatten. Instead, save Saxony for the bedroom. They offer a superior underfoot comfort and are a great choice if you are looking to inject comfort and warmth into the home.
Wool is a natural fibre, so it’s more environmentally friendly than man-made materials. It also offers superior insulation and durability. Wool benefits from a natural crimp, which retains heat and therefore helps to reduce energy costs in the home. The crimped structure also means wool is naturally elastic, which helps it to recover from footstep marks. It also resists moisture and dirt, and is less flammable than man-made fibres.
Look to man-made fibres, such as polyester and nylon, if you’re on a tighter budget. They’re as hard-wearing as wool, but maybe just a little less sumptuous.
Polypropylene is a particularly family-friendly fibre. It generally costs less per square metre than wool and, because it’s dirt- and stain-resistant, it’s great for a busy family home.
The best of both worlds, wool-mix carpets contain both wool and man-made fibres. This gives a carpet both the beauty and warmth of wool, but in a more durable form.
So how do choose the right kind of carpet for your space
First, consider the area and amount of wear the carpet will receive. Halls, stairs and landings are high-traffic areas and ideally need hard-wearing, practical carpets with a good pile weight and density to maintain their appearance.
Bedroom carpets don’t receive such regular use, so there’s an opportunity to play around with different fibres and textures. Carpets with more luxurious qualities are ideal in this environment. There’s nothing more warming than a soft, luxurious carpet for your feet to sink into in the morning.
We are happy to visit your home and complete a full measure and installation survey before you go ahead with your order. However it’s useful if you visit with approximate measurements so we can give you a close guide on the final price. Just measure the widest and longest points of the room first. Then look at the shape of the space. Take into account any indentations, such as bay windows or alcoves. If you make a little plan and mark up the dimensions, locations of doors etc. – this is ideal.
Even the best carpet isn’t at its best without underlay and we always recommend underlay. It helps to create an even foundation if there are irregularities in the subfloor. It also acts as a sound-reducing barrier and reduces energy waste. Plus, it helps your flooring last longer, as there’s less friction and wear and tear between the carpet and the subflooring. We can help you to choose the right underlay for your floor.
We also advise if you are having a new carpet install new underlay – rather than try and re-use previous underlay which will have no doubt have ridges and wear which may then affect the neat level of your new carpet.
Carpet and underfloor heating
It’s perfectly possible to use carpet and underlay over most underfloor heating systems. Research from The Carpet Foundation has shown that a carpet and underlay with a combined thermal resistance not exceeding a 2.5 tog allows an underfloor system to operate efficiently. We can offer expert advice if this is something you are looking for.
The best bit – choosing your carpet! Whether you are opting for plain wool, contemporary patterns, a deep luxurious pile or stripes for your stairs, we have thousands of carpets to choose from in our huge Surrey showroom where we offer a complete carpet supply and fitting service. Come and find your perfect carpet. Find us.