Q. Which carpet is better wool or nylon carpet?

A. No one carpet fibre is inherently ‘better’ than any other. Each fibre comes in a variety of qualities and price ranges. The most important point is to choose a fibre, style and construction to suit your lifestyle and budget, that’s suitable for the room in which it will be placed.

Q. What is the toughest timber flooring?

A. Timber hardness is be measured by the Janka hardness test.

The test measures the force required to push a steel ball with a diameter of 11.28mm into the wood to a depth of half the ball’s diameter.

In Australia the most commonly reported measure is quoted in kilo newtons (kN), where 1kN = 100kg, and the most common use of the Janka hardness rating is to determine whether a species is suitable for use as a flooring timber. The higher the number the harder the species is, therefore the Janka hardness test is ideal for determining how a floor will resist dents and wear.

A hardness in excess of 5.0kN is generally considered suitable for use as a flooring timber.

Timber Janka ratings range from Tasmanian Oak at 5.5(kN) up to 15.8(kN) for Strand Woven Bamboo.

Q. Should you steam clean or dry clean carpet?

A. I have actually done both steam cleaning and dry cleaning methods of carpets. My experience is that dry cleaning only cleans the top surface of the carpet, whereas steam cleaning cleans deep into the pile. Steam cleaning is really hot water and detergent being pumped into your carpet and then sucked back out together with the dirt. It’s crucial that the steam cleaner operator has a substantial machine with a powerful vacuum.

Q. Can I walk on or vacuum carpet immediately after installation?

A. You can walk on carpet and replace furniture immediately. The joins in most jobs use heatbond tape and are at full strength within minutes of being done.

Q. How can I tell if a carpet will wear well?

A. The good news is, there is an independent carpet rating scheme

The Carpet Institute of Australia has developed the Australian Carpet Classification Scheme (ACCS). It’s a voluntary industry labelling and grading system for carpets of all fibres and is used by all the major suppliers.

An ACCS label gives the carpet a star-rating out of six for residential use and four for commercial or contract use, indicating how well it performed in a number of independently assessed wear and performance tests.

Q. What’s the best underlay?

A. There are 3 main types of carpet underlay and each come in varying densities and qualities:

*Foam underlay is manufactured from largely recycled material, the higher density grades provide great acoustic and thermal insulation.

Most good quality foam underlays are treated with anti-microbial agents, to inhibit bacterial and fungal growth and protect against germs and allergies.

*Felt underlay is manufactured from jute, hessian or re-cycled clothing material, it is not used much anymore but is the best product to help smooth out a rough sub floor.

*Rubber underlay has increased dramatically in price during the last few years. It is the best underlay to use over in-slab heating as it allows the heat to pass through to the air, this however also means that it is not a great thermal insulation material.

Q. Which carpets don’t show vacuum cleaner marks or footprints?

A. Unlike Cut pile carpets, Loop pile carpets generally will not show footprints or vac lines. The most popular domestic carpets are cut pile as they have a more luxurious feel to them. Of the cut piles, the Twist pile is likely to show less shading than the Plush pile which is much like velvet.

Q. How do I know my floor covering will be laid properly?

A. Floor covering is “manufactured” in your home, so the installation is critical. A poor installation will mean a poorly finished product, even if you paid for high quality flooring. That’s why professional, trained, experienced installers who care are critical.

Carpet must be laid in accordance with Australian Standards and backed up with a comprehensive installation guarantee. Insist upon a lifetime installation warranty.

Q. Where should the joins in my carpet be placed?

A. Most carpet is manufactured 3.60 metres wide and will need to have joins in rooms wider than this. Carpet should be planned in accordance with Australian Standards and suited to wear and tear in your house.

Joins in the wrong places may not only look bad but also can also be potential wear areas. In the future you may have to replace your whole carpet area for just a few small wear spots. If possible joins should be placed away from windows where falling light could show them up, and they also shouldn’t be in high-traffic walkways such as corridors.

Ask your retailer to see the installation plan and check the placement of cross-joins and seams in the carpet.