Carpet is one of those traditional flooring options many homeowners swear by, and the floor covering scores big points in both comfort and style. However, many people still find it hard to choose between a synthetic carpet and a wool alternative. So let’s take a look at this in a bit more detail. Here are 5 reasons to choose wool carpet over its synthetic counterpart.
Synthetic carpets are made from plastic, and plastic has a habit of melting very easily. If you drop something hot onto it, it’s going to burn, and this burn mark is not going to come out.
Wool carpet, on the other hand, is naturally flame-retardant. It is slow to catch fire and burn and is self-extinguishing. It also does not melt.
Static electricity is another reality of synthetic carpet, and this is can sometimes lead to more than an annoying shock. In low humidity, you risk creating a spark, and if flammable gases are around, this could ignite them and cause a fire. Synthetic carpet must be treated in order to prevent ignition by flame or static.
Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about such fire safety issues with wool carpet. When comparing its flame and static resistance, even to a treated synthetic carpet, it ranks higher for both categories.
The wonderful thing about wool carpet is that it’s healthier for you, absorbing moisture to prevent the growth of mould and bacteria in your home. It’s also hypoallergenic; the unique absorbent aspect of wool acts as a filter to trap dust, mites and other allergens.
Many people believe that any skin reaction to wool means they are allergic to the wool itself, but it’s actually about being sensitive to some other substance within the wool. Checking what’s in potential wool carpet choices will prevent this from happening. Lanolin, dust mites, or certain dyes are all possible triggers, and these will not be present in all wool carpets.
Synthetic carpets are notorious for the noxious and carcinogenic fumes emitted by the various chemicals they are treated with, known as volatile chemical compounds (VOCs). Since synthetic carpet also has a high smoke point, it is a terrible option for people with asthma and chemical sensitivities.
Wool carpet is non-toxic. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean the specific carpet stays that way during the manufacturing process. If you choose wool carpet, make sure the backing is also natural and the carpet hasn’t been treated with harsh chemicals.
Wool looks good for longer — there’s a retention of aesthetic appearance in wool carpet that synthetic just can’t match.
Wool carpet is made from sheep’s wool that is spun into yarn during the manufacturing process. The yarn is formed into loop or cut (straight) piles and attached to a backing of jute or another vegetable fibre. This results in a carpet that has a plush, soft texture, yet resists crushing and compacting.
Synthetic carpet does not resist flattening unless it has low-density construction and is made from high twist rather than loose twist yarn. This limits your options if you’re looking for thick or shaggy carpet.
With the right cleaning, wool carpet bounces back brilliantly regardless of whether it’s dry or wet. In most cases, its colour does not fade, although sun exposure may cause the wool to lose colour — something which is true for any flooring type. Wear is also more even over time. While the wool can stain if spills are left to absorb or are not cleaned properly, the material resists soiling better than other types.
Synthetic carpet does not share any of those qualities. It degrades over time with wear, thanks to its inability to repel soil and stains along with its difficulty in cleaning. The cheaper price tag is a false economy, as you’ll be replacing it much sooner than you would a wool carpet.
Today’s homeowners prefer natural material for their flooring options, as more people have become aware of its benefits. Natural materials such as wool carpet are renewable, meaning homeowners don’t have to worry about it becoming scarce in the future. It takes only 1 year to decompose if properly disposed of, plus, it’s recyclable.
The plastic fibres used to make synthetic carpets are nylon, acrylic or polyester. All three plastics are slow to decompose:
- Nylon: 30-40 years to decompose
- Acrylic: 450 years
- Polyester: 20-200 years
Although they’re all recyclable, they cannot be recycled indefinitely. Because they are often mechanically rather than chemically recycled, they are not returned to a virgin state and so degrade over time. This means they require blending with other synthetic materials for reinforcement.
Polyester has the downside of depleting the Earth’s natural resources. This is because polyester is derived from a chemical process involving petroleum, coal, air and water. Neither petroleum nor coal is renewable.
Such issues are crucial when considering sustainability. Even if you can’t recycle something, it should at least be biodegradable, and vice-versa. The goal, after all, is to not have to create more plastics.
Wool carpet is a popular natural alternative to synthetic. The luxurious flooring option is fire-safe, hypoallergenic, non-toxic, long-lasting and sustainable. Synthetic carpet is a cheap flooring option that can imitate certain surface qualities, but wool has several benefits that it just can’t compete with.
Contact us today to learn more about our wool carpet options.