First, be aware that carpet is not for everyone. People with allergies may have problems. Dust (and dust mites), pet dander and mold lodge in the pile of the carpet. Just because you do not see dust balls on the floor does not mean they are not there.
One other thing that can irritate allergy sufferers and other people is that dyes and chemicals are used in manufacturing and dyes can emit fumes that may irritate eyes and respiratory passages. This is especially true within the first few days after installation.
Broadloom carpet installs easily and offers a soft, warm, comfortable and quiet surface that adds a great deal to the decor of any home.
The big question is: How do you go about selecting the right carpet for you? The best solution is to learn as much as you can about carpets so you can recognize quality when you see it. The more you know about carpet, the better you can discuss your carpet needs with a dealer.
One of the first considerations in selecting carpeting is to know how much you need. Measure the area where you want carpet installed and calculate the square yardage. Write these figures down. Take notes also of where the carpet will be placed. Is there much traffic through this area? Think in terms of light, medium and heavy traffic. This will help you determine the kind of carpet construction, appearance, texture and other qualities.
Another thing you must keep in mind is that good dense padding can prolong the life of your carpet. It cushions and insulates the floor and reduces noise. Thickness is not a good measure of pad quality. Density is the key element in pad selection. For example, a 2 1/2-pound-per-cubic-foot urethane pad is only 3/8-inch thick, but it is quite good. I avoid pads made from pieces of foam glued together.
This is preliminary information that will help you to ask better questions of your dealer. When you are getting estimates, make sure to ask whether the estimate includes padding and installation.
The lighting in a showroom is probably different from that in your home. Take carpet samples home and see how the color, texture and pattern look to you in the light of your home. Examine them in the room where you are planning to place the carpeting in both daylight and nighttime illumination.
Carpeting is really a heavy fabric made from face yarns and backing. About 50 years ago carpeting was still woven on looms, but today more than 90 percent of these products are tufted. The machines that make tufted carpets work much like big high-speed sewing machines with many hundreds of needles.
All these needles work together stitching face yarn to a backing material, while hooks regulate the size of the loop. If the pile is to be a cut-type, a blade cuts the top of the loop. The backing, usually synthetic, is coated with a layer of latex adhesive and then reinforced with a secondary backing of jute, rubber, urethane foam or polypropylene.
If the loops are left standing, the carpet is called a loop carpet. If the loops are cut, the carpet is called a cut pile carpet.
The surface of any carpet is made up of what are called face yarns. These can be either natural or synthetic fibers. The four basic generic synthetics used in manufacturing carpet are nylon, olefin, acrylic and polyester. These fibers carry a variety of brand names. The synthetic fibers can have advantages over natural fibers because the synthetics have been engineered to suit specific situations.
As engineers developed the synthetic fibers, they reduced their sheen, developed processes to make them static-resistant and added chemicals to make them stain-resistant. As these advances in synthetic fibers were made, replacement guarantees began to be offered with the carpets.
Wool was once considered the ultimate fiber and is still thought to be one of the best by many. It is exceptionally durable and has a great look and feel. It is also very expensive compared to other carpet fibers
In the end, the best measure of a carpet’s quality is how well it performs. Performance depends on the characteristics of the fiber and the carpet’s construction. The weight of the face yarn is one way to measure quality.
A heavier yarn is better than a lighter one. Unfortunately, most manufacturers do not give out yarn weights. The density of the carpet is another quality measure. Density is measured by the number of tufts per square yard of carpet. Additionally, the more tufts of equal height per square yard there are, the more durable the carpet will be.
You can get a good idea of how densely a carpet is tufted by bending a sample in half and looking at the bent edge. You can usually see how closely the tufts are placed and thus judge the carpet’s density.
The last measure of quality to consider is the twist of the yarn. The ends should be neat and close, not flared. Finally, before you purchase any carpeting ask about the warranty on it. Remember that any cut pile will be less durable than any looped pile. Cut piles also hold dirt more readily because of the open fiber ends. These are all things that you must consider.