Wool carpet, what is it?
To put it simply, wool carpet is made from wool. Wool is the material that comes from sheep that are shorn. This material is processed to become the warm, soft substance that we know as wool.
Of all the common carpet materials, wool is the only one that is made from nature. You may occasionally find carpets made from other natural materials like leather or feathers, but these are extremely rare. Wool carpet for many is the only form of carpet there is.
Wool carpet is made by weaving the wool fibers onto a backing. As will be discussed in the history section below, wool carpet is the most traditional and was originally hand woven. In the Western world today, machines do the weaving, but the basic process remains the same.
Wool still remains an extremely popular carpet material. This is because of its soft texture and warmth. Plus, wool carpets are durable and last for quite a long time. Today they can also be dyed many different colors and woven into a variety of styles.
However, wool carpets do have some drawbacks. The most important of these is cleaning. Wool requires special cleaning techniques and equipment. And, this carpet material can be quite expensive. So, if you invest in purchasing a wool carpet, you will also need to make arrangements for keeping it clean and looking good.
Different types of Wool carpet
As with other carpet materials, wool can be made into any type or style of carpet. It can be used in any pile length. Today, it can even be dyed any color. Let’s cover the most common types of carpet that you will find made from wool.
First, we should begin by discussing the different types of pile lengths that can be made from wool. Pile refers to the fibers of the carpet that are woven onto the backing. One of the major changes that can be made to a carpet is to its pile height and density. Typically, there are three pile lengths: long, medium, and low. Low pile carpet stands less than ¼ inch tall, medium is usually between ¼ and ½ inch. Finally, high pile carpet is anything over ½ inch.
In addition to pile length, the carpet fibers can be loop or cut pile types. All carpet begins as a loop pile carpet, since the distinctive loops are creating when the fibers are attached to the backing. The most common loop pile carpets are Berber and Level. Wool Berber carpets are especially popular.
If the carpet manufacturer cuts off the top of the loop, then cut pile carpet has been created. There are many more cut pile carpets, as that is the more common style in the United States. Some cut pile carpet styles include Saxony, Textured, Frieze, and Plush.
Wool carpet can have any pile length or style. It can also be dyed most colors and woven into a patterned carpet. What this means is that if you have a certain carpet in mind, you can likely find it in wool.
One final caution. Because synthetic carpet is much cheaper and common, wool may be harder to find, as not all big flooring manufacturers produce it. But, there are specific companies that cater to people wanting wool carpet.
The History of Wool Carpet
You can’t talk about the history of wool carpet without discussing the history of all carpet. This is because for most of carpet’s history the only available material was wool. So, let’s begin at the origin of carpet.
There is evidence that humans have been using wool to weave things since the 7th millennium before the Christian Era (BCE). But, the earliest surviving carpet that remains is from the 5-4th century BCE and is called the “Pazyryk carpet.” This carpet comes from the Altai Mountains in Siberia. And, it is likely that carpet as we know it today came from the Caspian Sea area in modern Northern Iran.
Since humans first began creating knotted—or looped—wool carpeting, they have been hand-woven. In fact, it was not until the 20th century that synthetic carpet fibers like olefin, polyester, and nylon were invented. The carpet weaving process became mechanized during the Industrial Revolution of the mid-1800s.
Today, as mentioned above, carpets are usually made by machines and can be made of many different materials. However, if you like historically accurate hand-woven wool carpets, there are still people around the world that create them in the traditional way. But, keep in mind that you will pay for your slice of history in that instance. The mechanization of carpet making has made modern carpets extremely affordable and prevalent in American homes, where before they were considered a luxury item.
Wool carpet pros and cons
Wool, more than any other carpet material, comes with some major pros and cons. You should consider these carefully before committing to this unique carpet material.
It is a natural and sustainable material. As long as there are sheep, there is the possibility for wool carpet. For people who prefer to buy only natural and environmentally friendly products, wool carpet is for you.
It is extremely soft, warm, and luxurious. Nothing says luxury like wool carpet. In cold climates it will keep your feet and home warm. Plus, it adds a touch of extravagance to your home.
Wool carpet repels stains and dirt. Wool is naturally stain and soil resistant. This means that you don’t have to clean it as often as you would carpets made from other materials.
Wool is a natural humidifier, so wool carpet will help to keep your home at the correct humidity level. Wool absorbs moisture, which is then releases into the surrounding atmosphere during periods of low humidity. This means that wool carpet can help to stabilize your home’s humidity levels, which is extremely important for the health of your family and maintenance of your house. But, this does mean that wool carpet can be prone to mildew, so you will want to monitor the moisture levels of your wool carpet closely.
Wool carpet is notoriously high maintenance. Wool carpets have to be cleaned by professional carpet cleaners. If wool is not cleaned correctly, it could shrink as it dries, which will ruin you wool carpeting. So, in addition to the high price for the wool carpet, you will need to budget enough to get your wool carpet professionally cleaned on a regular basis.
It can fade in sunlight. This is a problem with wool itself. In order to keep your wool carpeting looking great year in and year out, you should put it in rooms that do not get a lot of direct sunlight.
Wool carpet is expensive. The most common wool carpet price is significantly more than for other synthetic carpet materials. Especially if you want a high-quality wool carpet, you will be paying a significant premium.
Where should I install Wool carpet?
One of the greatest positives of wool carpet is that you can put it in any room. Because wool carpet can be made into any pile length or style, it can be molded to fit the room. This versatility is one of the reasons that wool carpet continues to be extremely popular among consumers. You can make wool carpet wall to wall in any room. But, there are a few factors to consider when choosing where to locate your wool carpet.
As mentioned above, wool carpet is very stain and dirt resistant, which makes it a great choice for locations that receive a lot of foot traffic. Additionally, wool carpet is very durable and crush resistant. It would benefit any room that had furniture that moved or received a lot of activity. For example, dining rooms and play rooms can be helped by a wool carpet.
Wool carpet tends to fade in direct sunlight. This could limit its placement in your home. While fading will not damage the carpet, it will make it look dull and could cause you to purchase a new carpet much sooner than you originally had planned on. In order to decrease this possibility, make sure not to put wool carpeting in any room that receives many hours or direct sunlight. Plus, the water retention ability of wool carpet means that it shouldn’t go in any room that receives a lot of spilled water—like a kitchen or bathroom.
Best rooms for Wool carpet
Other rooms without direct sunlight
Worst rooms for Wool carpet
Any room with lots of direct sunlight
Cost of Wool carpet
Wool carpet’s prices will vary depending on the style, pile length, and size. But, in general, it will cost you more than a carpet made from synthetic materials.
The quality of the wool will also affect the cost of the carpet. The best quality wool carpets will be priced at the high end of the range, while the less desirable wool carpets will be at the lower end. Different styles and lengths of pile will also cost various amounts. For example, Berber is a more expensive carpet style than traditional cut pile carpet.
There may be a lot of potential variation in your wool carpet price. But, for the most part you can expect about $5-$26 per square foot for wool carpet.
While we know that the cost of wool carpeting may seem off-putting, there are some reasons to make the investment. Most importantly, wool is so durable that you will not have to replace the carpet as much as you would with synthetic materials. Plus, wool carpeting’s overall benefit for the atmosphere of your home also makes it a good choice.
Finally, keep in mind that the price of your wool carpet will not be your only expense, Instead, you will also need to factor the cost of carpet installing, the padding, extra material, and any additional expenses into your budget. Padding and installation usually cost around $0.50 per square foot each. Many professional carpet installers will charge you a fee for extras such as carpeting non-square rooms and moving furniture. You should always buy slightly more wool carpet than you need for the room since this will give you options in case of installation problems or repairs.
Professional vs. DIY Wool carpet cleaning
One of the biggest disadvantages with wool carpeting is its high maintenance cleaning. Now, thankfully, the dirt and stain resistance of the material make it possible to go long periods of time without cleaning your wool carpet. But, when you can’t put off cleaning the wool carpet any more, you have two cleaning options: go with a professional or do it yourself.
Both of these options have some definite pros and cons. Below we discuss some of the most important factors to consider when deciding how you will clean your wool carpet.
Professional wool carpet cleaning
Professional wool carpet cleaning occurs when you hire a company to come in and clean your wool carpet for you. If you hire a professional cleaning company that specializes in wool carpet, you can be confident that they know how to clean it properly.
It is likely that professional carpet cleaners know more about cleaning wool carpet than you. So, they should be able to finish he process quickly and efficiently without damaging your wool carpet.
Professional carpet cleaning companies have access to high powered cleaning equipment and alternative carpet cleaning techniques, like dry cleaning, that are not available in the home market.
Professional carpet cleaning can get expensive. You will need to have the company come and deep clean your wool carpeting at least once or twice a year. Plus, you may choose to have them come out and spot clean. This quantity of services can add up to high maintenance costs.
Most professional carpet cleaners will not come out quickly and clean up spills or vacuum your wool carpet for you, so there will still be equipment and cleaning time involved in the upkeep of your wool carpeting.