Is Wall-to-Wall Carpet the Right Choice for Your Next Design Project
As a designer or architect, you know your choice in flooring is an important one. There are countless resources chronicling the importance of paint choice and lighting — of course, these are important choices too — but perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle is your flooring.
With instant transformative abilities, your flooring, whether it being wall-to-wall carpets or other types of carpets, can make or break a project. Think about it; the floor is your first physical interaction with a space – it matters! On top of that, flooring often accounts for a major portion of your project budget. You need to be sure you’re making an informed decision that your clients will be happy with for years to come.
With wall-to-wall carpets, you won’t go wrong. The advantages of carpets are many. For one, wall-to-wall carpets offer many practical benefits, such as superior comfort, attractive acoustic and thermal qualities as well as greater safety compared to hard surface alternatives.
Above this, though, wall-to-wall carpets can be a vehicle for expression. Carpet design can be likened to storytelling. Through your carpet selections and the way you employ them, you set the mood of a space, creating an environment that tells occupants how a space should be used.
Your selection of wall-to-wall carpets and accompanying carpet backing – the padded underside of your carpet – can affect the look, feel and sound of a space. The colours, patterns or custom designs of your wall-to-wall carpet support your unique story.
Here are just a few examples of just how a wall-to-wall carpet can affect the atmosphere of a space.
1) FIFA and Coca-Cola using wall-to-wall carpeting to reinforce a brand image:
2) It can express the personality of a space. This example is from a wall-to-wall carpet used in a hotel lobby.
3) It can even allude to the history of a space:
And there’s no better way to do this than with a high-quality wall-to-wall carpet. The following guide will teach you everything you need to know about wall-to-wall carpets and how to use them in your next project. Enjoy!
What is a Wall-to-Wall Carpet?
Wall-to-wall carpets, also known as “fitted carpets” or “broadloom carpets”, is a type of carpeting which covers a given space in few pieces – or even one single piece – as opposed to several pieces laid out to create your flooring. This is what creates the seamless look for which wall-to-wall carpeting is known. Wall-to-wall carpets can be designed to stick directly on subfloors, but more often, they’re laid on underfelt over the substrate flooring and attached using small tacks.
Wall-to-wall carpeting earns its title from the way it’s manufactured: in long, wide rolls of carpets. Often thought of as the high-quality solution, wall-to-wall carpets works best for projects with big design ambitions or for large floor surfaces.
With a wide variety of qualities to choose from – which differ in fibre type, construction and price – as well as a number of carpet backing options – which vary in acoustic properties, comfort, durability and price – it’s not hard to find wall-to-wall carpets that will meet the needs of any project.
Benefits of wall-to-wall carpets
Some of the many benefits of selecting wall-to-wall carpets for your next project are:
Choosing wall-to-wall carpeting opens up a lot of doors when it comes to styling your carpet. For one, choosing wall-to-wall carpets will give you the largest selection of colour and pattern standards to choose from.
Further, wall-to-wall carpets will give you the greatest freedom when creating custom designs, as there are no modular requirements or unsightly seams that will interfere with your design. When it comes to designing your wall-to-wall carpet, the options are seemingly limitless.
Selecting wall-to-wall carpeting means gaining access to a wide variety of different carpet backing and yarn options, allowing for a degree of plushness other options simply can’t offer. This is attractive, not only for underfoot comfort but also because it reduces back pain from standing and absorbs the impact of foot traffic, allowing the fibres to look better and last longer.
Wall-to-Wall Carpet vs. Carpet Tiles
When selecting a carpet, many designers spend their time on choices, such as colours or patterns. These are definitely important decisions too, but prior to making these decisions, you should be considering what type of carpet best suits your project. For a deep dive into this area, see our article “Carpet Construction and What to Consider.”
Generally speaking, you have two options to choose from: Wall-to-wall carpet, or carpet tiles. There’s no one correct choice between the two, but your budget and the needs of your project will determine which choice is right for you.
Wall-to-wall carpets: the luxury choice
Wall-to-wall carpeting is the superior offering with regard to quality and design versatility.
If your project requires custom designs or large-scale patterning, wall-to-wall carpets are certainly the option you’ll want to go with.
With its seamless finish, wall-to-wall carpeting grants you a high degree of creative freedom if you decide to go with a custom design. Only the bounds of the space you’re designing and your imagination set the limit.
Further, wall-to-wall carpets can achieve a superior underfoot feel to carpet tiles. This is because of the plethora of different carpet backing options and yarn types you can choose from with wall-to-wall carpets that simply aren’t available with pre-backed carpet tiles.
The downside of wall-to-wall carpets, however, comes in the installation phase. Installation of wall-to-wall carpeting, if not properly planned out, can be more demanding and time-consuming than that of carpet tiles. Further, the waste produced in the process is greater. This is because a wall-to-wall carpet is printed on large roles. Fitting the carpet into a defined space involves cutting away excess fabric, which creates waste. You should expect a waste from around 5-25%.
The good news is, proper planning and training on the part of you and your carpet installer can keep the waste of wall-to-wall carpets to a minimum.
Carpet tiles: the cost-effective choice
Carpet tiles are small swatches of carpet that can be installed and combined in many versatile ways. Often referred to as “modular carpet,” carpet tiles are often square, but manufacturers such as Ege Carpets also offer them in a variety of shapes. They’re a cost-effective solution and are quicker and easier to install.
Because of their modularity and small size, they also generate less waste during installation – only 1-3% – but further, are easier to replace when an individual tile is destroyed or stained.
Carpet tiles aren’t without their downsides, though. For one, even when installation is executed perfectly, you’ll always be able to see the seams between tiles. If your objective is to achieve the look and feel of a single piece of flooring, carpet tiles probably aren’t the right choice. Further, because carpet tiles have pre-attached carpet backing, they lack the plush comfort certain wall-to-wall carpets have to offer.
Recent technological advances, however, have enabled carpet tiles to appear more seamless and have given designers more options for designing with them. While they don’t always fit the needs of more complicated or high-end projects, carpet tiles can very often be an attractive option for mid-range or less complicated projects.
If you think carpet tiles might be the right choice for your project, we recommend you consult our comprehensive guide on carpet tiles.
Let’s take a moment to recap: wall-to-wall carpets vs. carpet tiles
- Wall-to-wall carpets are a must for large-scale patterning or custom designs.
- Wall-to-wall carpets generally have that extra touch of quality that you can feel when walking on them and see when looking at the seamless surface.
- Carpet tiles offer ease of installation, saving time and money. Though certain qualities of wall-to-wall carpeting have comparable prices.
- Carpet tiles are a good option where regular maintenance is of great concern.
Designing Your Wall-to-Wall Carpet: Factors to Consider
Now that you understand a little bit more about carpet type, let’s take a look at the other carpet properties you should consider: carpet construction, styles and fibres.
Wall-to-wall carpet construction
First, you’ll want to consider your wall-to-wall carpet construction. Generally speaking, you’ll choose between three options: tufted, woven or needle punched carpets. While the overwhelming majority of wall-to-wall carpets are tufted, it’s useful when making your selection that you understand your options.
Tufted carpets account for 95% of all commercial wall-to-wall carpets on the market and with a fast production time, lower price and a large variety of different designs, it’s no wonder. Tufted carpets are applicable to most projects, but when superior quality and endurance are of top concern, they might not be the best option.
Woven carpets – or carpets produced on a loom – were the only option on the market a little less than 70 years ago. While technological advancement has provided us a sea of other options, woven carpets are still selected today because of their superior quality and durability, particularly with natural materials. Woven carpets are a good choice for a high-end project.
Needle punched carpets, most often used for things like entry mats, are colourfast, dry quickly and are resistant to sunlight and fading. While practical, they lack versatility with regard to look and feel. For this reason, we don’t recommend them for general use.
Wall-to-wall carpet styles
Beyond carpet construction, another factor that can impact upon the look, feel and performance of your wall-to-wall carpeting is carpet style. Below, we’ll take a peek at two main styles: cut pile and loop pile. While there are a number of variations within these two styles, this overview will be enough to get you started. For a more in-depth look, check out our carpet glossary.
Loop pile carpeting achieves a soft and smooth look and feel, through looping yarn. With loop pile carpeting, you can combine higher and lower loops to play with texture and pattern.
Cut pile carpets achieve a more formal, or luxurious look and often appear darker than loop pile carpets comprised of the same yarn type. Cut pile wall-to-wall carpets are created by cutting yarn loops to create an upright pile.
Cut and loop pile
Cut and loop pile carpets, made up of a combination of cut and looped yarns, allow for sculptured effects – such as squares or swirls – and a wide range of patterns and styles.
Wall-to-wall carpet fibres
Finally, you’ll want to consider the kind of fibres your wall-to-wall carpet is made of. While wall-to-wall carpets are often made up of some sort of blend, understanding the basics of fibre type can help you better understand the qualities you can expect of a blend.
Wool is generally considered a pricer option. It’s a natural fibre, known for being strong, stain resistant and incredibly luxurious. Soft yet dense, wool provides the utmost in comfort, but also maintains reliable structural integrity. Due to its cream colour, wool has a more understated look than fibres, such as nylon.
Polypropylene is a synthetic fibre with a similar appearance to wool. It shares similar stain-resistance properties with wool and is highly resistant to fading, but is lacking with regard to durability.
Nylon is the more cost-effective option for your wall-to-wall carpet. A polymide, nylon, is known for resilience, durability and comfort. Nylon is static-free, resistant to staining and maintains its fibre height very well. As such, it’s not hard to understand why it’s such a popular option. Nylon is easily identifiable by its sharper, glossier finish.
Polyester, also known as a less expensive option, is another kind of synthetic fibre. Rather versatile, polyester has a long history of being used in carpet manufacturing but is generally considered to be a lower-quality choice, compared to nylon. Technological advancements, however, have increased the fibre’s durability to an extent.
Fibres made from recycled materials, such as fishing nets and other forms of industrial nylon waste, are increasingly gaining in popularity. Generally thought of as a mid-range price option, recycled materials are a sustainable, durable and attractive option if you want to improve your environmental footprint with wall-to-wall carpeting.
Considering Acoustics When Designing Your Wall-to-Wall Carpet
A major consideration for many projects is acoustics. For projects such as offices, restaurants, school, hotels, etc., acoustics are a top concern. With its natural sound absorptive properties, wall-to-wall carpets are a great choice when it comes to cutting down on noise.
The acoustic performance of a carpet, though, is also dependant on the padding, or carpet backing used beneath it. Here at Ege Carpets, we even offer an acoustic-optimised carpet backing. For projects where sound absorption is a main concern, it’s important that you ask your carpet manufacturer or supplier about acoustic properties and consider the following:
- Wall-to-wall carpet can be paired with heavy-duty carpet backing, namely, acoustic-optimised carpet backing to bolster sound absorption properties.
- The more permeable the carpet backing, the higher the noise reduction coefficient (NRC).
- Cushion underlays with greater thickness and higher weight also improve the NRC.
For a more in-depth guide on how to optimise for acoustics, make sure to read our guide, “Improving the Sounds of the Room.”
Sustainability and Your Wall-to-Wall Carpet
Another consideration becoming increasingly important is sustainability. More and more, we hear of clients requesting that architects and designers incorporate sustainability into their projects. If sustainability is an important consideration in your project, you’ll want to choose a carpet manufacturer that considers and actively addresses their environmental impact.