When selecting a carpet for a commercial project or communal installation, such as a care home, it’s important to select one which has been tried and tested within your market sector. It's also important to check the carpet specification to ensure you are getting the best possible product and protecting your investment.
However, when there are so many options available and so many carpets that may look similar, how do you compare otherwise “identical carpets” to work out which one will be suited to your needs?
There are a few key features you can identify when looking at a carpet specification. They include the carpet’s total pile weight, which includes not only the weight of the yarn but also the backing, pile height and pile density.
As a general rule and in combination, cut pile carpets should have:
- A pile height no greater than 5mm
- A total pile weight exceeding 1000 grams per square metre, and
- A pile density, which is the number of stitches per square metre, greater than 180,000 tufts
A shorter pile height makes for a much more durable carpet; it makes it much easier to clean and makes the carpet more stain-resistant and less prone to matting and crushing. It also allows for the use of wheeled items such as wheelchairs and trollies. A shorter and denser pile can also increase the durability of a carpet and produce a flooring solution that can tolerate heavy foot traffic and is easily cleaned time and time again.
In addition to the above features there are several other things you may wish to consider:
- Yarn Type – Solution dyed / Trilobal – a solution-dyed yarn means that the colour of the carpet runs throughout the yarn, allowing for the use of harsh cleaning chemicals, like bleach, without stripping the carpet of its colour. A trilobal yarn effectively has three sides to it and refracts light, which ultimately helps to diffuse the visual effects of soiling.
- Yarn Composition – Heat Set Twist - this is a finishing process that shapes retention, resistance, resilience, elasticity and helps the fibre gain volume
- Impervious membrane – This is a layer that sits beneath the top cloth and above the backing and stops spilt liquids from seeping through to the subfloor
- Antimicrobial coating – This is a permanent coating on the yarn fibre that provides a 99.99% reduction in bacteria and is also effective against viruses including SARS-COV-2.
- Fire retardancy – To ensure the safety of all who are occupying the building your carpet must meet UK standards for fire safety and this can be determined by the flammability rating or a Hut Nut test.
- Sound Impact reduction – Within commercial installations, UK building regulations state that the floor coverings should have a weighted reduction of not less than 17 Db, so it is wise to check the specification to ensure your chosen carpet achieves this.
- Colour selection – This is very important as a medium to dark coloured carpet helps to hide visual soiling more than lighter shades, so should be considered for high traffic areas.