Extending the life of carpets

It is no use purchasing an expensive carpet or even a cheap one, if you do not look after it properly from the start. A strategically placed rug will help with the problems of areas in rooms that get extra wear, such as around the fireplace, inside doorways and beside a bed.

Before attempting to lay any carpet, thoroughly inspect the floor for any unevenness, such as old nails or other protrusions. Unevenness beneath a carpet will cause a patch of wear. Loose and uneven floor boards, protruding nail heads, electric flex, or even small pieces of string or paper, will, over the years, cause expensive damage.

Underlays

Having done all this you must think about an underlay. This is an absolutely essential item and is part of the cost of carpeting on which you cannot economize, unless you are laying rush or sisal carpeting. The principal function of underlay is to act as a shock absorber between the carpet and the floor. It takes the brunt of the hard pressure from above and compensates for unevenness beneath, as well as acting as a sound-deadening agent. A layer of brown paper between the floor and the underlay will keep the carpet free from dust rising from the floor boards and will also take up some of the unevenness.

There are three classes of underlay: paper felt, underfelt and rubber. Paper felt is a thick, grey paper, sold in widths of l.83m or 910mm. It is inexpensive and is suitable only for rooms with low traffic volume, such as bedrooms.

The very best underfelt is called ‘needle-loom’ hair felt and is available in 1.37m widths. Some types of underfelt consist of felt layers bonded together with latex to give a cushioned effect.

Rubber underlays can be made of foam rubber or natural rubber. They are usually 1.37m wide and the better qualities represent the best of underlays, although they do not absorb underfloor dust as well as felt.

Many modern houses have underfloor heating and rubber underlay should not be used in these circumstances, as foam rubber tends to smell after long exposure to dry heat. Rubber does not conduct heat as efficiently as felt.

The only types of carpet that do not need any underlay are carpets with a built-in underlay or carpet tiles, perhaps the easiest form of soft floor covering for the amateur to tackle. Although well known in the contract carpet trade, carpet tiles are relatively new on the consumer market. They fall roughly into three categories: velvet or shag piles; directional piles; and the flat-surfaced needle-punched variety.

The first two are normally loose-laid and are easy to fit, and the latter is bonded to the floor with an adhesive or double-sided adhesive tape. In all cases it is necessary to ensure that the sub-floor is even, clean and dry.

Tiles are then laid out in the main body of the room, in the desired pattern, butted up well together. The edges of the room are then fitted with tiles, cut to fit with a handyman’s knife, from the back. Fit a metal edging at doorways, for neatness and safety.

10. November 2011 by admin
Categories: Featured, Handyman Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Extending the life of carpets

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