Types Of Carpets And Floor Coverings

These can provide the most comfortable and warm of coverings, but need not be really expensive. You may avoid cleaning problems later by choosing carpet with care. Consider, first of all, how much you intend to spend, and how much traffic there is in the room — high heels, children and pets can all be damaging to carpets!


Wool The traditional carpet fibre, now frequently blended with nylon (80% wool/20% nylon) to improve wear, and reduce cost. Wool resists dirt and stains very well.

Acrylic (`Courtelle’) An easy-care fibre, tough and durable. Unlike many man-made fibres, it does not cause problems with static.

Modacrylic (‘Teklan’) A flame-retardant fibre. It is usually used in a blend with other fibres — e.g., wool, which is naturally flame-retardant.

Nylon Very hard wearing but does not retain a good appearance. There are often problems with build-up of static which attracts dirt. There are carpets with antistatic finishes — e.g.,

`Celon’. Nylon can be easily cleaned.

Viscose (Cellulosic) (‘Evian’) Resists damage from rubbing by chairs, shoes, etc. and has a good pile. It is anti-static and easy to clean but not suitable for heavy wear.

Polypropylene A relatively new development, used for cheaper carpets such as cords. The pile tends to flatten and there are few colours. It cleans easily, and is a good choice for the bathroom as it is waterproof.

Polyester Often used in carpets, is hard wearing and soft to touch.

Cotton More usually used for bathroom and bedroom rugs. It is absorbent and machine washable.


Light domestic Bedrooms, bathrooms, guest rooms.

Medium domestic or light contract Living rooms and dining rooms, hotel bedrooms.

General domestic, medium contract Halls, stairs, public areas in hotels.

Heavy domestic, general contract All general public areas such as hotels, shops, offices and restaurants.

Luxury domestic/heavy contract The most expensive quality suitable for really hard wear in cinemas, hotels, restaurants and the home.

Luxury use Usually a long pile carpet of superior quality.


All carpet, unless foam-backed, should have a good underlay, either felt or foam (rubber or synthetic).

Never use old felt or old carpet as this will cause the carpet on top to wear in the same places as the old one. Good quality underfelt will increase the life of your carpet.


New carpets will shed fluff at first, so should not be cleaned vigorously. Remove fluff regularly, using a carpet sweeper or a vacuum cleaner.

Regular maintenance: for daily care a carpet sweeper is useful. Regular use of the vacuum cleaner is essential, paying special attention to areas of heavy use. Vacuum cleaning not only cleans the surface but also removes grit in the pile which can wear it away; it also lifts the pile.

Deal with spills at once. Solids or semi-solids should be removed gently with a knife, working from the outside to the centre. Absorb moisture with a tissue. Any stain left can be removed with a solution of carpet shampoo. It is useful to keep a tin of aerosol foam specially formulated for spot-removal on carpets and upholstery. A solvent cleaner may be applied to a greasy stain, before shampooing.

Carpet manufacturers often supply a leaflet on carpet cleaning when you buy a new carpet.