When you’re looking at options for flooring in your home, carpet is one of the most popular options. And it’s no surprise really! It’s soft and warm, and comes in a wide variety of colours to choose from. Not to mention it’s one of the most popular flooring choices in the UK, and has been for many years.
But when you look for ‘carpet’, your flooring provider will likely ask you what kind of carpet you’re looking for. Because as with most things in life, there is more than one way to weave a carpet. There are essentially two different kinds of carpet fibre; wool and man-made, as well as a mixture of the two. Figuring out what type of carpet you want in your home will help you whittle down the shortlist, and hopefully make the decision a bit easier.
What is Wool Carpet?
Wool carpets are made from entirely natural wool fibres, with no artificial fibres added at all. They have traditionally been a very popular choice for carpets in any room, but specifically living rooms and bedrooms, where people tend to walk around barefoot, or in high traffic areas like dining rooms, landings, and hallways. So really, any room in the house! Wool carpets are usually made from the coats of animals like sheep, and spun into fibres before being woven together and attached to matting to create the carpet you know and love.
Why Choose Wool Carpet?
There are lots of reasons people prefer wool carpets over synthetics, including:
- Insulation: Since wool is designed to keep animals warm, it’s no surprise that wool is a great insulator. Wool carpets keep your home warmer, and could actually reduce your heating bill in the winter (as well as stopping you from getting cold toes first thing in the morning). It’s also fire-resistant. Which means sparks from an open fire won’t post much of a rise.
- Easy to clean: Wool has a great response to cleaning. They have an inbuilt resistance to soiling and dirt thanks to their natural oils. They can also be stain guarded, which means they can be resistant to more stubborn stains as well.
- Resilient: Wool carpets are very resilient to a high volume footprint, and will take a lot longer to sink, flatten and wear down, making them perfect for high traffic areas of the home. They are the hardest-wearing type of carpet you can find.
Of course, there are some negatives to wool carpets as well, like:
- More expensive: Wool carpeting is a more expensive option than man-made ones, so covering multiple rooms could rack up a slightly larger bill. For a good wool carpet you can generally expect to pay anywhere between £15 and £50 per square metre – though check with your retailer for exact prices.
- Prone to stains: While normal, everyday dirt and debris isn’t an issue for wool, they can be prone to staining if things are left to soak in. So if you don’t get the carpet stain guarded, you could end up with some stubborn stains to work out.
What is Man-Made Carpet?
Man-made carpets pretty much do what they say on the tin – they are carpets that have been made using synthetic, man-made fibres. While not necessarily traditional, synthetic carpeting has gained a lot of popularity over the years as the quality of fibres has improved. There are generally three varieties of synthetic fibre used; Polypropylene, Polyamide (Nylon) and Polyester. Each have slightly different properties – for example, nylon is the most popular option, while polypropylene is more stain resistant.
Why Choose Man-Made Carpet?
As we mentioned, man-made carpeting options have risen in popularity over the past few years, and for a number of reasons. These include:
- Stain-resistant: Synthetic fibres are perhaps best known for their stain resistance, which makes them the best choice for busy households with kids, pets and husbands who don’t take off their shoes when they come in the door! In fact, polypropylene is almost impossible to stain with water-based materials.
- No fading: If you have to clean your carpet, a man-made carpet can be cleaned with a mix of warm water and bleach without any risk of fading or damaging the colour at all. This is because the fibres have been heat set during production, and so won’t be damaged by the bleach.
- Comfort: You might think that wool carpets would be softer – but you would be wrong. If you’ve ever stroked a sheep, goat or alpaca, then you know just how soft man-made carpeting can be. It feels very comfortable underfoot, even with no shoes or socks. They also look as comfy as they feel!
- Cheaper: Man-made carpeting is cheaper to produce, and so it’s much cheaper to buy as well. Man-made carpets can start from as little as £7.99 per square metre – though these tend to be cheaper options, with high-quality carpets coming in around £15-£25 per square metre.
Just like with woollen carpets, there are some downsides to choosing a man-made carpet as well, including:
- Oil sensitivity: We mentioned earlier that synthetic fibres are almost impossible to stain with water-based substances. But they are a bit weaker when it comes to oils, Oily and greasy stains can pose a problem, and often need thorough cleaning to remove.
- Flatten easier: As a general rule, man-made carpets will flatten much faster than those made from natural fibres. While this has been improved by modern heat setting techniques, you will still see them wear and flatten much faster.
And if you can’t choose between the two? You could always opt for a blended carpet instead. These are a mix of wool and synthetic fibres, and usually come in an 80%-20% mix. This gives you all the luxurious feel of wool underfoot (and that insulation), but with the stain-resistant properties of man-made fibres.
At Floor 24, we stock a wide variety of carpets, including wool, man-made and blends, so we will always have something in stock to suit your needs. If you’re not sure what you want, you can always visit our showroom and see all of the different options in person, and one of our team will be happy to talk you through it and help you with a decision. To book your slot, or to find out more, just get in touch with us today.