Tufted carpet is made by punching the pile yarn into a pre-formed woven primary backing fabric using needles and then applying a secondary backing fabric with latex. Put simply, a Tufting machine is like a very big sewing machine!
The advantages of Tufted carpet are:
- It is a quick method of manufacture
- Produces a range of pile textures and patterns
- Suitable for all yarn types
There are two types of Woven carpet - Axminster and Wilton. Woven carpet is made the traditional way weaving the front and back of the carpet simultaneously and is consequently more labour intensive. Axminster carpet is predominantly patterned with unlimited colour potential. It offers extremely good pattern definition and dimensional stability. Wilton tends to be used for plain carpet and textures but it can use up to 5 colours.
The advantages of Woven carpet are:
- Pattern potential in Axminster
- Very high tuft definition
- Excellent appearance retention
Vinyl flooring is particualarly suited to areas exposed to water. Vinyl has improved in recent years and now provides a surface that can suit many different applications, from reproduction wood flooring to simulated tile flooring.
Solid Hardwood Flooring
As the name implies, this type of wood flooring is solid wood all the way through, from top to bottom. It's similar to any other stick of lumber that sawn straight off of the log--no additional materials added. It's usually just called "hardwood floor."
Hardwood flooring comes either unfinished or prefinished. Unfinished hardwood tends to be a little cheaper than prefinished, but does require immediate light sanding, staining (optional), and sealing after installation. With prefinished, you can walk on it right after installation. With unfinished, you need to limit usage until it has been sealed. After sealing, you will need to wait at least 48 hours for the sealant to dry. Even then, additional coats may be required. With unfinished, the advantage is you can stain it and seal it to your exact specification. With prefinished, the advantage is the quick turnaround time.
One popular hardwood is bamboo flooring (a grass rather than a hardwood, nonetheless it's usually classed as a hardwood).
Hardwood flooring's greatest advantage is that it can be re-sanded numerous times, extending its life literally for decades. Its greatest weakness: it cannot be installed in moist areas such as basements or bathrooms.
Engineered Wood Flooring
Engineered flooring basically is a sandwich of finish wood and plywood. The finish wood is what you see and walk on. The plywood underneath comprises 80-90% of the floor.
Engineered wood flooring's greatest weakness is its thin top layer. Remarkably, this 1/16" to 1/8" finish layer can be sanded. But only once or twice. Unlike solid hardwood, deep scratches and dents in engineered wood cannot be sanded out.
Laminate flooring is comprised of a thin top layer of resin-infused paper, all on top of a wood-chip composite.
It is an amazing simulation of wood. The resin layer is essentially a photograph of wood. You can examine it with a magnifying glass and still be fooled. Laminate flooring is an excellent alternative to wood flooring.
Among the advantages of laminate flooring are its scratch-resistence and the fact that it works well in moist environments like bathrooms and kitchens.