10 June, 2008

Interior Design and Decorating Floor Finishes – Carpet

How Carpet is constructed

It is important to understand the two main methods of carpet construction as it is a large financial outlay for the client and they will have endless questions on why one costs more than another? Why one has a looser look, firmer feel, multicolored etc?

Today most carpets are produced by the tufting method of manufacture. It consists of hundreds of needles, which thread the yarn through the backing (jute or polypropylene), which forms loops or tufts to the required length.

The option then depending on the type of machine is to cut the loops to form a cut pile tufted carpet or leave the loops to form a looped pile tufted carpet.

The backing is then given a layer of adhesive coating to fix the tufts in position; another layer of backing is then fixed for added strength.

Axminster carpet

Traditionally carpets were woven on a loom. Many still are and are named from the type of loom that they are manufactured from. Axminster, for example, different colored tufts are inserted into the weave from above so that they make up the pile but do not run in the back. By this method, many colors can be used and most Axminster's are patterned. Wilton is another example, it is woven in continuous strands and only a small number of colors can be used on the loom. The pile yarn is woven so that the colors not showing on the surface lie on the back. It is a cut, looped or cut and looped pile. Patterned Wiltons are possible but at the high end of the quality and price range.

All woven carpets have the backing threads and pile woven at the same time, which means that the tufts are fixed in place. Weaving is a well-known method for producing patterns. Woven carpets are generally slower to make than tufted. You can generally distinguish between the two by viewing the back sides.

Both methods of construction are of a high quality and your choice will come down to the look that you require.

Carpets can be made by other methods, bonding and knitting. Bonded carpets are constructed by gluing tufts of pile directly onto a backing. Knitted carpets have a more complex construction method than Axminsters or Wiltons. Knitting the pile yarn and backing together achieve this type of method.

The combination of research and development in yarn and machinery married with specialist textile designers and the demand from the consumer is creating a burgeoning new wave of innovative and creative textures, styles, color combinations and patterns.

Just when you think you've seen everything - a new range is released and it opens up new doors for selecting schemes and creating wonderful new environments. The hardest job is keeping up with the choices! Overall the basics still apply and what you will learn here is a good grounding for appreciating the new product to come.

06 June, 2008

Interior Design and Decorating Floor Finishes - Types of Natural Stone Flooring

Types of Natural Stone Flooring

  • Slate is another form of metamorphic rock that consists of silica alumina and iron oxide.
  • It is easily split into layers that provide a rugged rustic look.
  • It has good abrasion resistance and high durability if it has been correctly cut.
  • It is impervious to water, cold hard and noisy under foot and can be slippery.
  • A non-slip variety is available.
  • It is difficult to lay as the product is quite brittle and heavy.
  • It is usually laid into a bed of cement over concrete.

Limestone and Sandstone

  • These are derived from sedimentary rocks; deposits of sediment being laid down under water or air formed these.
  • Sandstone comes from deposited sand grains i.e. quartz, pressed and held together by silica, calcium carbonate or other cements.
  • Limestone comes from deposited organic origin materials i.e. bones shells and consists mainly of calcium carbonate.
  • Limestone is rarely used for floors today as it becomes slippery when it is worn and not all products are hardwearing.
  • It is grey or beige in color.
  • Sandstone - is used more in outdoor paving than indoor, but looks great in an area that flows to the outdoors such as a conservatory.
  • Its irregular natural pattern is its best feature and can range from a grainy timber look to stripes and speckles.
  • It is beige, brown, reddish brown, in color and some stones are hardwearing.

  • Granite is a form of Igneous Rock, created by the cooling of molten magma.
  • It is made up of feldspar quartz and mica.
  • This is a luxury floor covering and one that needs careful consideration before specification, as it is an expensive product.
  • The floor structure needs consideration, as it is very heavy.
  • Once laid, it will last for a very long time, as it is hardwearing and resistant to chemicals.
  • It has a timeless look.
  • If highly polished it is slippery, but a honed finish provides a more manageable finish.
  • It comes in limited colors - black, red, green, grey, blue, pink.
  • It is supplied in a slab form and is cold and noisy underfoot. But it looks great!

Granite used for steps to a commercial building entry.

  • This is a form of metamorphic rock, a combination of igneous and sedimentary rocks undergoing a major change due to extreme influences of heat or pressure.
  • It is made up of calcium carbonate; it comes in numerous colors, white, grey, green, ochre, beige and is usually veined.
  • It is a hardwearing beautiful product, expensive to purchase and lay as it is heavy and comes in slab form.
  • It is cold and noisy underfoot.
  • From a designers point of view like granite it has a timeless quality.

Marble used of floor and walls of a hotel bathroom, very stylish.