Carpets - Frequently Asked Questions

How are carpets measured in the UK?

In the UK, carpets are measured by square metres (m2), not square feet (ft2). However, the process for establishing how much carpet is needed is the same worldwide; see below.

How do I work out how many square metres of carpet I need?

  1. Measure the length of the room at its maximum length
  2. Measure the width of the room at its widest point (take measurements at two points in the room for extra accuracy)
  3. Measure into doorways to ensure there is enough carpet to meet your carpet in adjacent areas
  4. Multiple the width by the length to give you a total of the square metres required (note that carpets come in fixed widths, usually 4m)

How do you measure a stair carpet?

First, count how many stairs there are. Second, measure the rise (the top of the step – the bit you step on) and the height (also called the fall) of the step. Add this together to get the total length of the step.

Multiply the length by the number of steps that are the same size to get total length. Then measure the width of the widest step. Multiply these together to calculate the surface area of the steps, and add some extra to account for the carpet bending round the edges of the steps.

What is the best carpet for a bedroom?

We would recommend the deep pile Saxony-type carpet or the twist pile carpet for the bedroom. Carpets with a soft, luxurious feel (but less durability) are often favoured in the bedroom as there is less need to worry about heavy footfall.

What is the best carpet for the stairs?

We would recommend Berber loop carpet or twist pile carpet for stairs; however, any carpet can be used in this area so the choice is really down to your tastes. The best stair carpets are hardwearing as they will experience large volumes of traffic going up and down the stairs. The carpet also needs to be easy to clean and stain-resistant, as stairs can be harder to clean than other areas. Some carpets with an extremely long pile may make walking up and down the stairs more difficult.

Do carpets reduce noise?

Yes, carpets can absorb up to 10 times as much sound as hard floors, according to a study by the Scottish Building Standards Agency. This is especially true when the carpet is fitted with our recommended Airstep Underlay. Find out more about noise reduction in our carpet guide.

Do carpets make a room warmer?

Yes, carpets do make a room warmer as they act as a layer of insulation and help prevent cold air from coming up through the floor. Underlay will increase warmth. Carpets are a particularly good insulating material; wool is the warmest carpet.

Can carpets be steam cleaned?

Yes. It is recommended to steam clean your carpets every couple of years.

Can carpets be washed?

Yes, carpets can be shampooed as well as steam cleaned.

How often should carpets be cleaned?

To extend the life of your carpet it is recommended that you have it professionally steam cleaned every one to two years. Vacuuming depends on your household: in homes with many children and/or pets, you may need to vacuum high traffic areas daily. In other households, once or twice a week should suffice.

When should I replace my carpets?

Carpets generally come with a ‘wear warranty’ that will give you an expected lifetime under normal conditions.

With proper care, the average carpet should last an average of 10 years. However, sometimes carpets can suffer wear before this time. You should replace your carpets if they become matted, are heavily stained, become smelly, mouldy or if your carpet is wrinkled or makes crinkly sounds when you walk on it. These sounds indicate that the underlay is worn out.

What is the best carpet for high-traffic areas?

A Berber carpet is a great choice for high-traffic areas. It is incredibly hardwearing and stain-resistant. A twist pile carpet is also a good choice. Berber will not flatten or become crushed underfoot, while twist pile is more resistant to these effects than carpet such as Saxony.

What is the most hard-wearing carpet?

Berber loop carpet is incredibly hard-wearing.

Are carpets flammable?

Carpets are rarely the initial ignition source for fires. Performance standards require that carpets self-extinguish and most carpet textures are not particularly susceptible to fire. In most instances, when a furnishing such as a chair sets alight, the carpet underneath will usually also set on fire.

Wool is by far the most fire retardant carpet material. It has a very high ignition temperature, a low heat of combustion, a low rate of heat release and produces much lower levels of smoke compared with other materials.

See the table below to compare the flammability of carpet materials:


Limiting Oxygen Index

(% of oxygen needed to set a material on fire. Lower = more flammable)

Heat of Combustion

(amount of heat/energy given off while burning. Higher = hotter)

Temperature at which material will set on fire

Melting Temperature





Does not melt





Does not melt















Does not melt


Are carpets bad for allergies?

As a general rule, the material from which carpets are made should not cause allergies. However, without regular cleaning, carpets can trap allergens such as dust or animal hair in its fibres, which can trigger allergies.

Hypo-allergenic carpets are available which reduce this risk. Regular cleaning should also be sufficient to lower the risk of allergy.

Are carpets covered by contents insurance?

In most instances carpet will be covered by contents insurance, rather than home insurance. However, it is best to check this with your insurance provider.

Is polypropylene carpet any good?

Polypropylene carpet is a great all-rounder carpet. It is durable and affordable, stain-resistant and suitable for high-traffic areas. It is generally considered a great choice for family homes or houses with a reasonable number of people living in them. Find out more about the pros and cons of polypropylene here.

What carpets are best for dogs?

Pet owners should consider carpets that are easy to clean and that do not have long fibres (such a shag carpet) into which hairs can easily become embedded. Berber carpets are a great choice for long-haired dogs (especially if you select a stain-resistant option) as they are easy to clean and tend to trap less animal hair among the pile. However, Berber is a looped pile carpet and this can be a problem for pets with long claws, as these can catch on the loops and damage the carpet. If your pets’ claws are not kept trimmed, cut pile carpet is the best option.

Which carpets are stain-resistant?

See here for our full list of stain-resistant carpets. Some popular stain-resistant carpets include:

If a carpet is stain-resistant it should be indicated in the product information at the point of sale.


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