Carpet looks good, feels good and is a cost effective form of floor covering. But care must be taken when selecting the most suitable type of carpet or carpet tiles for your situation.
Give some thought to where the carpet or carpet tiles will be placed. Carpet weaves, styles and materials vary enormously - and so does the price. Consider what best suits your lifestyle, because carpet can be like a pet - some varieties require a lot of attention to keep clean. In fact, having a pet - or infant - should influence your choice. Will there be regular "accidents" on the new carpet? Will there be a lot of hair shedding? Will the carpet or carpet tiles be in a main foot traffic area, such as a hallway? If so, a tougher and easier to clean carpet is most suitable. A thicker carpet can also "soften" the landing, when little ones are learning to walk.
Be prepared to pay for a good quality underlay, because that pays off with a longer life for the carpet. As well as protecting the carpet's backing and reducing strain on the fibres, good underlay in an excellent insulation for noise and temperature control. You can save money by laying thick underlay in main traffic areas, and thinner underlay elsewhere, such as spare rooms. Consult the carpet manufacturer's guidelines, or ask your carpet retailer, for advice. As a general rule, foam underlay should be 11mm for cut pile or cut loop carpet, while 9mm will suffice for Berber or thin loop.
When choosing the style of carpet, always ask for separate quotes for the material and the laying. This provides a better comparison between brands and retailers.
The popular cut pile styles are Velvet, Plush, Saxony, Hard Twist / Frieze, Shag, Twist and Heather Twist. Velvet and velour carpet have a short pile and are not so hard wearing. Saxony has a higher pile and flairs to make a smooth surface. Plush is also a level-cut pile, where the yarn has a little more twist which it is manufactured to retain. Cut and Loop is popular in new housing estates, and is a cut pile carpet with areas of loop that make it look sculptured. Hard Twist is also known as Frieze and is a cut pile with twisted tufts that curl slightly. Shag was popular in the 1970s and has never really gone out of fashion. The pile tufts are very long and it has an inviting, cosy appeal. Popular loop style carpets are Berber, Heather and Tweed, which are thicker yarns and good for tough areas, such as play rooms or family rooms. Sisal (also known as Cord) resembles plant fibres.
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