Floor Covering Types
From luxurious, traditional carpet to stylish hard flooring alternatives, our range is one of the widest you’ll find, backed by a comprehensive free measuring and estimating service.
Choosing a floor covering can seem like a daunting and complicated process, but with help from our specialist instore sales advisers, we can make sure you choose the right product to meet your needs.
This simple guide provides plenty of useful information to get you started on the selection process.
Types of Carpet & Floor Covering
There are five common types of floor covering that are used in modern homes:
We offer a wide range of carpets, vinyls and laminate floors – we do not currently supply ceramic or solid wood floors. Each type of flooring has specific characteristics that make it suitable for different environments. Carpet is most commonly used, while both vinyl and laminate flooring have become more popular in recent years.
When choosing a carpet, it is important to think about the way you live and the overall feel you want your home to have. Consider the room you want to carpet and how your family uses that room.
Construction Materials, Methods & Suitability
Typically, carpets are made using natural (wool) or synthetic fibres (nylon, polypropylene or polyester), or a blend of two or more together.
Wool has been the most prestigious and luxurious material in carpet for many years. It has a rich look and feel, with excellent resilience and durability and it is naturally relatively stain resistant. Carpets described as Axminsters are made using wool and are at the top end of our carpet range. However, it is the most expensive by far and it requires a high level of maintenance.
Advantages: Wool is crush resistant and durable with limited pilling problems
Disadvantages: Often more expensive than those made with synthetic fibres
Nylon is the predominant fiber material in use today. Nylon’s greatest strength is its resilience and durability to bounce back making it a sensible choice for heavy traffic areas. Because of its outstanding durability, about 80% of all fibre used in modern carpet is nylon. Nylon also dyes easily, which makes it easier for carpet manufacturers to work with, and it’s basically resistant to water-soluble stains.
Advantages: Nylon is extremely strong and resistant to matting, it absorbs little moisture, and is stain resistant and easy to clean.
Disadvantages: Nylon can degrade and fade in sunlight and is stained by oil and grease.
When it comes to colorfastness, polypropylene just can’t be beaten. Unlike nylon colour, which is added after it has been made into carpet, color is actually a part of polypropylene’s chemical makeup.
Because of that, it is also almost totally resistant to any kind of permanent staining. The only quality not found in most polypropylene carpets is the resilience and lush feel that nylon carpets offer.
Berber carpet is an example of polypropylene fibre carpet. It is virtually stain proof and is relatively inexpensive. However, it is the least resilient of carpet fibres. The large loops of polypropylene in a berber will crush down in a high traffic pattern and usually cannot be revived by carpet cleaning.
Advantages: Is a colourfast, strong fibre that is easy to clean and is soil, water and stain resistant. It will also resist moisture, mildew and static electricity.
Disadvantages: Is the least resilient of carpet fibres and is missing the plush feel that nylon carpets offer. Dry cleaning solvents degrade the fibres and it also tends to mat and grab onto oil and grease.
Polyester has greater stain resistance than nylon and is the second least expensive yarn. It comes in vibrant colors and resists fading. However, it is the second least resilient next to olefin, and is the most oil absorbent.
Advantages: Polyester has a soft, luxurious feel and is less expensive than nylon. It has good stain resistance and excellent resistance to mildew and abrasion.
Disadvantages: Prolonged exposure to sunlight weakens the fiber and it will attract oil and grease.
A wool/nylon blend combines the superior look and comfort of wool with the durability of nylon. Nylon/polypropylene is another popular blend, offering the best characteristics of each fiber. A wool/nylon blend combines the superior look and comfort of wool with the durability of nylon.
How long a carpet stays beautiful depends on the type of material used, how well it is made, the density of the fibres and the type of finish used. It is true however that better made carpet can be expected to last longer. The twist and density of the fibres within a carpet will also affect durability, appearance and price. Twisting gives fibre strands the strength to stand up to crushing and cleaning, with thick fibre and a tight twist a sign of high quality carpet.
Density is how tightly the twisted fibres are packed together – the denser the carpet, the better the durability. There are six common finishes on carpet:
Plush – This cut pile carpet is made from straight, untwisted yarn. The cut ends blend together to form a smooth, level surface. This luxurious carpet is suited for formal settings, because it shows all footprints and vacuum marks.
Frieze – This cut pile carpet is suitable for high traffic areas. The highly twisted yarn tufts curl at the carpet surface, hiding footprints.
Saxony – This dense, cut pile carpet is made with the yarn tufts packed closely together to form a smooth surface. This is a more versatile carpet, and is used in less formal settings. Saxony carpets will show footprints.
Texture – A cut pile carpet made with twisted yarn tufts, creating a surface that masks footprints.
Cut & Loop – In this style of carpet, cut and uncut yarn loops are combined. The cut yarn loops are higher then the uncut loop, creating a sculpted pattern on the surface of the carpet.
Level Loop – This loop pile carpet consists of loops of equal height. This creates a tight pebbly surface that keeps soil on the surface for easy cleaning.
If you have children, pets, high traffic areas (such as areas coming in from outside) or entertain a lot, you will want to choose a carpet with good stain resistance. However, that won’t limit your choice of carpet styles and colours, as most carpets can be stain treated to protect them from those little mishaps!
Our experienced sales advisers will be able to explain more about Guardsman Stain protection instore.
Style & Colour
Interior designers will often say that the floor is the fifth wall that connects all other design elements in a room. So when choosing a carpet style and colour, it should be in sympathy with the other features of the room, such as window treatments and furnishings.
A room that lacks a lot of natural light will be warmed by sunny bright yellows, oranges and reds, whereas a bright room can be made to feel cooler and more serene by careful use of blues and greens.
Living spaces, such as kitchens and family rooms are often brought to life with vibrant and lively colours,
While formal rooms, such as lounges and dining areas are best suited to pastel shades.
When looking for floor coverings, if a match is required to wallpaper, paint colours etc then it is a good idea to bring a sample with you as it will help narrow down the options.
When used in residential applications vinyl is generally supplied of a roll in sheet form.
It is formed from an impervious plastic sheet with a printed surface which is water resistant and easily cleaned. It is deal for kitchens, bathrooms, hallways and entrances where there may be high traffic, the potential for soiling and young children.
Vinyl is resilient, with an element of cushioning built within its structure, and is highly suitable for laying straight onto hard sub floors.
Not all vinyls are the same, however. Some feature surface coatings for added wear protection or texture for slip protection, as well as being thicker and with added backing materials.
Laminate flooring comprises a clear surface wear layer over varied printed flooring designs. There are various methods used to produce laminate, from those that use specially engineered high density fibreboard for the backing material to the more sophisticated that use flexible and easily shaped backings to provide a higher quality product. At Fairway, we only supply the more sophisticated flexible laminate flooring.
These products include superbly realistic wood designs, their main characteristic being that they are extremely durable. They are particularly suitable for those who want a timber look in high traffic areas.
With advent of more and more sophisticated manufacturing and printing methods there is now a vast range of looks that can be achieved which are stunningly realistic – timber, slate, parquetry, tile, terracotta and much more.