Hi y'all! Hannah here. Some of you may know that I work as a textiles sales rep for a flooring company (Shaw Ind.). I receive a lot of texts and Facebook messages from friends and family who are building/remodeling and have found themselves overwhelmed by flooring options! Flooring is a significant investment that sets the tone for your home. Today, I'm introducing a short segment, Foray Into Flooring, to help you navigate your flooring selection process. Below you'll find the pros and cons of carpet to help you know what to look for and what to avoid.
We will begin with carpet. When you are looking for carpet, you want to pay attention to the fiber. There are many types of carpet fibers; I will summarize the 4 most common.
Nylon and polyester (which I will get to next) are the most common carpet fibers. Chances are, if you go to a big box store or flooring specialty retailer (I would strongly advise the latter, we will discuss that at another time), you will most likely see the majority of carpet offered to be Nylon or Polyester. I always advise clients to invest in nylon. Nylon has more buoyancy than polyester, meaning that there is more retention in the fiber (imagine a spring that bounces back after it is pushed down). It is the best option for high traffic areas, such as a living room or hallway. It is less likely to lay flat over time, and will keep its shape. Nylon itself is not inherently stain resistant, but today's technologies offer solutions to keep the yarn from staining (such as Shaw's R2X coating).
Below is the rug we purchased for our lower level. This masterpiece is nylon, made from a leftover piece of broadloom carpet and bound by a local flooring store. Our lower level is still missing accessories and artwork, but is slowly coming along!
Polyester is naturally stain resistant, but has less elasticity than nylon. This means that it will begin to flatten in high traffic areas after a shorter period of time. Polyester tends to come with a lower price tag, so there is a place for this carpet in the marketplace. I would limit polyester to low traffic areas like the bedroom and office; while investing in nylon for the living room, stairway, and hallway. In the long run, you will be happy to spend a few extra dollars on a carpet that will last much longer.
Wool is less common than nylon and polyester, but is a fiber worth noting. Wool is typically regarded as high end, and has the price tag to go with it. It is offered in broadloom format (wall to wall carpet), and is also a common fiber used for rugs. Most of the vintage Turkish rugs that are currently popular (and gorgeous!) are made of wool. Wool is extremely durable and does not easily loose its shape. It will keep its form for years, and show little wear. There are two major negatives associated with wool. It has the potential to start "balding" over time, and has little resistance to mildew if exposed to a damp environment. Because wool is classified as a high end product, it is often offered in colorful, intricate patterns. These designs can be wildly tempting, but I would hesitate to select a broadloom wool for my home. I prefer to err toward practicality when selecting the permanent home fixtures. Because rugs are easily replaceable, I find no hesitation purchasing a wool rug for a client. Lastly, keep in mind that wool is not as soft to the touch as nylon and polyester, and has a coarser texture.
*When shopping for carpet, keep your family's allergies in mind. (Ty is allergic to wool and jute, so that made my quest for a Vintage Turkish beauty quite challenging.)
If you've spent time shopping for a new rug, you have probably seen "Polypropylene" listed on the back of carpets. Polypropylene is very commonly used in rugs (and less commonly used in a broadloom format). Polypropylene is very inexpensive and stain resistant. I have several polypropylene rugs in my home. They are not as durable in terms of long term wear, but because they are inexpensive, they are great options or anyone who likes to redecorate on a whim (...guilty!).
I purchased the small red runner above at Homegoods for $16.99. Can't beat that price, right?
There are many other fibers including Viscose, Acrylic Modacrylic, jute, sisal, etc. If you have any question regarding any of these other fibers, please leave a comment below!
To summarize :
Now take me back to the NYC flea markets that were taunting me with exquisite rug offerings that I could not transfer home, nor afford without selling my car.
Thanks for reading about carpet fibers, y'all. A little less sexy than other topics, but worth considering as you renovate that living room! Later, we will discuss the pros and cons of hardwood, laminate, or vinyl.