Carpet has longstanding been a favourite floor covering option for New Zealand homes. It is hard to go past the warmth, insulation and comfort that only carpet can provide, especially on chilly winter mornings.
Each flooring type has its own pros and cons, it's up to you to decide what option best fits your home and lifestyle. Here are some characteristics of carpet to help you decide if it is the right choice for you.
- As a general rule, carpet will look slightly darker when in a large format (such as installed in a room), than it will in a small sample size. It's most likely your chosen carpet will appear a good amount lighter during the day and near true to the sample you selected from at night.
- Carpet provides comfort to the home environment like no other flooring type can. The softness of carpet underfoot is second to none, it's friendly on tired joints, kids taking their first wobbly steps and it's also more enjoyable for children to play on, especially when the carpet is teamed with a good underlay.
- When walking across some types of carpet, you may notice footprints being left behind or marks from the vacuum cleaner, this is extremely common and known as ‘tracking’. Plush, shaggy or extremely soft carpets tend to be the worst offenders, but all cut pile carpets may show tracking. Tracking can range from either slightly noticeable to very apparent, depending on the texture and resilience of the carpet fibre. The imprints left behind will constantly change as you live your life on the carpet and are a visual feature which people tend to either love or hate. Not a fan? Select a shorter pile or a loop pile carpet.
- Unlike hard flooring, carpet won't scratch if you accidentally move furniture over it, or dent when walked upon with stiletto heels.
- Overtime you may notice your carpet starting to flatten in certain areas, in particular high traffic zones. High traffic areas such as hallways, doorways and main pathways throughout the home may show signs of wear before other areas. Read more about this here.
- Carpet is mostly sold in 3.66 metre widths, or occasionally 4 metre widths. Because rooms are typically different dimensions to this, carpet is joined together to fit the size of the room. With some carpet styles (such as cut pile styles) joins can be made virtually invisible, while with other styles (such as textured patterned styles), the joins may be just slightly noticeable. Carpets are joined by a special heat-bond tape and bonded using a seam iron. The thickness of the tape may cause seams to peak by 2-3mm, but this will settle down over time as the seam beds into the underlay. Learn more about carpet seams here.
- To ensure seams aren't noticeable, we recommend they're placed away from direct sources of light (such as a window or sliding doors) and are located in an as 'out of the way' place as possible. In some room layouts, there may not be any ideal location to place a seam so compromise may be required. Our recommendation is almost always to promote a 'Premium Finish' with as few joins as possible, particularly with textured patterned carpets. This tends to use more carpet however a better look is achieved.
- Regular vacuuming is essential to preserve the life of your carpet and to prevent premature replacement. Dirt and soil can grind at the carpet fibres and cause permanent damage to them, causing your carpet to “ugly out” before its time.
- Carpets can have a stunning appearance, but they can also be susceptible to pile reversal (also known as 'pooling' or 'watermarking'). Pile reversal changes the look of the carpet, making select areas appear either darker, or lighter, than their surrounding areas. Visually this is best described as a 'water puddle' on the carpet. The cause of this phenomenon is not understood and cannot be predicted or prevented. Pile reversal does not affect the wear or durability of the carpet and is not considered a defect or fault, but an inherent fibre characteristic. Although it’s occurrence is relatively rare, you can reduce the risk by considering a loop pile or textured/patterned carpet style. Read more about pile reversal here.
- Carpet is a textile product, just like a pair of jeans or a t-shirt. In a similar fashion to these textile products, which are known to stretch, carpet can stretch too. Re-stretching carpet is considered a regular part of carpet maintenance, just like vacuuming and steam cleaning. You can spot a carpet that needs a re-stretch by the visual looseness and ‘bagginess’ of the carpet. It will look more relaxed then when it was first installed. Other tell tale signs are what can be described as ‘waves’ in the carpet. It is important to have your carpet re-stretched as soon as you notice these symptoms as constant traffic over these carpet ‘waves’ will lead to the carpet wearing down unevenly in these areas, causing permanent damage. Read more about carpet stretching here.
- Well insulated homes are more comfortable, healthier and friendlier on the pocket due to reduced long-term heating costs. Carpet can help improve a home's heat insulation, particularly when paired with a dense, quality underlay.
- Acoustics within the interior of a home can be improved with the use of carpet and underlay, as the soft surface provided can help absorb some of the sound that may travel through the home. Footsteps, voices or the sound of furniture moving can be noisy, particularly in busy homes. Acoustic insulation from carpet and underlay is also very important for two story homes where noise can travel though floors, irritating occupants.
- Vacuuming twice a week is recommended for the regular kiwi household where there’s high foot traffic, little children moving around at floor level or pets. Once a week will suffice for quieter homes.
- Most carpet manufacturers recommend professional cleaning be carried out once a year and often carpet warranties can be linked to the upkeep of these maintenance routines. The exception is for wool carpets, as they should not be professionally cleaned using hot water extraction methods, or if needs must, only once in the carpets lifetime.
- For those wanting to make an environmentally conscientious floor covering choice, wool carpet is one of the best options available. Wool is a naturally renewable fibre and can be recycled at the end of its lifetime, as it decomposes without harming the environment. It also has natural fire-retardant properties with exceptionally low levels of flammability.
- Research has shown that carpet can assist with reducing allergen exposure in the home as carpet traps the dust that circulates in the air, readying for it to be vacuumed away. If Asthma or allergies are a concern, there are specific carpet types that are treated to further enhance this feature.
- Carpet has the potential to fade, particularly wool carpet. New Zealand has harsh UV exposure, and this coupled with our large windows and doors that let plenty of light in, could mean the potential for carpet to fade. If you know your carpet will be exposed to prolonged periods of intense sunlight, a solution dyed synthetic carpet may be the best option, their fibres are coloured right through (like a carrot rather than a radish), reducing your risk of colour fade.
- Marks and stains can be trickier to remove from carpet than hard flooring. This can cause the carpets appearance to be diminished if not treated correctly. Synthetic carpets offer superior stain resistance properties to wool carpets, as they do not absorb the moisture from spills, meaning they can be wiped away easier. Many carpets now come with stain resistant treatments that are very effective and a great choice for busy homes.
APPLIED IN THE HOME
CARPET WORKS WELL IN MOST ROOMS, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE KITCHEN, LAUNDRY AND BATHROOM.
KITCHEN : As trendy as it was in the 60’s, carpet will not work in the kitchen as it will not withstand food and fluid interaction and will stain and wear quickly. Opt for a hard floor in this area instead.
HALLWAY: Carpet may provide a welcoming and comforting environment for the hallway. If your home has a busy hallway, carpet may help with noise control but may be susceptible to wear due to repetitive foot traffic and introduced soil and dirt. If this is a concern for your home, make sure you choose a carpet rated for ‘Extra heavy Duty and Stairs’. Hard flooring in your entrance or a rug may reduce the amount of dirt being tracked in.
BEDROOM: Great for the bedroom, carpet will promote comfort and warmth, perfect for a relaxing environment. Hopping out of bed in the morning and landing on warm, soft carpet is also a hard feeling to beat.
BATHROOM & LAUNDRY: Carpet will not work in a bathroom or laundry due to the moisture and humidity exposure. Again, it is best to opt for a hardfloor in this area.
LOUNGE: Perfect for the lounge, carpet provides softness and comfort, and is great for children to play on or adults to sit on. Carpet’s noise insulation properties will help diminish the transfer of TV and social noise between rooms.