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.
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.
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:
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!
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:
BASIC CARPET MAINTENANCE
SPILLS & STAINS
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 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:
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.