Choosing the Right Carpet for Your New Home

open plan living area with carpet, coffee table and plants Carpet has been a popular flooring choice for homes for decades, so much so that it is considered standard for areas like bedrooms and TV rooms.

Used widely for its warmth and acoustic properties, carpet is also a great option for its ability to be easily matched with the unique styling of your custom new home. It can be made from a variety of fibres and finishes (known as the carpet pile, which we will cover later) and can be woven or dyed into almost any pattern and colour.

As is the case with many building products, not all carpets are created equally and there are some key elements that will make a difference to the cost, look and feel, and longevity of the carpet you select for your custom new home.

When choosing carpet, there are 4 key elements you should be mindful of -

1. Carpet Fibre

The material carpet is made from can be synthetic, natural or a blend of both. This will have an impact on its finish, how it feels underfoot, and how it wears. We have listed the most common materials below, as well as some of the features, and pros and cons of using these in your custom new home.

Nylon – Nylon is a synthetic fibre and one of the most popular for residential applications due to its great performance and soft but dense feel underfoot. It has excellent durability and retention, meaning it won’t hold compression marks from heavy furniture and making it well suited to spaces like bedrooms and high traffic areas like hallways. It is an easy maintenance fibre that is resistant to stains and responds well to steam cleaning. It is mildew and mould resistant, and generally considered the best allergy-friendly option on the market. Compared to other synthetic carpets, nylon is the most expensive.

Polyester – Another synthetic fibre, polyester carpets are usually made from recycled bottles, making it the most eco-friendly of the options available. It has a soft, velvety texture underfoot, but does not have high retention, meaning the fibres won’t spring back after being compressed by furniture. It is also more susceptible to wear and tear, meaning it is not the most durable option for high traffic areas. It is an easy maintenance fibre that is resistant to most types of stains. It is also highly water resistant, meaning it will dry quickly after cleaning and be less susceptible to mould and mildew growth. Polyester carpets are generally the most affordable carpet flooring option.

Wool – A natural and renewable fibre, wool provides a naturally luxurious alternative to carpet flooring options. While they are the most expensive option, the superior functional and aesthetic performance of wool carpets makes them a popular choice for luxury custom new homes. Wool is a durable option that also delivers natural crimp and elasticity, meaning it has excellent retention and won’t hold compression marks from heavy furniture. It is available in a wide range of colours and patterns, and also delivers great colour retention, meaning wool carpets will sustain their original colour and vibrancy even after years of wear, cleaning and light exposure. The natural coating on wool fibres makes them naturally water resistant, making it easier to clean up spills and fast drying. Wool carpets are also a great allergy-friendly option due to natural hypoallergenic properties that include deterring dust mites and resistance to mould and mildew. One thing to be mindful of in selecting your wool carpet is that it is pre-treated to repel moths and other insects that feed on wool fibres.

Blends – As the name suggests, a blended carpet is a combination of wool and synthetic fibres with the purpose of maximising the benefits of both. Blends will come in different ratios, and as a general rule, the higher the amount of wool, the more expensive the carpet will be. Blending a synthetic fibre with wool will enhance the overall durability while maintaining the natural appearance and luxurious feel of wool.

2. Carpet Pile

Carpet is made by looping yarn through a piece of backing material in a movement that is similar to sewing a button on a shirt. The yarn can be textured or plain, and the loops can then either be left intact or cut at various angles. The way the loop is treated is known as the carpet pile, and each different type will create a different look, and will deliver different functional benefits. There are many different types of carpet pile available.

Below, we have listed those most commonly used in new homes, as well as some of the functional and aesthetic pros and cons.

Loop Pile - Also known as an uncut pile, this style leaves the entire loop intact, creating a carpet that is
highly durable and well suited to high traffic applications.

Cut Pile - Loops are cut to produce a carpet that is soft underfoot with a luxurious look and feel. While
this type of carpet is easy to clean, it is not as durable as the loop pile, and wear and tear
will be more obvious in the long term.

High Low Loop Pile - As the name suggests, instead of having the loops at a consistent height, this variety has a
row of yarn at alternating heights to produce a textured, linear finish. Creates a highly
durable end product.

Cut and Loop Pile - This is a multilevel loop carpet where only the tall loops are cut, giving a combination of cut
and looped yarns. This method makes it possible to produce of patterns and textures in
carpets, which can be good for concealing stains and dirt in high traffic areas.

3. Carpet Underlay

A quality underlay can not only make your carpet feel softer underfoot, it can also help your carpet last longer and enhance the sound insulation properties of the carpet itself. The most common types of carpet underlay are foam and rubber. The thickness and quality of the options will differ, so we recommend standing on them in store to test the firmness and comfort. A good marker is that you shouldn’t be able to feel the floor with the heel of your shoe.

4. Budget

As we have highlighted above, there are a number of different materials you can choose for your carpet and underlay that will have an impact on the overall cost of using it in your custom new home. Carpet is sold by what is referred to as a broadloom meter, which is actually 3.66 square metre.

So, to get an idea of how it compares to other floor coverings, you need to divide the carpet per meter cost by 3.66 to arrive at the cost per m2. Most
advertised prices should include labour and underlay, but always ask for an itemised cost to make sure as these can make a significant difference to the budgeted cost.

The team at Renmark Homes have been helping customers just like you select the best flooring covers for their custom new homes for over 30 years. Contact us to arrange a time to discuss which carpet option is the best fit for your unique style and lifestyle requirements.