Practical advice

Carpet Need toKnows

STAINMASTER(R) carpet room shot

Learning about carpet

Choosing the perfect carpet is the exciting part. But there are practical matters you'll have to consider along the way; and it's worth familiarising yourself with the details before you head out.

Here's our guide to five of the most important things you need to know.

1 - Understanding measurements

When you see a 'price per broadloom metre' that means one metre cut off the roll. It doesn't mean a square metre.

Generally, carpet rolls are 3.6m long (that's about 12 feet if you prefer old measurement scales). So each metre cut off the roll has an area of 3.6 square metres.

It is worthwhile checking with your retailer whether your quote is in square metres OR broadloom metres, particularly if you are trying to compare quotes. It's also a good idea to ask your retailer to provide a laying plan that clearly shows the position of joins.

2 - The importance of underlay

A good quality underlay can improve the texture of carpet underfoot, prolong its life, reduce noise, and insulate against cold bare floors. So you'll want to make the right choice. You can choose from either a rubber waffle underlay which is moulded to provide a soft feel underfoot, or a foam underlay which comes in a choice of densities for different room types, and is made from recycled materials.

Generally speaking, the better quality the underlay, the better your carpet will perform. Your carpet retailer will be happy to provide advice about the best underlay for your needs and budget.

3 - Unrolling carpet jargon

You'll probably come across a few acronyms and terms as you compare carpets. Here's what some of them mean.

SDN - Solution Dyed Nylon
This means the colour has been added during the manufacture of the nylon fibre. This results in solid colour throughout the nylon fibre, and will provide excellent light fastness and colour retention. Usually SDN carpets can be cleaned with stronger non-bleach chemicals than non-SDN carpets.

ACCS - Australian Carpet Classification Scheme
ACCS is a voluntary industry labelling and grading system developed by the Carpet Institute of Australia. Used by all the major carpet suppliers, it covers carpets of all fibres and provides a guide as to expected wear and performance of the carpet.

Density
Density refers to how tightly together the yarns are packed together. A higher density carpet should wear better and this is important if you want your carpet to last. Here's a couple of tricks to compare the density of different carpet samples when you're shopping around:
1) The fingers test: the harder it is to push your fingers into the carpet, the higher the density.
2) Bending the backing: When you bend the carpet, can you see the backing? It's easier to see the backing on carpets with a lower density.

4 - Comparing quality

An ACCS rating shows how well a carpet has performed in independent durability and appearance retention tests. The more stars the better.

Yellow and blue labels - are graded up to six stars for residential use.

Gold and black labels - are graded up to four stars for contract and commercial use.

5 - Pile preferences

Choosing a pile type is largely a matter of taste, but will also impact on floor performance.

Loop pile carpet - has individual yarns pulled twice through the carpet backing, without cutting, to create a small loop. It has a more casual look and will generally be hard wearing.

Cut pile carpet - has loops that are cut at the top, once the loop has been formed, leaving tufts of yarn that stand up. It has a more luxurious, formal look than loop pile.

Cut and loop-pile carpet - has a combination of yarn in both loop and cut form. The loops are arranged to form a pattern within the cut-pile carpet.

Well that's the practical side of carpet shopping taken care of. Now enjoy finding your beautiful new look.

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