As well as design and colour, the way in which a carpet is made will add to the effect that you are wishing to achieve by introducing different textures of pile.
Each method of construction has its own characteristics that make it more suitable than others for certain locations. The way in which a carpet is constructed also dictates the manner in which they perform during their life span. To help you make your choice we have produced a list of the most commonly used carpet styles and have given a guide to their suitability. This list, of course, is not exhaustive.
As well as the style of construction, the way in which a carpet will perform is also dictated by pile height, pile weight, pile density and the carpet fibres used. It is the combination of these factors that will determine how a carpet will perform in any given location.
Carpets with longer pile heights feel more luxurious but are more prone to flattening. Shorter denser piles often retain their appearance better but can feel less comfortable. Pile weight is important and generally carpets with heavier pile weights will look, feel and wear better than lighter ones. Unfortunately they also cost more!
Construction methods fall into two main categories "Tufted" and "Woven". The main difference to the consumer are that tufted manufacture is faster and therefore produces a less expensive product whilst much better patterns can be produced on woven carpets.
These notes are meant only as a guide; if in doubt please ask for advice before purchase.
Twist pile carpets are our most popular type, depending on quality, weight and fibre content they can be used in most areas of the home but perhaps not ideal for bathrooms and other areas that maybe subject to moisture. Twist pile carpets get their name due to the fact that a twist is given to the yarn during its manufacture. This twist process makes the finished fibres act like millions of tiny springs helping to resist pressure such as that applied by someone walking across the carpet. Although the constant pressure from heavy furniture can cause permanent indentations, the twist in the yarn can help retain overall carpet appearance
Twists can be manufactured from either man made fibres, wool or a combination of wool and synthetic fibres. Where you hear the term 80/20 wool twist, this usually means that the fibre is a blend of 80% wool and 20% man made (i.e. nylon). Both yarn types are twisted creating a resilient pile and surface texture which is less prone to showing footmarks.
The pile heights on twists are generally kept short, this helps to reduce flattening and keeps shading to a minimum (although all twists will shade to some degree as the pile is rubbed in different directions). The longer the pile the more likely you are to get shading. The range of colours is almost unlimited.
Many carpets with a smooth, single level surface fall into the cut pile category. Usually the carpet is manufactured white then the colour and design are printed on. The dense pile is cut and sheared to provide a smooth surface. The use of heat to set the yarn helps to give good appearance retention.
Production is efficient, which keeps cost of manufacture down tremendously. Due to modern printing techniques the designs and colours are excellent. Exceptionally dense piles with a very smooth finish are know as velvets whilst less dense cut pile carpets with a slightly longer pile height are known as plush piles which are often used in bedrooms.
These are good all-round products that perform well although cut pile carpets can be subject to shading.
Saxony’s have a much higher pile than other types of carpeting. This gives it a very luxurious feel underfoot and the colours available are fabulous. The twisted yarn is usually "heat set" to give better appearance retention.
Because of the luxurious deep pile these carpets do shade, creating the effect of light and dark areas (like running your hand across velvet curtains). Many people like this effect because it demonstrates how luxurious the carpet is, whilst others hate it! Saxonys give that great squidgy underfoot feeling and are very popular in bedrooms.
Velvets or Plush pile carpets have a cut-pile and have a uniform colour. They are softer and more level than textures. This type of carpet is ideal for formal areas (such as formal living rooms and master bedrooms) because of its luxurious appearance. Velvet / Plush carpets will show every footprint and vacuum-cleaner mark.
Cut and Loop Pile / Sculptured Carpets
Cut 'n' Loop carpets are literally a combination of cut pile and loop pile carpets. This mix is used to produce high and low areas to the pile, which creates a sculptured effect. The result is a carpet which is plain (i.e. uses only one colour) whilst also having a patterned design. Often an "overprint" is then placed on these carpets to further enhance the design.
The development of various 'multi-height' cut n' loop piles has seen the emergence of more geometric and contemporary style designs to add to the existing more traditional styles for this type of carpet. Cut 'n' Loop carpets are produced almost entirely from man made fibres. The colourways available are tremendous and add style and colour to all rooms.
The cut pile does mean that shading can occur in these carpets. Similar to loop pile carpets, some people prefer not to use cut 'n' loop carpets on stairs.
Level Loop Pile
Loop pile carpets are manufactured both from wool and man made fibres. As the name suggests they are rows of continuous loops, a little like knitting. The loop forms a type of mini spring which, once walked upon, springs back into shape.
Wool loops can suffer from "pilling" (bobbles on top of the pile), and you need to be careful with pet claws and high heels as the loops can get snagged. Loop pile carpets are also less luxurious than other styles. New construction methods however are producing exciting new designs in loop pile carpets particularly in natural finishes.
Modern innovations have now led to the emergence of many 'multi-height' loop pile carpets that are available in a variety of different textured effects and designs, adding interest to this type of carpet that was previously typically only available in plain shades .Whilst loop pile carpets will wear well in almost any location, some people prefer not to use them on stairs because the backing can show through on the nose of the stairs (known as "grinning").
Wiltons and Axminsters
Wiltons and Axminsters are two of the most traditional methods of manufacturing carpets. They involve slower methods of production than tufting to produce a very high quality product. Unlike tufted carpets, where the design is printed onto the surface of the carpet, Wiltons feature patterns that are "woven in" using different coloured yarns. This produces a much better definition of the design and appearance retention is excellent. Designs available are both traditional and modern in many colours giving a wide selection for any room. Most modern day Wiltons are produced on high speed machinery using man-made fibres (typically polypropylene) which makes them much more affordable. Whilst Axminsters are made almost entirely out of wool or wool man made mixes, which makes them exceptionally durable and hard wearing, being patterned they are very practical.
The pile is kept relatively short on most woven products so flattening is kept to a minimum making them suitable for all living areas. In certain qualities and designs some shading will be seen in particular in Wiltons.
Qualities do vary depending on the types of wool used and the density of the pile.
A good Axminster or Wilton, if looked after, will last for many years,
Fibers and yarns used in carpet manufacture
There are many different names for fibres used in the manufacture of carpeting, but the vast majority fall into four distinct categories: wool (or wool man made mix), nylon (polyamide), polypropylene and polyester. The names may be familiar to you but what the differences are between each one may not.
Wool (Wool/Nylon Mix)
Wool is still regarded by most to be the best fibre used in carpet manufacture for the simple reason that in most cases it will look better for longer than equivalent carpets made out of other fibres. With its natural resilience it recovers quickly from compression. It takes dye very well which enables many variations of shades to be produced and is very soft to touch, making it warm and comfortable to walk on. It retains a degree of natural stain resistance, making it easier to maintain and has naturally low flammability properties, which make it safer for the home. Usually wool is mixed with nylon in 80% wool, 20% nylon ratio, (carpets using this combination are often referred to as 80:20s). This combines the benefits of wool with the excellent wearing characteristics of nylon to produce a more durable carpet.
Unfortunately wool is also more expensive than most other carpet fibres and to perform at its best needs to be of enough weight.
Polypropylene is being used more and more widely in the manufacture of carpeting due to its high resilience to wear and stain proof properties.
During manufacture of the yarn it is dyed to the colour required; this is locked in and cannot be removed. It can also not be re-dyed, consequently it is stain proof and all marks can be removed. In extreme cases a dilute bleach solution can be used to remove stains. Polypropylene yarns are also highly resistant to fading. Polypropylene has low electro-static build-up and consequently does not attract dirt and dust or give you those nasty shocks. As demand has increased for polypropylene the colour banks have improved dramatically and now offer an excellent choice.
This is possibly the best choice for families where stain resistance is an important consideration.
Nylon is the hardest wearing carpet fibre and possibly one of the most misunderstood. Unfortunately nylon developed a poor reputation as a carpet fibre in its early days. Today however, nylon yarns are some of the best available on the market. Nylon products have exceptional wear qualities and fibre dyes extremely well giving a vast array of colours and shades to choose from. The problem of static build-up has been eradicated in most nylon yarns and when protected with stain resistant treatments nylon can easily be cleaned and maintained.
Polyester is not so widely used as the previous products, namely due to its cost. However it is hard wearing and cleans well. It is soft to handle and feels luxurious under foot.
If you are still unsure about which carpet type to go for, come and see us, talk to one of our expert sales consultants, here at Clayton’s, we are happy to help you.
Leather is a natural product. It has individual characteristics which make each sofa unique. Leather will always bear the marks of its natural origin, which can include shading variations, scratches and wrinkles. These markings should not be viewed as defects, but as confirmation that you have purchased genuine leather and not an imitation.
Some companies use their own numbers and codes for grading leather for example grade 50,000, or grade A etc. This is generally to be ignored, as it usually just an internal way of pricing leather, and a way some furniture chain stores attempt to make some leathers seem better than they really are.
It can be very confusing when deciding which leather to choose for your new furniture. Here at Clayton’s, we will explain the leather types available to enable you to make the right choice for your new furniture.
Full Aniline / Sauvage Leather
Full Aniline / Sauvage leathers are considered to be the most attractive and natural leathers which are prized for their soft natural feel. These are leathers which have been aniline dyed in a vat process with no colour coating added to the surface. They are the most expensive leathers to produce because only the very best selection of hides can be used to produce full aniline leathers. Full aniline dyed leathers are more susceptible to absorbing liquids because of the natural porosity of the hide. Because they don't have a top coating the leather breathes more easily and is cooler to sit on
This is the most natural grade of leather, but also the most impractical. We would not recommend a full aniline leather for a family, it is considered the ultimate leather for purists, but does not offer resistance to everyday use and is prone to soiling, scratching and marking. Usual characteristics of a full aniline leather Include:
All characteristics of the hide remain visible, scars, bites and grain variation will be particularly apparent, giving the hide a unique appeal.
Semi Aniline Leather
Semi-Aniline dyed leathers have been both dyed through and have a thin finishing layer on the surface. They offer a combination of the softness and feel of full aniline leather with the protective benefits of a surface finish. By dyeing the leather through before the final thin top coating is applied, a very even colouration is achieved with only a thin layer of finish. Thus the leather remains softer because it is not necessary to apply a thick top coating.
Semi aniline is a very nice soft leather, it has not gone through an intense processing and so retains softness, and gives the ‘real leather’ look and feel. Here at Clayton’s we sell a lot of semi aniline leather, it is of a higher quality than a corrected grain finish and would be considered to be a better grade of leather than a pigmented or corrected leather.
Semi aniline offers the beauty of a natural leather, but offers a level of protection against wear and soiling, due to the light sealant layer applied to the hide.
Corrected Grain / Pigmented Leather
This is the most common type of leather and it is also the most durable, this is due to the finish used on the hide. After the leathers have been selected, they will be buffed (corrected) to reduce heavy natural scarring and blemishes in the hides. The hide is then coloured with a coating containing opaque pigments and embossed with a grain pattern to ensure a uniformity of colour and resistance to fading.
This type of leather which has been ‘corrected’ will have a fairly uniform appearance, there will be less evidence of natural scars, creasing, bite and stretch marks. The heavy protective coating applied to the hide means that the hide looses some of its suppleness and natural look. The leather takes on a slightly processed appearance, but it does gain in durability and offers the most protection against wear and soiling, making this type of leather the most suitable for families with children.
Leather Match / Leather Look / Faux Leather / Leather Like / Vegetarian Leather
This type of covering is used to cut the costs of a product, unfortunately, there are some very poor quality, cheap and nasty faux leathers out there that will peel and scuff relatively easily and there are some very good quality faux leathers which are contract grade making them very durable, it can be difficult at first glance to tell the difference. We feel that it is acceptable in some instances where the aim is to reduce the overall price of a product, to use a man made faux leather outer on non wear areas such as the outside back or sides of a chair or sofa. It is also fairly common for dining chairs and 'leather' bed frames to actually be made of faux leather, it can look incredibly realistic.
We hope that our information has helped you to understand the differences between some of the leather types available on the market. If you are still unsure, or have any further questions, please get in touch.