Expert Advice and Buying Tips
With advances in manufacturing technology, 95% of all carpet produced today is tufted. It takes about an hour to make a roll of carpet that might take eight hours to weave. To make tufted carpet, hundreds of yarn-threaded needles are pushed through the primary backing fabric to form loops or tufts, which may be left as is or cut.
A heavy adhesive coating is applied to hold the tufts in place and a secondary backing is usually glued on for strength and stability. A wide variety of styles and textures can then be created using various techniques.
Woven carpet may be in a tiny minority of today’s production but still produces some of the finest carpets which are used for prestigious installations.
Axminster – The pile of the carpet is inserted into the backing as it is woven and cut to length, creating U-shaped tufts to give a velvety surface. The process locks in the fibre to create a carpet of high durability and performance retention as well as a luxury feel. The process allows for intricate designs and colours to be used – although modern trends mean that the traditional patterned axminster has given way to current fashion trends for plain carpets.
Wilton – Wilton woven carpets are produced in a similar way to axminsters – the principal difference being that a continuous fibre is woven all the way through. The carpet can be sheared to create a range of cut and loop textured effects. The result is a high quality carpet of unrivalled durability.
Flat weave – Manufactured in the same way as wilton, flat weave is a loop pile which allows the yarn to be woven across a wider area to created a flatter, more textured effect.
Needlefelt – These carpets are produced by intermingling and felting individual synthetic fibres using barbed and forked needles forming an extremely durable carpet. These carpet ranges are normally made for the contract market such as Hotels, Schools, offices etc where there is a lot of foot traffic.
Which fibre is right for your room?
The main yarn fibres used in the majority of carpets are wool, nylon, polypropylene and polyester. All these fibres have different characteristics and distinctive properties which are important to consider when purchasing a carpet for the right purpose.
Wool is a natural fibre and a great renewable resource. Wool is a hard wearing fibre and combined with excellent appearance retention is very suited as a carpet fibre ensuring the carpet looks newer for longer. Wool is used on its own or often mixed with nylon and polypropylene to increase its resilience to wear. Wool is easy to clean and flame retardant.
Nylon is a very durable man made fibre which is used on its own or blended with other fibres. This fibre wears extremely well and is available in a multitude of colours. Stains can be easily cleaned and is resistant to soiling.
The main benefit of Polyproplene carpets is that it is extremely effective in resisting stains caused by spillage. The fibre is hard wearing and when used on its own in carpet and is a popular choice for young families.
Polyester is used extensively in long pile carpets like saxonies and is available in multiple colour choices. The fibre is light weight and very durable which is used on its own or blended with other fibres to reduce shedding.