- Density refers to the amount of pile yarn in the carpet and how close the tufts are to one another and generally, the denser, the better. Check the density by bending the carpet sample in a U shape with the tufts facing out. The less carpet backing you see, the more dense the carpet.
- To help you there are carpet classification scheme labels on the back of carpet samples, giving information on their durability and suitability to different locations (see Carpet classifications).
- Be aware that cheap carpets that will look scruffy within a few years — it’s worth investing in a fibre that will last.
- Match the wear rating — medium, heavy, or extra heavy — to the area that you will be carpeting. Stairs will need extra-heavy carpeting as they take more wear and tear.
- Take samples home and check them in each room with different lighting. Be aware that carpet can show minor colour variations from the sample in the shop or minor variations between production runs, but these shouldn’t be too obvious.
- Always make sure carpet installation is the last redecorating job you do after wallpapering, painting or construction.
- Protect your carpet by placing furniture caps under the legs of heavy furniture.
- Move furniture around from time to time (or even just move it a few centimetres) to prevent uneven wear.
Care and maintenance
It may not look overly dirty, but it’s important to vacuum your carpet at least once a week, as the removal of soil will reduce the abrasive forces on the pile fibre, increasing its life and making it more hygenic for your family.
To prevent staining it’s necessary to spot clean immediately after a spillage, with the appropriate chemical for both the type of carpet you have and the type of stain - check with the manufacturer or a qualified carpet cleaner.
Carpets should be hot-water extracted (steam cleaned) every 1-2 years and can be maintenance cleaned (dry cleaned) in the interim. For more on carpet cleaning, see Carpet cleaning.
Carpet should last, on average, for more than ten years, but it can depend on many factors such as usage, the quality of the carpet and how it’s maintained. Some good-quality carpets that are well-cared for can last a lot longer.