Selecting a carpet for your home's interior is an important choice as it sets the tone for the rest of the room. Read on to find out why choosing a wool carpet is a worthy investment.
Different Types of Wool
Wool is also available in different variations such as Mohair, Angora, Cashmere, Pashmina and Merino to name a few. The Romney breed of sheep from New Zealand is the one most used in carpet manufacturing as their wool is heavy and one sheep will typically produce 10 kg per year.
At the higher end of the market some manufacturers like to use Tibetan wool, but once you scratch beneath the surface you find that most producers in Nepal use wool from New Zealand. This is largely due to Tibet being a part of China and the restrictions placed on production and the cost of transport in the country.
Wool's inherent elasticity resists crushing and unlike some synthetic fibers that eventually become matted down due to foot traffic, natural wool carpet springs back underfoot. Wool's built in resilience is because the structure of wool fiber is naturally coiled. Synthetic carpets only achieve this through artificial means, which will wear down over time. The longevity of wool will far out last any synthetic composition. The wool fibre is naturally curly which causes it to bounce back into shape when crushed.
Even after years of daily use and cleaning, wool carpets sustain their original colour. Wool has a fibre protein-based chemical makeup that readily accepts dyes and locks in the color for superior intensity. This characteristic allows wool carpeting to be available in a wide range of colors and patterns.
Wool has a natural coating that resists water-based stains, which make up the majority of common spills. Its overlapping structure helps repel dirt and liquids by shielding the inner part of the fibre, much like roof tiles, making it durable and hard wearing.
Wool does not attract lint so vacuum cleaning is easier and when wet cleaning, fibres swell and release dirt particles. If you are concerned about liquid spills, using a treatment such as Aqua Defence will help towards protecting your carpet.
Wool is a natural insulator, keeping your home warm and energy efficient. Wool will also absorb sound and so can be a popular choice for apartment blocks.
Wool provides underfoot comfort since it is resistant to static build up and slips.
It's produced from totally renewable and natural resources - water, sun and grass, requiring far less energy to produce than synthetic fibres. Wool carpet reduces heating and cooling energy requirements by preventing heat loss and heat rise through floors.
These insulating properties are noticeable when the wool carpet is installed, making rooms more comfortable in the winter. Wool also naturally absorbs water vapor from the air, helping to moderate high indoor humidity that often occurs during the summer months
Wool grows continuously before the sheep are shorn every 9 - 12 months and returned to their pastures to grow more wool.
Wool is composed entirely of amino acids, the building blocks of life and at the end of its useful life, pile from wool carpet can be returned to the ground, releasing nutrients as it decomposes, promoting further grass growth.
In soil, wool readily biodegrates to produce essential plant nutrients such as potassium, nitrogen and phosphorous. Even in a landfill, wool pile will decompose leaving no harmful residues.
Wool does not promote the growth of dust mites or bacteria or give off harmful emissions.
Wool is naturally fire resistant and has an extremely slow ignition rate. This makes wool carpets an incredibly safe material to use. Should a fire break out, the carpet fibres will burn rather than melt, slowing the spread of the fire.
Wool is renowned for its outstanding flame resistance due to high moisture and protein content, difficulty to ignite, with low flame spread and heat release properties. Wool does not melt or drip and has excellent self-extinguishing properties.
Wool carpet costs depend on various factors such as pile height, production method and origin of the wool. The most desirable types of wool carpeting typically cost up to twice as much as man made fibres such as nylon and polyester. I find that wool sits comfortably in the mid to high end of the price spectrum. Keep in mind that this will be an investment for your home and with the correct care, can last you up to 20 years.
Wool stabilises relative humidity by absorbing or releasing moisture during periods of high or low atmospheric humidity. If maintained, it absorbs and neutralises airborne particles and fumes, such as formaldehyde, sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxides.
A Note on Moths
Moth and carpet beetle larvae naturally feed on wool fibers. To prevent damage from these pests, wool carpeting is often permanently pre-treated with a mild insecticide called Permethrin. The idea of having a carpet treated with any kind of chemical in your home may make you feel uncomfortable. Fortunately, the World Health Organization did a study and stated that there are no ill effects or adverse consequences that will negatively affect anyone who will be exposed to this insecticide if they use wool carpeting.
If you want to know more about other carpet compositions, check out my blog post on that topic here.
Visit Urbane Living for more carpet inspiration.
If you are in the process of choosing a new carpet for your homer and would like advice, please feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org