Resources - Carpet Workroom


The Carpet Workroom staff has decades of experience installing and selling carpet and rugs throughout the Boston area.
Over the years, we’ve gained special knowledge of carpeting and rug techniques.

Frequently Asked Questions & Glossary
At the carpet workroom, we get a lot of repeat questions asked.
It is our job to make the carpet buying process as easy on the customer as possible, no matter what the project is. Below we’ve come up with a list of answers to some of the questions we receive the most and some definitions to some of the terminology that we use the most in the carpet business.

Q: What Is Broadloom Carpet?
A: “Broadloom carpet” is a term used for carpet produced in widths wider than 6 feet. Broadloom is usually 12 feet wide, but may also be 13 feet 2 inches but widths of 15 feet and 16 feet 4 inches are becoming increasingly more popular. Broadloom carpet is extremely customizable and can be made into various shapes and be installed on stairs, wall-to-wall, in basements, etc.

Q: What Is Carpet Remnant?
A: Traditionally, a carpet remnant is a piece of leftover carpet from any sort of installation or fabrication. This term is also used for the balance rolls remaining in the warehouses of carpet mills. Because they are always looking to move inventory, they sell these roll ends in packages at a discount. For us, the term “carpet remnant” has come to mean any piece of carpet that is sold at a discount.

Q: What Is “Carpet Fabrication”?
A: Fabrication refers to any piece of carpet that has a binding put on it. Whether it is a stair runner, hallway runner, or area rug, whenever we cut a piece of material and put an edging to it is considered fabrication.

Q: What Is Carpet Binding?
A: Binding is the finished edge of an area rug or stair runner. Any carpet that isn’t installed wall-to-wall will have a binding on it. Carpet binding comes in a multitude of colors and is typically made of cotton, polyester, linen, leather, etc. Binding also comes in various widths, from 3/4″ to 5″, each giving your rug a unique look. There is also “serging” which is a cotton yarn that wraps the edge of the material.

Q: What Is a Stair Runner?
A: Stair runners are any type of carpet that is installed on to your stairs. Stair runners can be installed on straight stairs, stairs with a landing, and stairs with pie-shaped turns.

Q: What Is a Sisal Carpet?
A: Sisal carpet is a natural carpet material that is made from the fibers of sisal plants, a Mexican agave specifically cultivated for its fibers. It is an extremely durable type of carpet material with one exception, that when it gets wet it does discolor, which means it can’t be cleaned by your typical cleaning methods. If you want to learn more about sisal carpet, check out our blog.

Q: What are some of the benefits of carpet?
A: Aside from being stylish and adding a decorative touch to your home, carpet also helps reduce slips and falls and reduces noise in the home. Carpet and rugs help reduce the sounds of everyday life, such as TV and music blaring from your child’s bedroom upstairs. Any thickness will work and adding a pad underneath will help even more with absorbing sound as well as providing traction and cushioning on your floors.

If you have any additional questions for something that wasn’t covered here, feel free to send us an email at or give us a call at 888.388.9248.
Carpet Recycling

As consumer demand increases for recycled carpet and products that contain recycled compo­nents, carpet and fiber producers are pursuing programs that reduce, reuse and recycle raw materials. Studies by the U.S. Environmental Pro­tection Agency show that more than 2 million tons of used carpet are dumped into the nation’s landfills annually. Massachusetts, with its harsh winters, is especially wasteful with post-consumer carpet (PCC). The need for insulation and high population density pushes our state to the forefront of carpet related waste. Fortunately, we are also one of the most environmentally conscious states, and the call for recycling has forced government officials to begin brainstorming how carpet can be successfully diverted from our landfills. People in the Greater Boston area, especially in communities like Needham, Newton, Brookline, Cambridge need to figure out a way to lead the charge in calling for this change since they are already ahead of the game.

Because carpet is a man-made material, it is highly recyclable. New technologies that allow manufac­turers to use closed-loop recycling, in which used carpet becomes new carpet, are now becoming economically feasible. Recycling nylon 6 into new nylon fibers has resulted in new recycling facilities throughout the nation. In cases where the carpet is not made of nylon 6, the fibers are melted, recycled and compounded with virgin nylon resins for use in other molded-machine, automotive, building or landscaping applications. Recycled carpet is being used for engine fan shrouds, air cleaners, plastic lumber, car­pet cushion and resilient flooring. As for the future, research is ongoing into the life cycle of carpet and better ways to man­ufacture durable carpet made from natural fibers, new technologies that will eliminate the energy costs associated with production, use, and reuse of products.

The problem now is that the process of transporting, cleaning, sorting, and recycling is an expensive endeavor. However, technological advances over the past 15 years have made the process easier and more affordable. Now the challenge becomes; how do we educate consumers about the growing number of alternatives for carpet disposal?

Our goal at The Carpet Workroom is to divert all of our recyclable waste from landfills and other potentially damaging outlets such as carpet as alternative fuel while educating our customers about the process. We are working with a few groups within the industry that will take our post-consumer carpet (PCC) and recycle it at a reasonable fee. This fee is included as a line item on our invoices so that our customers know that their PCC is being disposed of responsibly. If you choose against the recycling option thank you are more than welcome to dispose of the carpet on your own terms. We are also actively working alongside the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to help create a new infrastructure to ease the transition into recycling this waste. If you want up to date information on the ever-changing carpet recycling industry, feel free to visit Carpet America Recovery Effort’s (C.A.R.E.) website.

Carpet & Rug Links
Sisal Rug Buyer’s Guide


There are many pronunciations for this product as well as many misconceptions. Most people that request this material do so without knowing much about it. They see pictures in design magazines but are surprised once they see it in person.

To the eye, it is very decorative, but to the touch, it’s not nearly as pleasant. The most practical uses are in dining rooms and living rooms where you typically aren’t barefoot or laying on it, or in entryways and stairs where there is a lot of foot traffic. It is extremely durable, holds up well over time, and actually cleans up rather nicely.

Real sisal carpets are made out of fibers extracted from the leaves of the agave plant which is a form of cactus. This material is produced all over the world, most commonly in Belgium, China, South America, South Africa, and Mexico. The highest quality sisal is produced in Belgium, but it is also the most expensive. Other natural fibers that are sometimes categorized with sisals are jute, abaca, seagrass, and coir. Here are some advantages of sisal fibers:

  • 100% natural and biodegradable.
  • Made from infinitely replenishable resources.
  • Non-toxic, antistatic, and antibacterial.
  • Contain tannins which repel dust mites.
  • Absorbs moisture from the air when it’s humid and releases it when humidity drops which stabilizes the smell for sensitive noses.
  • Makes for hard-wearing, rustic, yet elegant rugs and carpet.
  • Moth and rot resistant.
  • Good insulator and noise reducer.

Quality of sisals is dictated by the types of fibers used, the weight of the yarn, as well as the weight at which it is woven. Almost all of them are backed with latex in order to stabilize the shape and texture. This also helps with cleaning. The latex backing itself stops a large majority of dirt and liquid from filtering to your floor. This makes it easier for you to remove dirt with a good quality beater brush type vacuum. I have also heard that because of its solid construction, you can easily bring the rug outside to sweep, hose off, or beat with any solid object. One quick home remedy for spills; simply coat the stain with salt, let it dry, and then pick the stain out with a fork.

One complaint people have about sisals is their “wiry” feel. One way to soften these rugs is with a dense pad underneath. This will also add to the longevity of the rug itself. A good cushion acts as a shock absorber, keeping the rug looking new after many years of wear.

The best way to finish a sisal rug is with a wide cotton binding. Because of the latex backing and the sheer thickness of the fiber, standard thin binding won’t work. A 3” or 5” binding will not only keep your rug from fraying but will add accent colors that will dress up the look of the rug. If you still don’t like the feel, there are many manufacturers that use wool and synthetic products to imitate the look of sisal. Wool sisals are the most expensive but are the most decorative and comfortable. Polypropylene sisals are growing in popularity because of their inexpensive price and durability.

When you choose a sustainable area rug, you are not simply buying a home accessory. You are making a meaningful statement about what you believe in. You are helping to create a world where quality, beauty, and a sustainable way of life are essential. We have a wide selection of sisal remnants in our workroom as well as many other options for order. Please stop in to check them out!

Maintenance Guides

Carpets and rugs can be a major investment. In order to preserve your investment, you will want to know the best practices to maintain your materials to ensure longevity. All material types require specific maintenance practices. Listed below are some basic guidelines for maintaining your materials:


  • Periodically rotating an area rug will ensure that it wears evenly.
  • Doing so once or twice a year helps maintain a uniform appearance.
  • Direct sunlight will cause the color of the rug to fade.
  • Limiting exposure to direct sunlight by keeping blinds and shades closed during these periods will help keep the colors of your rug bright and vibrant.
  • Avoid placing rugs in any entrance ways to prevent outdoor dirt from soiling your rug.


  • Carpets and rugs should be vacuumed at least once or twice a week if possible.
  • Making an extra effort to vacuum your materials multiple times a week will help prolong the lifetime of your materials.
  • Suction vacuum cleaners are recommended as any beater bar vacuums could possibly damage your materials.
  • Shedding is a normal occurrence for wool carpets. High-quality wool carpets will shed with normal wear and normal cleaning.
  • With plant fiber rugs, stray fibers my sprout as a result of vacuuming and normal foot traffic.
  • The mills that produce these materials do their best to catch these before during the manufacturing process, but loose fibers are occasionally trapped in the rug.
  • Do not pull these fibers. The best course of action is to carefully trim these fibers with scissors.


  • Professional carpet and rug cleaning is suggested once every 12 to 18 months.
  • It is best to find a professional with experience cleaning your specific material, especially if your rug is made of plant fibers, such as sisal, jute, and abaca.
  • They should never be steam cleaned or wet-shampooed.
  • Dry extraction cleaning should always be used on plant fiber rugs.


  • Immediately blot the area with an absorbent white towel. Do not rub! This can damage the fibers by working the liquid deeper and spreading the spill into a larger area.
  • Plant fiber rugs should be dried immediately and as quickly as possible.
  • Excessive dampness may cause more damage to the fibers. It is recommended to use a hairdryer to help the area dry quicker.
  • Bleaches, mildew removers, and other strong chemicals should be avoided at all times. This also includes stain-resistance sprays and other topical carpet treatments. These are known to cause damage and discoloration.
  • Stain removal solutions can be premixed in a spray bottle. It is recommended to use a diluted white vinegar solution and lightly mist the soiled area.
Wool Carpet Buying Guides


Wool carpet is the ideal soft floor covering for many reasons. It is durable, resilient, and most importantly a renewable resource. Its fibers are natural which makes them long lasting and resistant to dirt and staining as well as crushing. In addition, it is also flame retardant, making your home even safer. It’s for these reasons that it is the easiest soft floor covering material to keep clean and maintain over the lifespan of the material.

When dyed, wool carpet excels in both its depth and color clarity. The color is locked into the rug or carpet and it can’t be rubbed off by walking on it or through the movement of furniture. This means your rug or carpet will retain its look for a longer time than any other type of material.

Stair Carpet Buying Guides


Stair Runners: The most common and decorative option.
Wall-to-Wall Carpeting: The most practical option if you don’t want to expose the ugly plywood or imperfect hardwood on your steps

Stair Treads: The most inexpensive option, because they call for the least amount of material, are stair treads.
The reason people carpet their stairs is to prevent slipping. There have been many emergency room horror stories that start with, “I was walking down the stairs in socks and…”. Most hardwood is slippery, and carpeting provides the traction needed to prevent those ER visits.


You need to remember, every home is different and so are the layouts of each staircase. It is always extremely helpful to provide us a picture so we can help you determine the best course of action. The premier floor-covering material is wool for a number of reasons. In terms of stair covering, wool provides the most resiliency, which means it will stand up to traffic the longest without showing wear paths.

Nylons fall just behind wools and are preferred by some because they don’t shed. Olefins and polyesters are at the bottom of the list because they look and feel the most plasticy. In terms of pile, the most important thing to consider is the pile height. Plush carpets will show wear a lot quicker and more dramatic than tight pile carpets.

The questions you should consider when choosing a floor covering are:

  • What kind of physical shape are the stairs in? Do they need to be repaired?
  • If there is an existing runner, is there a distinguishable line between the exposed wood and the wood covered by the runner? This will determine the width of your new runner.
  • What do the surrounding areas look like? Is there a busy wallpaper? Are there Oriental rugs or runners in the hall or adjacent rooms that could clash?
  • Do I want a matching runner or carpet in the halls/foyers connected to the stairs?
  • Are there any turns, landings, or pie shapes?
  • When determining the physical dimensions of the stair case, how wide are the steps? How tall are the risers?
  • How deep are the steps?
  • How many stairs are there?
  • Are there spindles?
  • Do the ends need to be upholstered?
  • How much money do you wish to spend? Materials and labor can get very high in price depending on which options you choose so it is always wise to set a budget before you start shopping.

Stair Runners: The most common and decorative way to carpet your stairs is with a runner. Carpet runners allow you to decoratively expose the hard wood on your floor while also practically covering the traffic areas. The standard widths for runners are 27” or 30”, but can be made into any custom size if converting from broadloom. Many manufacturers have their own runner lines, but because they pre-fabricate on their own, they tend to be very expensive. The most cost effective way to do a runner is by finding a carpet remnant. Most carpet stores won’t tell you that if necessary, stairs can be installed one at a time rather than in continuous runner form. They keep this secret from you so they can order excess material and then sell it as a remnant. The common rule is that you need 18 linear feet of carpet to cover 12 steps so a remnant saves you a lot of money. Most runners are finished using a standard ¾” binding that keeps it from fraying but you can dress it up by using wide bindings, serging, or even bordering. If you cannot find a remnant you like, just order broadloom and request the installer makes it into a runner. The last thing you will need to consider is how much wood you want to reveal. The standard reveals are 3” to 6”, but it all depends on your preference. The newest design trend for stair runners is painted risers. This is certainly something to consider if you really want to impress. Just picture the contrast of a dark-stained step, a white riser, and a patterned runner. This is a designer’s dream.

Wall to Wall Carpeting: If covering a set of stairs that hasn’t been renovated, it is probably wisest to carpet the steps wall to wall or wall to spindle. All the same rules apply for this method, but you probably need slightly more material to cover the extra width. If you have spindles or an exposed side that requires upholstery, the pricing could go up. You will not however need to worry about binding or other fabrication.

Stair Treads: Stair treads are the most inexpensive option because they require the least amount of material. Stair treads simply cover the area that you step on. They come ready made with a sticky backing or can be made to order from any remnant or broadloom material.

If you have any questions or would like a consult, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you.