1. A Full and Varied Selection is Important.
Your carpet source should have a large and varied selection of carpets with different fiber and weave options. Wool, synthetics, blends, sisal, linen, jute, coir, woven vinyl and even paper each have their own looks. Woven backed carpets, Wiltons, Axminsters, tufted carpets, machine and hand-loomed area rugs have their own uses and strengths. A variety of patterns is helpful too, to stimulate your imagination and expand your options. A good selection will inspire you!
2. Fiber Facts
Whether it is wool or nylon, polyester or a blend, the more tightly twisted the fiber, the more abrasion it will withstand. Fiber length is also important. With long individual fibers, there will be less shedding, and the carpet fibers will stay where you want them: in your carpet! Test by digging your fingertips into the pile and dragging them across the surface. If you can scrape up a bunch of carpet fibers, the staples are too short, and your carpet may continue to lose density. If very few fibers come loose, that is good: your carpet will retain its body. Also notice how it feels: a poor quality yarn will be coarse and dry as well as fuzzy; a good quality yarn will feel soft.
3. Wool is what synthetics are trying to be.
Wool stays beautiful for years naturally. It is an extremely durable, crimped fiber which springs back into shape after you walk on it, so carpet won't show matted-down paths or heavily used areas. Wool's natural coating makes it stain resistant and easy to clean, and the scale-like configuration of its fibers helps to keep soil on the surface so it is easy to vacuum or blot up. Moreover, wool accepts dye readily, enabling pure and clear reproduction of every color imaginable.
4. Synthetics are better than ever.
Synthetics have enjoyed recent advances which have produced some very high quality carpet fibers which are stain and crush resistant (look for a texture retention warranty), reliably color-fast, and de-lustered for a more matte, less shiny finish. The best are Wear-Dated, guaranteeing their durability. Look for these premium branded products such as Tactesse, Dupont Stainmaster and Anso Crush Resister III.
The biggest advantage of synthetics can be their affordability, however, a good value in wool can be less expensive than a high-end synthetic.
5. Be practical about color.
Ivory and pale beige are by far the best-selling carpet colors, but they're most appropriate in light traffic areas. For stairs, entryways and other areas exposed to heavy use or soil, consider taupe or mushroom, which are light, but don't show soil and stains as readily. Darker is not necessarily better. Lint, dust, pet hair, and any other light-colored materials will be very noticeable on deep tones. However, deep tones in an otherwise light room will give the illusion of depth and make your ceilings seem higher.
Patterned or textured carpets are good at camouflaging footprints, soil and stains. Even a slight variation in carpet color or texture can help to hide signs of use.
6. Consider the texture, too.
Cut pile carpets such as velvets (short pile) and plushes (longer pile) are elegant, but they show footprints and can develop pooling- areas which look shaded because the pile nap has been reversed due to its natural bend. To avoid this, choose a berber, a wilton or a cut and loop pile, a very popular and forgiving choice with a mixture of loops and cut pile which hides most everything, including footprints.
7. Be careful on stairs.
Stairs are the most demanding application, where it is critical to select the right type of carpet. Wool carpeting is the ideal material for use on stairs and in high traffic areas. Woven carpet is the best choice for stairs because the woven backing keeps each piece of yarn in place. Cut pile is preferable to a looped pile, as the spaces between the loops are more likely to open up on the edge of the steps, referred to as "grinning". Density is also important. Try to separate the rows of fibers: can you feel the foundation? If so, the carpet may not be dense enough for use on stairs. An Axminster weave is the ultimate choice for stairs because it has these desired attributes: a dense, cut pile and a woven backing.
8. The old-fashioned way is still the best.
If you choose a carpet with a coordinating border, consider having it hand-sewn on, instead of heat seamed. A hand-sewn seam will be more secure, more flexible, and will not be harmed by washing. However, the process is more costly than heat-seaming.
Tapestry borders should always be hand-sewn, and the carpet must be low pile to accept the border neatly. At Florida Floor Fashions we fabricate our own tapestry-bordered carpets by first sewing the inside edge, latexing the middle, then securing the border with a sewn outside edge. You can't go wrong with a heavy upholstery weight tapestry, but your salesperson about the latest options in leather and other materials.
9. Expert Intallers are Essential!
Carpet installation is hard physical labor, and it can be difficult to find meticulous technicians. Be aware that most dealers use sub-contractors who are usually less skilled and less experienced than full-time employees, and more likely to create problems during this pain-staking process. At Florida Floor Fashions we use only experienced, factory-trained experts with an excellent record of customer satisfaction. It’s also best when the company has their own workroom, as we do, for binding and seaming. This allows more control over how and when things are done.
10. Seams shouldn't be obvious.
Seams shouldn't be obvious, but won't be invisible, so it's best to position them under furniture or in the least noticeable area of the room. Most carpet is 12 feet wide, so a seam (or seams) will be necessary if your room is wider than 12 feet. With some odd-shaped rooms, you'll have a choice: you can purchase less carpet and piece it together if you're willing to have more seams, or you can purchase more carpeting to avoid the need for extra seams. ASK about your options, or your installer may make the decision for you.
An experienced installer will be skilled at making seams less visible, but it is likely you will be able to see the seam if you look for it - it will not be invisible.
11. Your padding shouldn't be too soft.
For padding, we recommend 40-ounce fibercore, made of reconstituted carpet and pad. It is a firm non-allergenic pad; it won't mold, mildew or mat down, and is guaranteed for 20 years, even when you change the carpeting. For those who prefer more cushion, pure solid rubber (not the compressed foam type) is very good, but more expensive than fibercore. We do not recommend anything softer since a pad that is too flexible will allow the carpet to stretch.
12. Come in and Talk to Us!
The best way for us to help you is to meet with you in person. We encourage you to come into our stores to see our vast selection and to tell us about what you seek. We'll help you find the products best suited for your individual needs.
If you would like to have an in-home consultation, please call us at 772-589-4994 or click here to email us.
We look forward to being of further assistance!
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