This is one of the most commonly asked questions I get from customers when I am working in their homes. I often spend a lot of time talking to my customers either during the clean or at the pre inspection survey about their carpets and the best ways to maintain them over the years. I think its important to go for quality if you can because quite simply it will last longer and actually save you money over time. ‘If you buy cheap you buy twice’ is the saying and this is very true when it comes to carpeting.
There are two main types of carpeting which people tend to go for these days. These would be either a wool mix 80/20 or polypropylene synthetic fibre. There are other types available but these two are the most common and are what majority of people will tend to have in their homes.
80/20 means 80% wool fibres mixed with 20% man made fibres. A good quality wool mix will stand the test of time, they are incredibly resilient and they wear very well over the years. They have a soft luxurious feel and because of the high wool content they are really warm. That being said I would always recommend that if you choose this type of carpet then it is really important to keep it well maintained, by this I mean have the carpet protected with a scotch guard protector this will really help to keep it as stain resistant as possible. It wont stop the carpet from becoming dirty but it will act as a barrier if you accidentally spill something like a cup of tea or coffee, it will prevent the liquid from penetrating the fibres to much so it is easier to clean out. Have the scotch guard topped up every few years by a professional cleaning company.
Another real benefit of wool is that you don’t end up with walkway areas becoming completely flattened over the years this is because the wool fibres are hard wearing and they will bounce back.
If you choose to invest in a wool or wool mix carpet then keep it well maintained by having it professionally cleaned once a year or every other year, if you do this you will enjoy the carpet for many years to come.
Polypropylene also known as olefin has become increasing popular in recent years. It is a fairly low cost floor covering essentially made from plastic. There are different grades of polypropylene and some of the more expensive carpet types are quite nice and do wear quite well depending on where in the home they are fitted. I personally wouldn’t put them in high traffic area places if your going to have this type of carpeting it may be better off in a bedroom or study this is because it is easily crushed and once it is crushed it wont recover the pile again this can create what looks like a dirty traffic lane but actually it isn’t its just where the carpet pile is permanently worn. The flattened yarn can then trap fibrous soil and this is where it becomes difficult to remove.
This type of fibre has a natural resistance to water based staining and soiling but it does have an affinity to greasy oil based stains and soils. It doesn’t matter if these soils are animal mineral or vegetable in nature they will all be attracted to polypropylene.
It is also very sensitive to heat ie a hot pan from the kitchen or friction from dragging heavy furniture across the carpet can melt the fibres. Wool on the other hand has an excellent flame retardancy.
This type of carpet wont benefit from a scotch guard protector but being resistant to water based soils it can be easier to clean in some aspects however it just doesn’t wear as nicely as a good quality wool.
So that is a brief description of the two main types of carpets people tend to choose… what would I recommend? I would always go for either pure wool or wool mix, when well maintained it is always the better choice in the long run. Polypropylene can be ok if you go for the more expensive types and if fitted in a low traffic area such a bedroom they can be ok.
There is one type of carpet that everyone should avoid!! Viscose Rayon ( also sometimes known as art silk or Tencel)
Don’t be fooled, although it looks nice and seems to be trendy this fibre is an absolute nightmare. From a carpet cleaners perspective we hate it. This type of carpet will often be really expensive you can buy full areas of carpet or often viscose can appear in rugs aswell.
It is made from a fibre that is neither synthetic or natural. A viscose liquid is made from wood pulp or cotton linters it is chemically teated then processed to produce a continuous filament fibre.
Because of the nature of what is is made from it is extremely sensitive to water if you imagine paper then imagine paper when its wet, that is essentially what you have when you wet a viscose carpet. They are extremely difficult to maintain, spill anything on them and you will most likely ruin the carpet, they can only be cleaned using a dry clean method and results are always minimal, basically it might look pretty but its far from being practical so unless you intend to have a room carpeted and never go inside it then i would avoid this type of carpet!