Tuesday, April 23

Stepping out

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Selecting the correct carpet for each room in the home means you must consider what will suit your budget, personal style, traffic volumes, comfort, warmth, allergies, stain resistance and durability

Innovations have made modern carpeting more attractive, durable and stain-resistant. Carpets add beauty and style and homeowners can choose from a wide variety.
A carpet can be a neutral foundation, or a focal point with vibrant colours and bolder patterns and textures.

Studies have shown people with asthma and allergies have seen symptoms improve when a carpet is installed because it improves indoor air quality. The carpet acts as a passive air filter, trapping dust, pollen and other particles.

In colder climates and seasons, a carpet will retain warm air longer and provide a comfortable place to sit, play or work.

For toddlers and the elderly, carpets cushion footsteps, prevent slips and falls and minimise injuries when falls do occur.

Carpets also help absorb sounds from television sets, speaker phones, computers and sound systems.

Every room has different requirements to consider when selecting the best carpet.


A carpet in a master suite or guest room is less likely to become stained than a carpet in a room used by a young child or teen. For an adult bedroom, softness and comfort underfoot are most often top of the list.

There are two main types:

* Wool adds a soft, luxurious look and feel to a bedroom, but this natural fibre can be pricey.

* Synthetic carpets are usually more budget-friendly. Nylon is highly durable and is typically the most expensive synthetic option. Polyester carpeting is usually less expensive and is also non-allergenic.

A good choice for a child’s bedroom is a soft nylon or inherently stain-resistant polyester carpet.


Your lifestyle and personal taste are key factors. For families with children and pets, where the living room is used daily, stain resistance and wear are top concerns. A solution-dyed or stain-treated product is a good option.

If your living room is for formal use only, consider a classic cut pile saxony or sophisticated cut-and-loop patterned carpet. A textured plush or a frieze will work well for a more casual lifestyle.


Active households with children and pets demand carpets that are stain-resistant and constructions that stand up to a lot of traffic. Dense textures, loop piles and many patterned carpet styles tend to show less matting and traffic patterns. A multi-coloured, textured looped carpet made from wool or nylon will probably be more forgiving. 


A plush saxony carpet can be a great choice for an elegant look. Polyester carpets with inherent stain resistance, solution-dyed nylon carpets or nylons with advanced stain resistance are safe bets for dining rooms, where soiling from spilled food and drinks is a concern. Products that feature anti-microbial and other topical treatments will also help protect against spills.


For high-traffic areas, a low-profile, densely packed carpet can add to the life expectancy of carpet. Because of its resilience, nylon carpet is often recommended in pulled-down textures or level-loop constructions.

For stairs, the direction of the pile should run from top to bottom (not sideways) to ensure better wear and prevent gaps between fibres where the carpet bends over each step. Stairways open on one or both sides require the carpet to wrap around the outside edge of the staircase, presenting the possibility of a portion of the backing to show. A longer pile, such as frieze, tends to hide seams better than short or looped piles.

(Sources: World Floor Covering Association www.wfca.org and The Carpet & Rug Institute www.carpet-rug.org)

Ask questions and do careful research when choosing flooring 

Nothing stays the same underfoot, so South African homeowners should study new trends and innovations – and ask suppliers lots of questions when selecting flooring, says Brandon Park, chief executive of KBAC Flooring. 

Park says although the choice of domestic flooring for specific areas of the home generally depends on personal preferences, the volume of foot traffic, ease of cleaning and maintenance, the bottom line is how much the homeowner can afford to pay and what kind of quality they will get for their money. 

“The performance of carpeting, to a large extent, depends on its yarn system. In South Africa, there are generally four primary types: at the top-end are relatively pricey 100% wool carpets, or ‘wool-rich’ carpets which are typically 80% wool and 20% nylon blend; then there are 100% nylon carpets, followed by acrylic blends and, lastly, pure polypropylene carpeting which is the cheapest, but not always the wisest selection. 

“Although polypropylene is cheaper, nylon carpets developed locally have become economically viable alternatives. Durable and resilient nylon carpeting, ideally, should be every homeowners’ preferred choice when it comes to costing the life cycle. It resists flattening and retains pile depth far better than polypropylene and looks good for much longer than other man-made fibres. 

“When considering nylon flooring, the homeowner should establish if the carpeting was produced from solution dyed nylon (SDN), which is superior to other yarn types in terms of colour retention, durability and performance. For the SDN process, pigment is used to colour the yarn as it is extruded, melting the pigment directly into the nylon fibre. Pigmentation is inherently more bleach-resistant than other dyeing processes, and by directly colouring the yarn in this way, SDN carpets offer greater resistance to colour-depriving bleach cleaning products.” 

Park says SDN yarn resists abrasion and stains better than most other fibres and is easier to clean. Nylon carpets also retain their colour and have UV stabilisers added during production to help withstand exposure to direct sunlight. 

When it comes to choosing rugs, it is now also possible, thanks to glue-free installation systems to connect carpet tiles and planks, to form innovative custom-made rugs to add warmth to cold floors in winter. The rugs can be lifted for storage during summer. – Property Writer

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