New Carpet Choices according to Bob Vila

Wall to wall carpet in living room.

Bob Vila wrote a decent yet overly simplified article on his website about choosing new carpet. I’ll paraphrase and expand on his ideas with my own  info about area rugs and alternative floor coverings.Read his full article here for reference:

He says, there are some things you should know when choosing the best new carpets for your home.

1) How they’re made.

There are 3 ways to make carpet. Woven, tufted, and non-woven. The underside of a carpet is called the backing. It secures the tufts and gives the carpet additional strength and stability. Most carpets have a double backing: the primary backing where the yarn is tufted into, and the secondary backing which is the outer material.

Woven have the tufts woven into the backing of the carpet. Tufted carpets have fiber loops (or tufts) inserted into a prewoven backing. Non woven carpets have tufts bonded to the backing.

2) What they’re made of.

Believe it or not, the most popular material is plastic. Not obvious plastic like artificial turf, or indoor-outdoor carpeting, but nylon, polyester, and olefin. These types of plastic materials are better known as synthetic blends. But basically they are plastic.

Always keep that in mind when caring for them because they will act like plastic. It warps and melts under high heat. It scratches easily when walking on them or using harsh cleaning which then gives it a dull looking appearance.

Other carpets are made of:

  • wool,
  • a blend of silk and wool,
  • cotton,
  • other synthetic materials including acrylics

Wool carpets are expensive while cotton is less expensive. The prices of synthetics vary depending upon the quality. Natural fibers tend to stain differently than the artificial ones. Most good quality carpets, regard­less of the fiber used, will hold their color and wear for many years.

3) Rugs vs. Carpets.

Wall to wall carpeting used to be the standard. Then in the late 1990s to 2000s people began preferring hard surfaces instead of carpet. So then area rugs were a nice splash of color and texture. Alternative floor coverings examples include:

  • Hardwood
  • Engineered Wood
  • Bamboo
  • Laminate
  • Linoleum
  • Vinyl
  • Ceramic Tile
  • Clay tile pavers

Bob Vila says in his article that “area rugs can be used in countless ways”. For example, “to define areas, add color or pattern, or to deaden sound”.

Example of ornate are rug.

The words rug and carpet are generally used interchangeably among most people. However, in the carpeting industry, they are different. A rug is a partial floor covering as distinguished from carpet, which frequently is tacked down to the floor and usually covers it wall-to-wall.

Carpet is usually simple and uniform; with one color and one texture throughout. In contrast, a rug is generally more ornate and can accentuate a room’s colors and design. Area rugs can feature many different styles, colors, patterns, and textures all in one small area.

Bob Vila the Expert?

So Bob Vila seems to be the expert on all things home related. At least to his fans he is. He’s does have many long years of great experience. But, he’s not always complete in his information.

His article about carpet choices is good, but simple. So I’ve added more information to make it more helpful for you.

Sometimes he’s just plain wrong, like he was in his article about whether or not you need rain gutters on your house to avoid carpet flooding when it rains. My buddy Greg Martin, local gutter installer and expert in all things gutter related, wrote an in-depth response to some of Bob’s really bad advice. It’s light hearted and humorous yet super correctional and informative. Worth a quick read from a non-fanboy perspective. Read it here: Bob Vila on Rain Gutters – Is he right or wrong?

Your Comments?

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