Have Fun – Flooring (4)

Homeowners expect their carpet to maintain its color, resist stains, and, above all, provide a soft and luxurious feel. Even with these lofty expectations, however, carpets are simple products that consist of only two parts: backing and fiber. The backing is a cushioned pad to which you attach the fiber while the fiber produces the noticeable difference between carpets. Different fibers produce different feels and different levels of resistance to stains.

There is a wide variety of carpet available at carpet stores, hardware stores, and brand-specific stores. These stores sell carpet by the square metre, so come prepared with measurements of the amount of space you want to carpet.

Of course carpet is not your only option in flooring. Area rugs, laminate, and hardwood, as well as carpet, vinyl, ceramic and stone tiles are among your other choices. Area rugs provide an economical and flexible alternative to carpet, and hardwood, laminate, and tiling are all easier to clean than is carpet. In addition, these other flooring options are better for your allergies and work better than carpet does in high-moisture areas such as bathrooms and kitchens.

Carpet, however, has an unbeatable feel; the soft texture of carpet is warm and inviting on your feet all year, and especially during the winter. In addition, carpet is competitively priced and is even cheaper than hardwood, laminate, and ceramic and stone tiles.

For the most part, carpets fit into one of two styles: loop and cut-pile. These terms refer to the manner in which manufacturers attach the carpet fibers to the padding. As the names suggest, loop carpet has fibers that are attached to the padding at both ends, forming a loop, while cut-pile carpet has fibers that stand straight.

Level-loop carpet is the standard form of loop fiber and has loops of identical height. This style, especially high-density loop carpet, wears well and is easy to vacuum; consequently, it is a good choice for high traffic areas in your home. Unfortunately, level-loop carpet does not feel as soft as cut-pile carpet.

Alternative forms of loop carpeting are multilevel loops and Berber carpet. Multilevel loops have loops of different heights, which add a textured look to your carpet and still wear well. However, they also hide dirt between the loops and are thus difficult to vacuum. Berber carpets, on the other hand, have loops of especially thick yarn (perhaps wool) and often have a very luxurious feel. The thick yarn can snag, however, so save your Berber carpet for low traffic areas of your home.

Cut-pile carpet is generally more luxurious than loop carpeting, but it also retains more dirt and crushes easier than loop carpet. Therefore, use cut-pile carpeting in low traffic areas. Plush (or velvet) carpeting is the most formal cut-pile option, and it has a smooth level. Saxony and frieze styles are less formal (especially frieze) and minimize footprints.

If you can’t decide between loop carpeting and cut-pile styles, you can have the best of both worlds with cut and loop pile carpeting. As the name suggests, this style has both looped fibers and cut fibers. This manufacturing tactic creates a textured appearance but it is neither as luxurious as cut-pile carpeting nor as durable as loop carpeting.

Fiber: The most popular carpet fiber is nylon, which offers good resilience and a soft feel. Olefin fibers resist stain well while polyester retains color but is less resistant to pressure than are other fibers. Wool, which is the main non-synthetic carpet fiber, is also the most expensive carpet fiber. It is a difficult fiber to clean and stains easily, but it has a soft, luxurious feel and is very resilient. You can also purchase blends of multiple fibers, or acrylic, which is the synthetic version of wool (though it is less luxurious than is wool).

Padding: The backing on the fibers can reduce noise and add insulation to your home. The higher the density of padding, the better the padding is; in other words, the harder it is to compress the padding in your hand, the better the padding is.

Pile Weight and Height: Pile weight refers to the weight of the yarn in every square yard while the term “pile height” refers to the height of the yarn (whether loop or cut-pile). In general, a heavy pile weight and a longer pile height make for a better carpet, but fibers of varied height minimize footprints better than do uniformly tall fibers.

Twist: Twist refers to the way in which the fiber is spun into yarn. The tighter the twist, the more durable the carpet. Cut-pile carpets should be heat-set so that they retain their twist over time.

Density: There are two types of density: the amount of pile in the carpet and the amount of tufts in the backing. In both cases, high density is better. To test tuft density, fold back the carpet and see if you can see the backing; the less you can see it, the better.

Branded Fiber: Branded fibers have been treated with stain and soil repellant before they were attached to the backing. Consequently, they better repel stains than do fibers that only had repellant sprayed on top of them.

The type of carpet that will best suit your home depends on your answers to several questions.

• How much are you willing to pay? Wool carpet generally costs thirty to sixty dollars per square yard while polyester costs twelve to fifteen dollars and nylon is between those two prices. In addition, you should find out whether extras, such as installation, a warranty, and padding are included so that you can accurately compare prices.

• Where will the carpet go in your home? Level-loop carpets work best for high traffic areas such as hallways and stairs while tall, cut-pile fibers provide a luxurious feel in low traffic areas. Look for the five-point performance scale. A carpet that scores a four or five will work well in high-traffic areas, while a two or three is adequate for low traffic areas.

• What color? Color is a personal choice, and you should decide whether you want a muted color or a color that will bring attention to itself. Light colors make a room seem large and bright while cool greens and blues contribute to a calm and cozy feel. Most colors will seem darker at home than at the store, but in general, you do want a carpet that is darker than the wall color. In addition, consider whether you want a carpet of uniform color or a more artistic carpet.

After you choose a carpet, keep a copy of your receipt and a sample of the carpet, and don’t sign off on an invoice until you are satisfied. Ask the installer whether there is anything else you need to know, such as when you can walk on the carpet or how you caThe major disadvantage to carpet is that it is more difficult to clean than are other flooring options. Instead of simply sweeping up dirt, you have to vacuum and take special steps to prevent stains. With the proper practices, however, you can keep your carpet in great shape.

You should regularly vacuum all the carpet in your home (some experts recommend twice a week), particularly high traffic areas. Move slowly and deliberately back and forth over the carpet using a quality vacuum cleaner.

If you have a major spill or stain, spot-clean the carpet immediately. You can purchase carpet cleaners that require you only to spray the stain, wait a few minutes, and then blot up the stain. If you have especially bad stains, however, you may have to take more drastic measures. Websites such as http://www.ehow.com have tips on cleaning everything from vomit to coffee.

On occasion, your carpet may need a deep cleaning, which you can do yourself if you rent or buy a steamer. Remove everything from the room or put plastic film under the legs of furniture. Vacuum the room thoroughly and spray soiled areas with prespray. Then, fill the steamer with hot water and rinse the carpet according to directions. Next, use the machine to extract the water and continue extracting water until no water droplets appear on your hand when you press the carpet. Finally, leave windows open and use fans to let the carpet completely dry before you walk on it again.

You can also hire professional cleaners to steam clean your carpet, even when your carpet does not seem particularly dirty. If you hire professional carpet cleaners, make sure you know exactly what you are going to pay and what they are going to do before they begin. Many carpet cleaners offer services such as color repair, odor control, spot removal, and preventative care, so find out exactly what services you will receive.

Article from: www.heataroom.co.za