Fit for purpose?
2nd February 2016
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“Fit for purpose?”

Buying any flooring isn’t an everyday affair so for this very reason you don’t want it to be a costly mistake.

I remember when I used to work in a department store in Trowbridge one customer said “Paul’s a nice bloke but he won’t give me what I want!” which wasn’t altogether true.  Another client in the shop here one Saturday morning when waiting, overheard my conversation with another and said “Ignore their advice at your peril because what they don’t know about carpet isn’t worth knowing.”

All very nice but there is an element of truth in ignoring the advice of someone you seek it from – even though it is perfectly within your remit to do so – which can be costly in the long run!

When we are talking with a client we want to find out not only what they want but also gauge what their expectations from any new floorcovering are.

Here’s a few tips to help you when setting out to choose a floorcovering:

1.      BUDGET!  Most important thing to think about is how much you can, or want to, spend and communicate that at some stage in the process.  A good salesman only exceeds a budget at their peril!


As a tip measure the area you want to cover and divide the sort of amount you would like to spend by that meterage to arrive at a square metre price.  REMEMBER that this price will include ALL the relevant item costs i.e. carpet, underlay, any gripper etc. required AND fitting.


Ask the salesperson if that budget is realistic and if not why not.


REMEMBER however that you need to account for a carpet width (usually 4 or 5 metre) when calculating the overall meterage.  Another tip is that a standard hall, stairs and landing is roughly the same meterage as your lounge!



2.      FIBRE.  Your budget will almost certainly dictate what fibre you can afford but think about which one you would like.  There are principally four fibres.

POLYPROPYLENE – is basically a plastic fibre.  Tends to be the cheapest of fibres and cover quite an extensive range of carpets within the lower/middle end of the market.  Whilst it is a good fibre for neutral shades it can be quite limited when it comes to colour.  It is very stain resistant but does flatten (and tends to stay flat even after cleaning) quickly if not maintained well or of the cheaper end.  Most polyprops are twist pile but there are lots of the Supersoft piles around now which give you a softer, more luxurious carpet.

NYLON or POLYMER – a fibre that is extruded in a white form (unless solution dyed) and then dyed afterwards.  Nylon carpets are very hard wearing and especially suited to office locations.  Most nylon fibre carpets tend to be in the middle end of the market and do need a good maintenance program for optimum performance.  There are some great Super Soft fibres around nowadays such as iSense and Satino which will give you that lush underfoot feeling.

SMARTSTRAND – is a more eco-friendly that polyprop and is extruded from sweetcorn.  A relatively new fibre to the market that is proving to be a real success in bridging the gap between wool and polypropylene i.e. it has all the benefits of both! 

Pricewise it sits more in the middle/upper end of the market but is well worth the investment as you get good colour, softness and the ultimate in luxury, especially with the new Smartstrand Silk fibre, all in the one product.

WOOL – tried, trusted and well used in the textile market for centuries.  You can pretty much get what you want in a wool carpet – plain, flecked, marbled, patterned, textured, long and short piles. 

OUR ADVICE? Always buy from a reputable manufacturer who uses either branded British or New Zealand yarn for the best results.  British wool tends to be a more crinkly fibre that is resistant to flattening whereas New Zealand wool is usually straighter and whiter therefore generally used in more luxurious carpets with pastel shades.

You get what you pay for in wool and the cost de[ends on the quality of the wool, the tuft and the manufacture i.e. woven or tufted.


3.      YOUR LIFESTYLE – what sort of lifestyle do you lead.  Are you busy?  Is your home a busy, bustling hive of activity or is it your place of retreat and solice?  How much time can you “devote” to vacuuming your carpet?  Does your lifestyle allow you to have plain pastel shades or does it require something more patterned and robust?  Do you have pets or children as both create mess!


I often joke with people and say “My sister could have a white carpet and it’ll still be white several years to come!  Me – black as night!”  Some people are more to be able to cope with something elegant whilst the rest of us just need practical!


Remember that a textured loop carpet requires a different sort of maintenance to a twist.  A polyprop performs differently to wool and if you want the benefits of both you may have to increase your budget to allow for Smartstrand.


4.      EXPECTATIONS – a lot of people’s introduction to a particular style of carpet will have been through a magazine or makeover programme on TV.  Remember that these often are snapshots at the start of a carpets life, in the case of the makeover, and photographers can and do use photoshop! 


Most of the disappointments I hear about are down to expectations that haven’t been met.  Be sure to discuss the benefits and pitfalls of all you look at.




At the end of the day your new carpet should be something that you enjoy for years to come.  Hopefully by following the advice given you will be better prepared to make the right choice in the future.


About the Author

Avonvale Carpets

Member since: 18th March 2014

Avonvale Carpets has served homeowners and businesses throughout Bath and Wiltshire for over 46 years, providing a unique combination of excellent choice, in-depth expertise, and perfect fitting. A family-run...

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