Helpful Advice

Thinking of buying a new carpet?

New flooring will change the look of your home to an amazing extent, but there are some issues and considerations for you to bear in mind.

We are often asked about different carpet options, so here are a few FAQ's, answered:


Q. What kind of carpet should I be considering - there seems to be so much to choose from? 

A. Carpet is usually made from natural products, like wool and/or plant fibres. But man made plastics (Polypropylene, Nylon etc.) are also available. The first things you need to consider are; What's your budget? How often is the area going to be used? How long do you want it to last and keep looking good? What are your colour choices? What kind of texture do you want?


Q. So, what's the difference between wool and man-made products?

A. Good quality wools, from either Great Britain, or New Zealand are by far the best wools to choose from. This is largely down to climate, although breed and feed are important too. Be aware that cheap wool does not perform at all well - Wool from warmer climates is going to be brittle and will show signs of wear very quickly indeed. You need to be aware of this if you are offered 100% wool products that seem remarkably inexpensive.

Polypropylene is a plastic that has been used in the manufacture of floor-coverings for some time now. It is very strong and won't wear out. Some polypropylene products are even bleach cleanable! It is cheap in comparison to wool, but loses its appearance very quickly - sometimes over just a few weeks in high traffic areas! It will flatten and adopt a surface sheen in doorways, stairs and, if you sit in the same chair often, under your feet!


Q. So, what about Nylon?

A. Nylon is even stronger than Polypropylene and suffers much less from flattening, or going shiny. However, Nylon is comparatively expensive and tends to lose its colour more quickly than either wool, or polypropylene.


Q. So, 100% wool is the best option?

A. Ah...Not always! Actually, a mix of 80% wool and 20% man-made is recognised as the optimum blend for a twist pile carpet - the wool ensures that the appearance is retained, whilst the man-made element adds a little more strength.


Q. Twist pile? - what's that? 

A. Basically, there are two types of carpet pile; a twist pile and a looped pile.  The diagrams below will show you the difference. 




Q. So, what's best, twist, or loop pile?

A. In terms of everyday use, neither one is 'better' that the other - It's all a question of taste, as they both look quite different.  However, there are some practical considerations to take into account when choosing a looped pile carpet;

Like twist pile, there are different 'weights, or strengths' available, this is determined by how many strands of yarn are used in the loop.  As a general rule you will want a three or four ply loop for heavy traffic areas (lounge, hallways, stairs etc), but a single, or two ply would usually be OK for rooms that only see occasional use (spare bedrooms).

Also, it's advisable not to use a vacuum with a rotary beater bar on the cleaning head, as this will tend to 'fluff up' the loops since you're brushing the side of the yarn, as opposed to the tip as with a twist pile.  In addition we would not recommend a looped pile carpet to homes with cats, as they just love to get their claws into the loop and pull it! 


Q. You mentioned weight and strength, how is this determined?

A. Carpet is available in different weights, so you'll often hear about a 50 ounce, or 40 ounce etc. This refers to the weight of material used in the carpet per square yard (yd2).  Naturally, the same applies to square metres, but this is measured in grames.  The equivalent to 50 ounce being 1695g per metre square (m2).  

You will find carpets available with anything from 26 - 90+ oz per yd2 and, as a rule, the more material used, the stronger and more luxuriant the carpet will be.  Again, for high traffic areas a 50 ounce (1695g) is recommended, where bedrooms could be at 30-35 ounce.

However, further strength can be gained from the use of multi-ply yarn, (just like in a looped pile carpet), in a twist pile.  It is unusual for a twist pile to have more than three ply though.


We hope that the above FAQ's have been helpful and you'll be able able to purchase your next carpet with confidence and armed with sound advice.