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. We've put together a list of common characteristics of carpet as well as frequently asked questions on the subject to help you decide if it is the right choice for you.
At Flooring Xtra we understand that choosing carpet can be confusing. Today there are so many styles, colours, and fibres to select from. When considering quality, fibre type, weight, tightness of the stitching and pile height are all factors that will affect a carpet’s performance. However generally the heavier the weight the higher the price and the better a carpet will wear. 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.
Remember, no carpet is bullet proof! All carpets require regular cleaning and maintenance to keep them looking their best and to ensure longevity. The most popular yarn styles include the following:
The most common and popular style for residential households, cut pile carpets are soft underfoot and durable, providing a great base to live on. As there are no loops to get caught on and pulled, it is a good option for homes with pets. Cut pile carpets come in a multitude of styles; they can have a long pile length for a retro, shag-like look, or a short pile length for low-maintenance. The construction may have a tight twist, this is called a cut pile twist, or a brushed, blown-out appearance, this is called a plush cut pile. When looking at purchasing a cut pile carpet, be sure to keep in mind that your cut pile carpet may be prone to showing footsteps and vacuum marks (read more about this here), or pile reversal (read more about this here).
A loop pile carpet is made by forming a loop in the thread. This style of carpet is hard wearing, durable and doesn’t tend to show tracking (footprints) as you will often find with other carpet styles. Loop twills are made by blending different colour yarns, making them better for wear with high traffic.
Texture carpets are a type of loop pile carpet. Usually made using a single colour, carpet manufacturers continually work on developments to maintain a contemporary look for this type of carpet. Designs range from high and low thread ups, to level loops.
Cut & Loop Pile
Cut and loop textures, or level loop and cut pile are carpets which have a combination of cut and loop pile. They often have a very fine and luxurious finish giving a prestigious finish to living areas.
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. The most popular carpet fibre types include:
Wool makes excellent loop, texture and plush carpet. The best quality wool is from New Zealand. Wool naturally resists general soiling, crushing, and most stains. Wool has inherent fire retardant and anti-allergenic fibre. The soft look and rich feel of wool is still unmatched by any man-made fibre, and may be more affordable than you think. Wool is a luxurious fibre, renowned for its resilience, durability and long-lasting appearance retention.
Solution Dyed Nylon
Solution Dyed Nylon carpets offer good fade and stain resistance. For this reason, they are a popular choice for young families. These carpets are constructed using man-made petroleum based fibres. Yarn memory ensures cut pile carpets hold their twist, meaning that with correct maintenance the carpet will look as impressive in years to come as the day it was laid.
These carpets normally have a soft, sumptuous feel. Triexta yarn is a derivative of polyester and is made up of 63% man made content and 37% corn sugar. Modern technology results in superior colourfastness, stain resistance and pile recovery ‘bounce back’ when walked upon.
Polypropylene is a lower cost option that provides good stain and fade resistance. While historically regarded as a “poor man’s fibre”, with recent development in yarn cleaning and heat setting, Solution Dyed Polypropylene (SDP) yarns provide a soft and sumptuous feel at a lower price than most other fibres. SDP carpets don’t hold dirt, are easy to clean and have proven to be very reliable.
A less expensive synthetic fibre, with good colourfastness properties when solution dyed. Polyester carpets are soft to touch and pleasant underfoot. This fibre type is most suited to low traffic areas within the home as it will crush (it is not as resilient as other fibres), making it wear quicker than other man-made fibres.
The fibre is made from P.E.T chips, some of which come from recycled plastic containers, making it an environmentally friendly choice. P.E.T fibre is stronger than polyester and has better abrasion resistance. These carpets normally have a longer pile so consideration needs to be given to possible pile flattening. Vacuuming may require specialised vacuum heads.
Carpet can help improve a home's heat insulation, particularly when paired with a dense, quality underlay. Well insulated homes are more comfortable, healthier and friendlier on the pocket due to reduced long-term heating costs.
It is important to note that 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.