By Alnoor JUMA
Over the last decade, carpeting has relinquished its predominant position in the floor covering industry, to harder types of flooring, such as wood, laminates, ceramics and natural stone (marble, porcelain, granite) especially in the residential sector.
However, it still maintains a respectable 30 – 40 per cent of the floor covering industry due to important advantages, mainly aesthetics underfoot comfort, a feeling of warmth, coziness and excellent sound insulation.
It remains the flooring of choice for bedrooms in both palatial homes and luxury hotels, primarily because it is the foundation of a rich, warm ambience. A thick, white carpet in your living room indicates a singular lack of compromise in entertaining your distinguished guests.
The primary advantage of a carpet over other types of flooring lies in the versatility of choice in colour, the myriad design and textures, availability, giving the interior designer virtually unlimited choice in selecting decorating themes such as classic floral to abstract, geometric designs. One can even obtain a neutral or minimalist look by selecting a leather or tweed pile type of carpet. The design possibilities are endless.
Another point to consider is cost – it can be an economical alternative to move expensive types of hard flooring, such as solid timber or marbles and yet offer a more luxurious appearance.
Carpet can easily hide imperfections in the floor – construction defects are easily covered up. Sound insulation is a challenge easily solved by the installation of carpet and underlay. Higher slip resistance, very important to the elderly and young children is another important advantage of carpeting, especially in areas like bathrooms and staircases.
Most carpets today have an application of stain resistance so that most spills easily come off it and spot remover with towels is all you need for interior maintenance, which if done regularly, will greatly reduce the frequency of professional cleaning.
Choosing the carpet
Selection of the appropriate carpet involves looking at several factors. When shopping for a carpet, look to buy the best quality that your budget can withstand. The better quality will be more economical in the long run, in terms of durability and cleanability.
How does one ascertain quality? Firstly, consider the type of fibre a nylon/wool blend or 100 per cent nylon carpets will last at least twice as long as any of the cheaper synthetic such as polypropylene, polyester and acrylic. Nylon and wool are also easier to clean and keep clean with only a good vacuum cleaner and a damp towel.
Secondly, look carefully at the density of the surface fibre. Fold the carpet backwards and check how much of the base is showing, look carefully along the length of each strand of fibre – its thickness and the number of twists. Different carpets can be compared directly in this way.
Remember – the longer the fibre, the greater the tendency to stumble. Hence, as a general rule, only use deeper pile carpets in bedrooms and rarely used boardrooms. The busy area should have a very short pile carpet with high density per square inch. This will greatly ease cleaning and give better appearance retention over time.
For those with a hectic lifestyle, selecting a soil – hiding pattern or colour is of paramount importance, earthy beiges, brown, taupe and rust tones will camouflage dirt. Stay away from ocean, off-white, pastel shades of blue, pink, grey and yellow, if you are looking for a practical carpet.
The right pattern
Pattern is also very important in soil hiding. A plain colored carpet will always show footsteps and dirt more easily than a patterned one, the heavier the pattern the better the soil hiding effect.
This is why we see heavy patterns in ballroom hotel carpets, where food and drinks are spilled constantly and there is no time to clean in between functions.
Recently we have noted a greatly increased use of patterned carpet tiles in residential spaces. In the Kenyan market the carpet tile is an extremely versatile flooring product. It can be easily installed by a lay person without adhesive, which means that it can be picked up when dirty and most of the available qualities can easily be washed under the kitchen tap, left out in the sun to dry and replaced within a few hours.
There are also quite a variety of patterns and colour available locally. Coordinating solids can be mixed with patterns to create stunning designs. Inlaid borders of contrasting colours can be done very easily without the need for an expensive installer.
All that is required is any straight metal edge, a trimming knife and a steady hand. Move on this exciting new trend in flooring, in the next issue where we will showcase different exciting design – colour combinations.
Alnoor JUMA runs Contract Carpeting, a firm that offers specialist carpeting and flooring services in the region. Email firstname.lastname@example.org