The Wonders of Wool Carpet
Did you know wool has been used to make floor coverings for thousands of years? The oldest wool carpet was found in Siberia dating back to 500 BC. While the methods of manufacturing have changed significantly since the invention of weaving machines, the wonders of wool carpet remain. Wool floor coverings are manufactured from short lengths of wool that is sustainably sheared from sheep. The best wool for floor coverings is known as “string wool”. It is found on sheep from Britain or New Zealand and can have different qualities depending on the region. British wool is bulky and tough, offering a unique texture. New Zealand wool is softer and whiter, making it an ideal material for plain or lighter shade ranges of carpet. Most carpet brands in North America will use wool from New Zealand. Though wool is a popular material for floor coverings, it has many unique qualities that give it a distinct set of benefits of potential drawbacks.
Is Wool Carpet Right for Me?
Like any other textile product, there are pros and cons to wool carpet. Understanding these pros and cons is crucial for determining if wool is right for you.
Benefits of Wool
Wool is highly resilient and can stand up to decades of wear and tear with proper maintenance. While a polyester carpet generally has a 10–15 year lifespan and nylon has a 20-30 year lifespan, wool can last upwards of 50 years. Due to this incredible longevity, a carpet made from wool requires a rubber or felt underpad because it will outlive regular pads. On a molecular level, each wool fiber has a 3D spiraling crimp that gives it an inherent elasticity that resists crushing. Due to this soft and springy composition, wool carpets will maintain their comfort for years and won’t crush like synthetic fibers. It is also fireproof and a good insulator that will limit the transfer of heat or cool air from the outside world into your home.
In addition to comfort and safety, wool is a green product as it is naturally hypoallergenic, organic, biodegradable, and acts as a natural dehumidifier. Finally, wool floor coverings are naturally stain resistant, making them a great choice for high-traffic areas of a home or building. Though they are resistant to stains, they can still be dyed if the spill is not cleaned up right away or if the fluid has a strong pigment like wine or coffee.
One major drawback to wool is that moths tend to find it tasty—much like your wool sweaters—so it is important to keep them away from your floor. Since wool is a natural product, it can fade in the sun and become discoloured. Wool can also shed over time, which can be alarming and create a bit of a mess. Despite any shedding, it will likely not affect the appearance of your carpet unless the shedding is concentrated in one area.
The biggest potential drawback for many is the price. Wool floor coverings are unfortunately about 2-3 times more expensive than synthetic carpets, but it is a quality product that will perform well for many years when maintained properly. It also makes for a fantastic display feature and conversation piece, especially when it is decades old.
If you have any questions about whether wool carpets are right for you or would like to see some samples of the ones we carry in our store, please don’t hesitate to stop by the showroom and speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members.