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How to choose a Carpet?
Performance, texture and even the appearence of a carpet is determined by its construction: loop pile (“boucle”), cut pile (velvet) or a combination of both. A thick loop pile carpet is better suited for heavy traffic areas such as halls, lobbys, offices, classrooms as they keep elasticity and appearance thru a longer period of time. Moreover a thick loop pile carpet is sturdy so it can take the toll of daily wear and tear in areas where wheelchairs and food trolleys are used. Cut pile or the combination of cut pile and loop pile are better options for administrative, libraries and private offices.
There are many manufacturing methods and each has several advantages: better pile anchorage, greater stability, withstand moisture and fraying resistant. It is important to determine correctly the right type or sort of carpert needed in each area.
Tufting is the manufacturing method used for 95% of carpets installed in busines and only 5% is woven for other purposes. Nevertheless both constructions provide high quality products for floors. Tufting is a weaving method used for the first time in USA at the beginning of 20th century. A tufted carpet is produced by inserting yarn or tufts onto a pre-woven or primary backing. Needles push yarn tufts into hundred of rows through a primary backing. As the needles go through the backing a hook holds the yarn in place while the needles draw back. But when the carpet is of cut pile then the loop is cut by sharp blades. Later the carpet goes through a process where latex , a blend of polymer microparticles, coats a second backing thus holding firmly the pile in place as well as providing stability and strengh to the carpet.
Tufting main steps
• Yarn is taken from big yarn cones (“bobins”).
• A roll of primary backing is fed into the tufting machine.
• The threaded needles are attached to a rod to the tufting machine. The needles are swiftly pushed up and down through the primary backing.
• Then the carpet is mended and inspected.
• Finally the carpet is gathered in rolls ready for the next step (to be dyed or to have latex applied on the backing).
For almost three hundred years carpets have been manufactured following traditional weaving methods such as the well known Axminster and Wilton. Looms have varied considerably through time however the way yarns are joined to the primary backing has not been greatly modified. These carpets are manufactured in looms that interweave the primary backing and the pile fibers simultaneously this provides uniformity to the final product. Later on to strenghen it a fine layer of latex is applied.
Two milestons in woven carperts history
This is a basic weaved carpet on a cotton warp and a thread mostly made from 80% pure wool and 20% nylon. On a jute weft yarns are entwined and held in place. Each yarn is picked by a hook that raises to take a colored yarn from the weaving cones. A blade cuts the turf at the right hight and then the hooks place the pile interweaving it with the primary backing.
A comb tightens each row. The frequency in which rows are tighten can varie from 5 to 14 rows per inch. Colors can be selected to develop the desired pattern. Years ago jacquard punch cards, were used to create different patterns. Today modern looms have electronic cards that allow endless repetitions of complicated patterns.
Wilton, the traditional carpet, is manufactured on a primary cotton woven backing and yarns that are 80% pure wool and 20% nylon on a jute welf that interweaves the pile. It is a constant process where a metal rod determines the pile hight. According to the type of rod used you have a curl or a cut pile carpet.
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Variety of yarns
There are several types of yarns that can be used to construct the carpet pile.
• Polypropylene: this yarn does not fade nor bleach, has a low static load and is highly resistant to stains.
• Nylon: mostly used in busines premises. Main features: resistent to abrasion, inherent strength, durability and dimensional stability. Withstands indentations when moving furniture or in high traffic areas.
• Wool: It is durable, flexible and flame resistant. Well known for its beauty and smoothness. Available in a variety of colors and textures.
All carpets have some sort of backing which helps to anchor the tufs. These backings are made of different substances / materials and can be treated to grant special or additional benefits when needed. Different methods and special chemicals are aplied to meet carpet performance requirement.
Backing systems contain mainly the following: a primary backing, an adhesive and a secondary backing. The system that has greatest demand is the one has synthetic latex to anchor the yarn to the primary backing and adding a secondary backing gives greater stability to the carpet.
Color selection and dyeing method
Yarn or finished fabric to be colored. Yarn can be colored before weaving or later in special washing troughs.
Pre-dyeing yarn can be carried out in two ways:
In a dyeing trough:the synthetic yarns are extruded from a dyeing bath where it is pemeated with pigments. This method of dyeing is highly resistant.
Yarn dyeing: The yarn is dyed before it is woven into a carpet. This method includes area dyeing or solid colors dyeing.
Area dyeing: : allows different colors to be aplied on the yarn before it is woven.
Solid color dyeing: there are four different methods: skein dyeing, branch dyeing, pad dyeing and jet dyeing.
There are diferent methods to dye carpets: in troughs, stamp and steady flow.
Dyeing in troughs: Once the carpet has been woven and before it given a latex coating, it is dyed in big troughs.
Stamp: The dye is aplied on the carpet with ink rollers or with an ink jet.
Steady flow: Once the rolls of carpet are sewn together one after the other then a steady flow of dye is applied. This is the usual dyeing method for residential carpets.
The required performance as well as where the carpet will be placed determine the dyeing method.
Color and design
Color and design can be matched in different ways when solving a funcional or a practical problem or to highlight rooms.
The rage or palette of colors chosen for the carpet can provide a relaxing and restful enviroment, a bright and energetic one, or a sober cooporative area.
However some other practical aspects must be taken into accont as well: medium and dark colors, marbled and textures are very convenient to hide or disguize stains and dirt in heavy troden areas. The sort of light in the room or if there is sunlight shining in, it can make the carpet color vary.
Quality and performance
A carpet performance is determine by several factors and it is important to understand each one. The quality of a carpet depends on: its construction and dyeing method, the yarn as well as density and wheight of the fabric. Once the specifications on the sort of use the carpet will have, the manufacturer must be allowed to decide on which is the best construction that will fulfill the requirements.
Durability of a carpet will depend mainly on the yarn chosen as well as the spinning gross weight and the density of the weave.
When comparing different sort of carpets the spining gross weight should be taken and not the gross weight of the carpet. However if the spining gross weight of the carpets is similar choose the one with lower hight and greater density since they are generally more durable.