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Flooring: Choosing the right carpet

Choosing the right carpet for your home is a major decision. If you get it wrong, it will cost you money and be underfoot for a long time.


There is a huge range of carpeting to choose from. You'll need to consider styles, colours, fibres, grades and prices before making this significant purchase.

Get some advice from a carpet retailer or carpet cleaner to help you decide which carpet is best for your home, your lifestyle and your budget.

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Carpet fibres

The main types of carpet fibre are:

  1. Nylon
  2. Wool
  3. Wool/synthetic
  4. Polypropylene

Nylon is more durable than wool, but it can look tired in a shorter period of time. Advances in stain treatments mean that nylon carpets are more stain resistant than they used to be. Nylon carpets are available in a brighter range of colours than wool because they are easier to dye.

Wool carpets are softer, easier to clean and look better for longer, retaining their high quality appearance for a longer time than nylon. Wool carpets also have superior stain resistant qualities and are more resistant to burns. However they are more expensive than any other carpets.

Synthetic/wool blend carpets are only slightly cheaper than wool carpets and so cost savings are minimal. They also don't retain their good looks quite as long as pure wool, and have less burn resistance.

Polypropylene carpets are relatively inexpensive and have good durability. They are not as soft as either nylon or wool but they can be a good option for rooms that are used for storage, kids playroom or other places where appearance is not too much of a concern but durability is important.

Carpet types

The softness of a carpet depends on how the yarn is cut and woven.

Loop carpet: the exposed yarn is looped and not cut making it less likely to show marks from vacuuming and walking. Loops are ideal for high-traffic areas.

Cut and loop carpet: has cut yarn interspersed with loops in different heights making it softer than the loop type. Best used for bedrooms and areas of your home that are seldom used.

Saxony: has twisted and softened yarn, making it durable yet comfortable, for high traffic areas like office floors. For family rooms, consider a cable type that is made up of thick, twisted yarn that feels soft underfoot.

Plush: carpets have cut yarns in equal heights for an even appearance. This makes vacuum and foot tracks highly visible so it is best used in areas that are seldom used.

Velvet: is great for formal function rooms because of its elegant shimmer. However velvet is high maintenance as tracks and other marks are easily visible. A design in velvet helps disguise the marks.

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