We are refurbishing our flat and need carpets for four bedrooms and a corridor, all on the same level, (60sqm net total area, about 75sqm if you take rectangles surrounding all rooms, about 85 sqm if you account for wastage based on carpet roll width of 4 or 5m).
Before we started shopping I had zero knowledge of the area (now I have only slightly more than zero!). We visited a couple of stores and looked at carpets and got samples etc. and then we liked this one from John Lewis:
They came and measured the area and gave us a quote for fitting it. At that point I noticed they added a cost for underlay, this particular one:
As I said, at that point I had literally zero knowledge, I didn't even know there's a separate underlay, so I started researching and realized that the choice of underlay is very important, possibly even more so than the carpet. And that this particular JL one is probably the same as the Duralay Treadmore that can be had for half the price online. I asked JL and they don't have issue for me getting the underlay myself, so I'm going to do that, and I would like recommendations for underlay. I would like a soft feel, and also the flat is at ground level, so higher tog rating may be better from an insulation point of view. From what I read in various forum posts the Tredaire Dreamwalk 11mm is a good option, but there's potentially a concern of being too soft and therefore losing shape over time, even though it's described as heavy domestic usage. Then I looked at the Tredaire Colours Red 11.4mm which seems more durable and firmer, but still comfortably soft. The Axminster Axfelt65 is also recommended by many, but I'm not sure exactly what the benefits over the others are.
And then there's the carpet itself. Any views on the particular JL one? A recommendation perhaps for a similar (or better) alternative? Given the presence of two young children I would like something durable, stain resistant rather than fancy. And I have a preference for manmade material, as opposed to wool or wool blend as I feel it offers better value (unless you convince me otherwise). One of the reasons the JL is the front runner at the moment is the perception that it is a decent quality product that will do the job, and the company will stand behind it in case of failure. I would like to use the analogy that (I think) it is the Volkswagen equivalent option, but with the caveat that it would refer to a non-diesel model ;) If we can have something like that with another product that we can buy online or from a local shop and have a local fitter install, I would be fine with it. I have arranged an appointment with a local fitter as well, and I will discuss options with him.
Thanks very much
I used to sell carpet many moons ago (family business).
I'm out of the loop on modern underlays. They've changed a lot in recent years. The old advice was to go for the best you can afford. You will also need gripper and doorbars unless they are already there.
For carpets, I would always go for wool or a wool blend over manmade, certainly for heavy wear areas. They look better (not shiny) and wear better.
We've just recarpeted our house and gone for wool or a wool mix in the main bedroom, hall stairs and landing and living areas. We've used manmade in lighter use bedrooms. That combo is working for us.
It's mostly bedrooms and only one corridor in our case (wooden floors elsewhere). The manmade we saw was not shiny. Appearance wise there was not much difference between that and a wool blend. It does feel softer to the touch than wool, which I like. It's supposed to wear well and spring back after having heavy load (a good underlay -- which I will get -- will help there).
A good underlay will make it feel nice but won't affect flattening. That's to do with the pile. Wool is just spiringier and will (all other things being equal) keep its appearance for longer. But for lighter traffic areas manmade is fine.
I'dgo for wool mix every time. It lasts longer, feels nicer underfoot, you can repair it if necessary, it is naturally stain resistant if dealt with straight away ( not using Vanish, which bleaches it).
I've only bought man made once, for a quick, cheap freshening up of a bedroom, after a year you could see the flattening of the traffic area!
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