Advantages of Carpet
Pleasing to the eyes
Thanks to their many styles, textures and colours, carpets help you create the atmosphere you want for your home, from the most subdued to the most dazzling.
Warm to the touch
Carpets are practical because they're easier on the feet, they prevent slips and cushion falls, they reduce the noise level and, because of their natural insulating properties, can help reduce the cost of heating / air conditioning.
- Carpet is easier on the feet
- Carpet prevents slips and cushions falls
- Carpet reduces noise levels
- Carpet has natural insulating qualities
Easy on the air we breathe
By trapping and thereby keeping dust, pollen and other particulates that could exacerbate allergies or an asthmatic condition out of your breathing zone, carpets can actually be good for your health!
Carpet is a great decorating element
There is a much greater choice with carpets than with any other floor covering when it comes to making a fashion choice for your home decor.
Jean-Claude Carisse, Executive Director of the Canadian Carpet Institute, received a first hand view of that range of selections a few years ago while building a new family home. "I was amazed at the number of samples in the retail stores and how much more variety there was in carpeting than in other floor covering," he says. And he adds: "The choice is even greater today!"
Interior designer Barbara Kaplan adds that the number of design ideas you can incorporate in a carpet is phenomenal. "We do a lot of designs using area rugs," she says, "but we can also work with wall-to-wall carpeting using different designs and borders."
She notes that in carpeting, there is a fabulous array of colours and styles. "You can do something contemporary with your carpets and have a traditional carpet covering the floor," she says. "A carpet can be just a good old carpet or a piece of art."
Leslie Beaumont of CCI manufacturer member Beaulieu Canada observes that carpet is still the first choice of Canadians for home decor because it is affordable, naturally practical and is an infinitely pliant design tool. "Today's carpet, more than ever, is a wonderful design medium, providing unlimited decorating options to explore," says Beaumont.
"Innovations in yarn and manufacturing technology offer the very latest in contemporary carpet pattern, texture and colour. Carpet offers everything from rich, multi-level textures and floral old world European designs, to rustic sisal-look ribs, friezes, and soft looped geometrix.
When incorporated into a room decor, a contemporary textured carpet increases the perception of quality and value and offers a delightful contrast to smooth surface areas such as walls and furniture.
Picking up the thread, CCI manufacturer member Crossley Carpets' Margaret Savard says that carpets present so many different options. "The possibilities with carpets are limitless," she says. "The wide range of colours can add numerous dimensions to the surroundings."
Alexandre Lacroix of CCI manufacturer member Venture Carpets notes that there are dozens and dozens of different colour ranges in carpet with many, many patterns in each range. In hardwood and other floor coverings, the colour choices are considerably more limited.
Jean-Claude Carisse would urge consumers to visit carpet retailers as he did, compare carpets to other forms of floor surfaces, and see for themselves how carpet can accentuate whatever features in the room you want to highlight.
Carpet value both intangible and unbeatable
For Winnipeg-based architect and interior designer Ed Calnitsky, carpeting is one of those intangibles in life.
"How do you put a price on comfort and warmth?" he asks. On the other hand, he points out that carpeting provides good value for your floor covering dollar, in a number of other ways as well, including noise absorption. He adds that there are a lot of intangibles that go into the value of carpet - it's not just price.
However, when it comes to price, Alexandre Lacroix of CCI manufacturer member Venture Carpets will tell you exactly how good a value carpeting is compared to other floor covering surfaces. The average price of a carpet per square foot is 98 cents, compared to $2.74 for hardwood, $1.72 for laminate and $1.16 for ceramic tile.
In addition, today‘s carpet is exceptionally durable. As Jean-Claude Carisse, Executive Director of the Canadian Carpet Institute observes, "Carpets are made to last. Buying a carpet for your flooring needs is money well spent. Given the high quality of carpets today, you are getting excellent value for your floor covering dollar."
Margaret Savard of CCI manufacturer member Crossley Carpets cautions that you have to combine the kind of carpeting suitable for your application with the appropriate price point for you. If your need is residential, you can't put the same kind of carpet in the bedroom as you do in the family room, she notes. In business, the carpeting in the foyer will be different from that in the president's office. "It's a question of esthetics and durability," she says. "You have to make sure the application is right."
Winnipeger Craig Best installed carpeting in his Victoria Beach (on Lake Winnipeg) bedrooms last spring. "Durability and easy maintenance were concerns," Best says. "At the beach, you want a floor covering that can withstand some punishment. You don't want to have to worry about all the sand that is tracked in."
Another value of carpeting these days is indoor air quality. It was thought at one time that hard surfaces were better for indoor air quality. However, scientific studies have shown that particles that land on hard surfaces get continually stirred up by people and animals walking on the floor, as well as forced air and radiant heating systems that keep particles moving around. "Scientists have concluded that carpet is beneficial to indoor air quality because it traps and immobilizes potential allergy causing particles, preventing them from re-entering the breathing zone. Now the trick is, of course, that the carpet has to be regularly cleaned and properly maintained." says Leslie Beaumont of CCI manufacturer member Beaulieu Canada.
Adding all the intangibles up, comfort, warmth, sound absorption, durability, indoor air quality and, of course, price - the value of carpet is unbeatable!
Nothing beats the warm, fuzzy feeling of carpet underfoot first thing in morning
There is nothing in the world that can beat the warm, fuzzy feeling of a carpet underfoot when you first get up in the morning and start walking about. Or laying on a carpet reading a book.
"There is no doubt when you're walking around barefoot it is nice having a carpet underfoot," says Alexandre Lacroix of CCI manufacturer member Venture Carpets. "Hard surfaces can't match carpeting for that level of comfort."
Architect and interior designer Ed Calnitsky describes the comfort factor as one of the most appealing aspects of carpeting. "Carpets are soft to walk on, look great and have a calming effect on a space," he observes.
Don Hedges, for example, a sergeant in the Canadian army who lives just outside Halifax, Nova Scotia, recently installed carpet. Last fall, a sewer backup ruined his basement. With the blessing of his insurance company, Hedges had new carpeting installed in the rebuilt area because, he says, "carpeting looks warm and is comfortable under foot".
Interior designer Barbara Kaplan's favourite type of carpeting are berbers. "They are warm on the feet, bounce back quickly and stand up for years", she points out. In a basement or rec-room, a hardy berber can add warmth to the room and make the atmosphere enjoyable, compared to harder surfaces that make the area seem uncomfortable.
CCI manufacturer member Crossley Carpets' Margaret Savard adds that in institutions where residents stay for many years, carpeting in their rooms recaptures the warmth and comfort of home.
A growing number of people are using area carpets to soften the look of hard flooring. Leslie Beaumont of CCI manufacturer member Beaulieu Canada agrees, saying, "Anyone who puts in a wood floor, probably the next purchase they make is an area rug." She says some people are just buying large pieces of a wall to wall patterned carpet and having it bound to use as an area rug.
Toronto residential interior designer Linda Borman says, "Homes that combine hard and soft flooring end up being more interesting. She says that she has seen a tremendous growth in the use and variety of area rugs, "from contemporary designs [to] more traditional. Everything from muted colours that are so much in vogue, to the creams and khakis right through to very vibrant wonderful florals that are almost tropical."
Although hard surfaces such as wood, laminate and ceramic are very popular, nothing beats the warm, fuzzy feeling of carpet underfoot first thing in the morning!
'Soft' carpets protect against 'hard' falls
One of the key drawbacks to hard surface floor coverings is found in the word "hard".
If you should fall, you would no doubt rather be hitting your head on a carpet than on a hardwood floor or on ceramic tile. It is one of the reasons that many families with young children are choosing to put carpet in their homes. Furthermore, as interior designer Barbara Kaplan notes, one is more likely to slip on tile or on a wood floor than on a plush carpet. Leslie Beaumont of Beaulieu Canada notes that carpeting prevents slips and cushions falls and that glass objects don't shatter when they fall.
Thus, when considering what kind of floor covering to buy for institutions such as schools, hospitasl or nursing homes, or even in private homes with young children or seniors, safety would dictate that carpeting be given serious consideration. When kids are running around and falling or an older person loses his or her balance and falls, carpeting will absorb the shock as compared to hard flooring and reduce the likelihood of injury.
"We have had a lot of discussion lately about the safety advantages of carpeting, especially in institutional applications," says Margaret Savard of CCI manufacturer member Crossley Carpets.
"While hard surfaces have been popular for a long time, it is very important to take into consideration who is going to be walking on the floor and what shape the walker and the floor are in. You might also want to take into account weather conditions and objects that may be left lying around on the floor. In many cases, carpet is the safest alternative."
Carpeted rooms dampen down noises from within and without
Anyone who has ever lived in an apartment knows what it's like to have noisy neighbours. You have the thump, thump, thump of footsteps overhead and the revelry or arguments in the next apartment reaching your ears through paper-thin walls. Didn't you wish the people upstairs would be considerate enough to at least put carpeting on their floors to lessen the noise?
Or perhaps you have active young children upstairs. Carpeted bedrooms make them seem much quieter. Linda Borman, a Toronto residential interior designer, says her younger clients, especially those with children, are choosing carpeting because of its ability to absorb noise.
Jean-Claude Carisse, Executive Director of the Canadian Carpet Institute, notes that for institutions such as schools and hospitals, carpeting's sound deadening capacity is particularly advantageous. "Experiments show that not only is carpeting safer but also better for sound deadening," Carisse says. "I heard this at a seminar I attended in Halifax." He relates a story about a complaint he heard from a school. At first, he thought they were going to complain about a particular carpet. However, the complainants were upset that there was no carpeting in the school. They missed its sound-deadening qualities!
Mr. Carisse reports that he has received many calls from condo owners' associations that want to make carpeting mandatory in their building - for acoustic reasons.
Acoustics was also the reason Colin and Margaret Yakashiro chose carpeting in two of the rooms in their new home in Abbotsford, B.C. They didn't want the noises of the home interfering with Colin's work - he works out of his home and has clients worldwide, and Margaret didn't want to feel as though she had to keep everything quiet, especially with three children and a dog, every time Colin was on the phone.
Finally, many residential interior designers and home theatre technicians are strongly recommending that carpet be installed in those special rooms in order to maximize the "sound experience" when watching movies.
Incidentally, architect and interior designer Ed Calnitsky notes that readers with noisy neighbours might consider putting carpets on their walls. They will look good and help sound proof the walls!
Warmth of carpeting more than just appearance
In the olden days, before this modem age of insulation and central heating, inhabitants of draughty European castles often put tapestries on their walls. Certainly the tapestries and area rugs were esthetically pleasing, but they also acted as insulation.
Although the consumer is not usually considering R-Value when selecting a floor covering, its insulating properties are one of the factors that give carpeting a commanding edge over the alternatives in such key areas as the bedroom and rec-room.
Although it is not usually an issue, agrees architect and interior designer Ed Calnitsky, carpeting's R-value is higher than most other types of floor covering. Leslie Beaumont of CCI manufacturer member Beaulieu Canada points out that the physical properties of carpet make it an effective insulator against cold, which can reduce the cost of home heating and air conditioning.
Warmth and comfort are also the reasons Steve and Becky Strome gave for installing carpeting in the bedrooms and rec-room of their new house on Big Island, near Picton, Ontario. "We were just more comfortable with carpeting in those rooms," Steve says.
Jean-Claude Carisse, Executive Director of the Canadian Carpet Institute, notes that carpeting, especially glued down in basement areas, creates a "warmer" environment.