Wool – Generally used for high-quality carpets, you’ll pay more for natural materials, but you’ll get a great looking floor covering that is made from sustainable fibre, is resilient and highly durable. It gets top marks for insulation, too – good for reducing heat loss and noise – and retains its appearance remarkably well. Wool also feels beautiful and soft underfoot!
Wool-mix – Some consider a mix of 80% wool, 20% manmade fibres (such as polyamide or polyester), as the best combination for an all-purpose carpet.
Polypropylene – This manmade carpet fibre is a popular choice, because it’s hardwearing and resistant to stains. It can be cleaned using a part-bleached cleaning solution, although always check with the manufacturer or retailer first. However, Polypropylene is flammable and not self-extinguishing.
Polyamide (also known as nylon) – Available in a wider range of hues and vibrant clear colours, that can’t be reproduced in wool. A good all-rounder for family homes, good-quality polyamide or nylon carpets come with built-in, stain-resistant treatments and score high marks for wearability.
Polyester – Often used for textured or shag carpets. Polyester is most like wool in appearance and feel, and is remarkably soft, durable and stain resistant. Most often used as a blend, rather than on its own.graph here.
Woven or tufted?
There are two types of carpet most commonly sold in the UK: tufted and woven carpets.
Woven carpets, such as Axminsters and Wiltons, are made using traditional loomed methods, and are labour intensive. You’ll get a premium finish, but these widely regarded as top-end carpets also come at a premium price.
Tufted is the most popular carpet type today and is made by a row of needles punching the pile yarn into a base material. It’s easier to manufacture, and can be made using all types of yarns with a variety of finishes. Tufted carpet can be looped or cut (or both).