Are wool or man-made carpets best?

When browsing options for carpets, you’ll soon come across confusing descriptions that list the flooring’s properties, but how do you know which is the best for you?

There are essentially two different kinds of carpet fibre; wool and man-made, however it is also possible to get a mixture. Figuring out what sort of fibre you’d like in your house will help you shortlist your options from the overwhelming selection available.

An introduction to woollen and man-made fibres.

Wool carpets have traditionally been the most popular carpet fibre to use in living rooms, dining rooms, landings and in fact any room in the house. They are extremely resilient to a high volume footprint and have long lasting durability. Wool gives luxurious comfort underfoot and is an excellent insulator.

Man-made fibre carpets have been increasing in popularity over the years due to the vast improvement in quality of fabrics used. The three most common are: Polypropylene, Polyamide (Nylon) and Polyester.  Nylon is the most popular, but polypropylene is the most stain resistant.  Initially man-made carpets flattened easier than woollen, however heatset treatments in production have effectively installed ‘spring back’ qualities.

Which is easier to clean?

Woollen carpets are best known for their long-lasting luxurious appearance, based on their great response to cleaning. They have an inbuilt resistance to soiling due to its natural oils; however staining can be an issue if left to soak in.  Wool carpets can be stain guarded, which we would recommend with any new purchase as it helps to maintain the life of the carpet in the long-term, and is relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of a carpet.

Man-made carpets, are best known for their stain resistance making them an ideal choice for busy households with kids, pets and husbands who don’t take their shoes off at the door!  In fact polypropylene is practically impossible to stain with water-based materials because it doesn’t absorb water, however they are less resistant to oily and greasy stains. Man-made carpets can be cleaned with a mixture of warm water and bleach without the risk of fading or damaging the colour as it has been heat set during production.

Which is more expensive ?

A woollen carpet will tend to be more expensive, but that doesn’t mean that you’re getting less value. If you have a naturally cool house with an open fire in the livingroom, it would be better value for you to go for a woollen fibre. This is because the natural material acts as an insulator and is also fire-resistant. Sparking embers from the fire landing on a man-made carpet may leave melted marks which are impossible to get rid of, shortening the lifespan of your carpet.

For a woollen carpet you can expect to pay anywhere between £15 & £50 per square metre, whereas for a man-made carpet it can start from as low as £7.99 per square metre; on average though it will be in the region of £15-25 per square metre.

The best of both worlds

If you are still struggling to make a decision over wool or man-made carpets, an ideal solution would be to go for a mix of 80% wool, 20% man-made fibre. This would allow you to enjoy the luxurious feel of wool underfoot, but the stain resistant properties of man-made.

What is your thoughts?
  • Do you currently have man-made or wool carpets in your house?
  • Do you have preferences over either of these and why?

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