I would like to buy wool carpeting - how difficult can it be??

Discussion in 'Carpet Q&A' started by Gailey, Mar 14, 2010.

  1. Gailey

    Gailey Active Member

    Greetings carpet gurus. I would be grateful for some assistance.

    I guess it's been many, many years since I needed to buy carpet. I was shocked by the lack of choice in carpets made from wool when I went looking. Regrettably, I don't live in Vermont :(, but Alberta, Canada, which seems to be the nylon carpet capital of the universe.

    Now lest I offend nylon carpet lovers in my inaugral post, let me say I have nothing against nylon per-se, it's just that I would prefer wool. It's what I walk on now. I think it's been down at least 20-25 years and has worn very well.

    So specifically what I would like to know is:

    Which brands to look for?
    What is an average price per square yard?
    What sort of questions should I be asking?

    I fast realised that there's no point in comparing two 60 oz piles if one is 9mm high and one is only 3mm. I think it was at that point I realised I needed some more help.

    The look I am searching for would be fairly plain (minimal pattern). I adore the look and feel to dense velvet, but hate the shading that goes with it. Is there a way to achieve a compromise.

    Any advice to this fairly clueless British gal who shamefully admints to growing up but a stones throw from the UK's carpet capital would be very much appreciated.

    Strongly thinking of re-locating to Vermont!!!!!

    Many thanks.

  2. rusty baker

    rusty baker Well-Known Member

    Our wool carpet guru is "Dobby Tappet." Probably knows more about it than almost anyone. I'm sure he will help you next time he is on.
  3. Daris Mulkin

    Daris Mulkin The One and Only Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Maybe it would be possible to go through Dobby even though he is in Vermont. Ya never know until he chimes in.
    When wool is mention he automatically starts to drool and gets crazy. Just kidding.

  4. Peter Kodner

    Peter Kodner Inspector Floors Charter Member Senior Member

    True about Dobby, whenever wool comes up he goes in for a shearing, I mean hair cut!

    The minimal residential I did (mostly accommodations for our commercial clients and personal uses) we had good experiences with Masland and Karastan woven qualities. I have not sold for quite a while now and cannot vouch if the quality is still there with these two mills. I have read several posts indicated some feel Karastan has lowered their bar, but I believe this has been in reference to their tufted grades and not their woven (Karaloc specifically) qualities.

    In terms of styles, velvets will show shading and have a greater propensity for pooling/watermarking. Saxonies will show shading through footprints. Plushes try to meet half way between velvets and Saxonies. They show individual fiber more (as opposed to Saxonies showing individual yarn bundles) but have enough irregularity on the surface to not appear as flat as a velvet finish. A true old fashioned (by this I mean very tight and low pile height) frieze will minimize these optical conditions but they are not an appearance all people care for.

    I commend and appreciate your desire to find a quality wool product. So many consumers have not had experience with them and do not have the first hand experience with the true benefits of using it. Value is rarely just the initial dollar and cent outlay...
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2010
  5. Gailey

    Gailey Active Member

    Thank you Rusty, Daris and Peter for your input.

    I guess I need to read up on carpet "speak" (terminology) to understand the differences between the types and styles of carpets. I read through the glossary posted here, which was a little "high-brow" for moi!

    My new carpet doesn't have to be "top drawer", but I don't want "sock drawer" either. Manufacturers (websites) that I have examined closely so far include Karastan and Nourison and I have seen the Nourison samples in a couple of stores.

    Nourison seems to have good technical specifications on their website. I was surprised how difficult it was on some sites to identify which carpets were made of wool and which weren't. Trudging through Fabrica's website was like pulling teeth! This would be so much easier if I still lived in the UK - not a lot of sheep in Canada, baa!

    I've been at this for days now and fast wondering if a combo of tile and hardwood wouldn't be easier - except my delicate little tootsies just love the feel of wool beneath my feet.

    Thanks for taking the time to help me.

    Do you suppose if I told Mr Dobby that I used to live literally next door to a British Wool Marketing Board depot, he'd be impressed??
  6. mcbrides

    mcbrides Canadian Installers Senior Member

    Hi Gailey, Deb here, from Toronto.
    Depending upon where you are in Alberta, try a Carpet One dealer, they carry a line of woolens from New Zealand. There are only a handful of dealers here that carry Axeminster, and we haven't worked with it for many years. Let us know how you make out.

    And, of course, there's always Dobby. :D
  7. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    We do plenty of wool here and are closer to you. Wool is an excellent choice for carpet. Karastan is what I have in my house and it has held up to 2 kids a us for the last 18 years.
  8. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    We have a category in our PRO Directory for Alberta, Canada flooring retailers, but, unfortunately, no listings. If you are a retailer in Alberta, or know of one, you can submit a listing here: Submit a Listing for Alberta Floorcovering Retailers (you will receive an error message if you are not a registered member who is also in our pro user group)

  9. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    KW, you also don't have a listing in our directory. Others, including Gailey, might have already contacted you if you had a listing as a retailer in the Montana section of our directory.

    How 'bout it, hu? Submit a Listing as a Retailer in Big Sky Country

  10. David Hunt

    David Hunt Charter Member Senior Member Published

    Crickets! Next to the British Wool Marketing Board, yes, I would be impressed.

    I do have a most excellent contact in Canada who knows everyone who is selling wool carpet in the Provinces. While his primary work keeps him in Ontario and Quebec, there is no doubt in my mind, he would be the fellow to connect you with the right sources in Alberta. I will post my email address at the close of this post. If you send me your contact information, I will make some calls and see if we can't get you squared away.

    A few manufactures that service the Canadian market that come to mind right off are Godfrey Hirst, from Australia. Tintawn Weaving Company, from the UK. In the meantime, let me do some digging and see what I can find for you. It would be my pleasure.

    With kindest regards,


    email: https://thefloorpro.com/community/sendmessage.php?do=mailmember&u=100

    Real Name: David Hunt
    Vermont Custom Rug Company
    18 Burpee Road
    Bristol, Vermont 05443 USA
    Voice: 802-453-7160
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2010
  11. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    I removed your email address from the post, David. Please use the link to email you as provided in your profile. Anyone can click your name in a post and click the same link in the drop-down menu. I changed your email address to that link.

    Clicking your name also shows a link to visit your directory listings - but you don't have one either. Here is a link to add a listing as a Vermont retailer. It will help a lot of people and costs you nothing. You can add all your contact info, including your email address to a listing. You can also add pictures, link to your website if you have one, put your logo in and if you need any help at all, I will be happy to assist.


  12. Gailey

    Gailey Active Member

    Thank you so much for your response Mr Tappett/Hunt. I will be happy to send you an e-mail. In my searching today I came across Godfrey Hirst but no manufacturers from the UK.

    I have also been reading everything I could here that relates to wool carpeting here as well. I would also like to hear about any wool carpets that are not particularly of good quality, so I know what to avoid.

    Thank you to everyone else for your responses as well. I am anxious to hear what everyone has to say on the subject.
  13. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    You get what you pay for, just don't get the handmade custom wool from india unless your into $400 a yard + freight. I did a home of that, it came over on a slow boat and shipped from NY on its own truck. It took 12 of us to carry it into the house. We unrolled it in the room and it was full of dirt from being hand stitched out in the desert somewhere. It was a dense piece of goods though, you couldn't get your finger into the backing from the top. That was some job.
  14. ortiz34

    ortiz34 2nd generation Senior Member

    Masland makes beautiful wools too. Fabrica and them are owned by the same company and as far as I know the website for Masland is easy to navigate.
  15. David Hunt

    David Hunt Charter Member Senior Member Published

    The Godfrey Hirst link shows several dealers in Calgary, Red Deer, Medicine Hat and Edmonton. Not certain exactly which is closer, but it's a good start.

    Godfrey Hirst is a good entry level wool carpet. The reason I would recommend them as a start point is, the only make wool carpet. Fabrica & Masland are synthetic fiber carpet producers who have recently jumped on the wool band wagon. Their selection is, in my opinion, very limited and extremely over priced for the quality.

    The other reason for starting with Godfrey Hirst is not so much for you to purchase a Godfrey Hirst product. {{Although you certainly might want to}} . Is most dealers carry more than one wool line and, with Godfrey Hirst being the entry point, the quality selection should only improve. One word of caution, beware of any dealer who has Godfrey Hirst as their top end product.

    Rylux, Caviler, Couristan, Bremworth, Karastan and Tintawn are all good wool lines that should easily be found in Canada. Hope this helps!

    With kindest regards,


    PS: Karastan woven wool broadloom is, in my professional opinion, the best vale (quality/performance & durability for the dollar) in the flooring industry. Avoid anything made in India.
  16. Gailey

    Gailey Active Member

    Thank you for the links Peter. Thanks for the Masland recco Ortiz, I will check them out.

    I sent an e-mail to Brintons (UK) and asked if they had a distributor in Western Canada. The rep, who is based in British Columbia, contacted me and turns out be both hail from virtually the same place. It's a small world when you start talking about wool carpet it seems! I sent him a link to this site.
  17. Gailey

    Gailey Active Member

    Thank you for your suggestions Dobby. I especially appreciate your opinions on the different levels of quality. I will venture out to any of the stores mentioned in the links that are in Calgary next week (when I recover from a bug), and will report back with what I find. Do you have an opinion as to the Nourison product? I found a display stand of that manufacturer in two stores last week.

    One new question, what is the recommended underlay for wool? Do you NA folks call it underlay? I mean the material that goes underneath the actual carpet :)
  18. Peter Kodner

    Peter Kodner Inspector Floors Charter Member Senior Member

    We usually call if pad or cushion far more than underlay. For us US folks, underlay or underlayment is more used for materials under hard or resilient flooring. Also the foam cushions under floated wood and laminate floors.

    Never carried Nouristan while in the sales of flooring so no opinion or experience.
    Did carry Couristan in addition to Karastan. Also had Caviler, Tintawn, Bremworth, Hugh Mackay, Carpets from London, Louis Portiere, Eurotex and many more whose names I forget :eek: It is tough getting older... the memory goes first. Can't remember what goes second.
  19. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Padding is determined by the backing the wool is on and there are several backings being used today. We're 5 hours away from you. We mostly use Heathier Choice and Karastan.

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