Loose rugs and fitted carpets each have specific pros and cons. Considering these can help you make the best choices for specific spaces and needs in your home.
We look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of loose rugs versus fitted carpets when it comes to factors like durability, safety and practicality.
Durability of fitted carpets versus loose rugs
Fitted carpeting and loose rugs are both available in a wide range of different material types and styles. Each has differing resilience and longevity.
For example, a loosely woven, cotton fitted carpet will be much less durable than something like a high-end Persian rug.
Overall though, fitted carpeting has the edge in terms of durability.
What makes fitted carpeting (mostly) more resilient than loose rugs
Partly, fitted carpeting is stronger just because it’s fitted. It stays put.
So even with heavy foot traffic or when furniture is dragged across it, it’s less likely to be pulled out of shape.
More than loose rugs, fitted carpet is designed to be tough. It’s manufactured to be suitable for areas with heavy traffic.
Also, it’s fitted with a cushioning underlay. This gives it some extra protection from below.
The fitted carpet fibre and pile type you choose will affect its durability.
Higher price doesn’t necessarily equate with a longer-lasting carpet (or rug). For example, nylon carpeting is typically cheaper than wool. But nylon is one of the most durable of all carpets fibres.
Verdict: It depends on the type of material but on average, fitted carpeting is tougher.
When it comes to safety, loose rugs and fitted carpets have some unique pros and cons.
Fitted carpet fumes and toxic chemicals
When newly fitted, some carpeting releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air.
This is called carpet off-gassing. It’s what causes that “new carpet smell”.
The backing, padding and adhesives used during installation also release various chemicals.
For example, commonly used latex backing releases potentially toxic styrene and 4-phenyl cyclohexane (4-PC).
Carpet fumes can cause respiratory irritation. It’s best to keep an area with new carpeting well-ventilated for at least 72 hours.
For homes with toddlers or those at risk of respiratory problems, it may be best to investigate more environmentally friendly carpeting options.
Loose rugs pose a higher risk of falls
Especially on tiling, hardwood or marble, an unsecured loose rug can be a real slip hazard.
Raised or curled up edges of rugs can also cause people to trip.
Especially where elderly or balance-impaired people are in the home, fitted carpeting may be a safer choice overall. This applies especially in high-traffic areas like passageways, staircases and entrance halls.
It’s important to use a rug pad or mat and/or suitable rug tape to keep a loose rug in place.
Get advice when buying these items to avoid damaging either the rug or the underlying flooring.
Verdict: The area to be covered and the characteristics of people in the home can help guide the best choice. If preventing falls is a priority, fitted carpeting may be safer than loose rugs. (Both fitted carpeting and rugs are softer to fall on than tile or hardwood flooring). In an area like a nursery, take steps to protect against fumes from newly fitted carpeting.
Fitted carpet is, of course, attached to the floor and goes under the skirting boards.
If you move home, the fitted carpet stays behind.
If you want a change, the only real choice is to replace the carpeting entirely.
Loose rugs are much more adaptable. You can move a loose rug to a new home. You can also relocate a rug, moving it to any room or space where it will fit.
Some rugs are fully reversible. This gives you a choice of pattern. So you can give a room a new look just by flipping over the rug.
Rugs are probably the better option if you like to change the look and layout of rooms relatively often.
Verdict: Loose rugs are more versatile than fitted carpets.
Cost of fitted carpeting vs. loose rugs
Fitted carpeting tends to be comparatively pricey. Because you buy it by the square metre, cost will depend on the size of the space you want to cover and the quality of the carpet itself.
Fitted carpeting varies in price per square metre based on factors like its material, density, method of construction and place of origin.
Fitted carpets also require professional installation. This adds to the costs.
Loose rugs range from cheap, rough-made pieces to extremely expensive, high-quality silk or Oriental rugs.
Unless you’re paying for delivery, the expense stops there though. No installation is required.
Generally, a practical, hard-wearing rug for a living area will cost less than fitted carpeting of similar quality.
Verdict: It depends what you buy but, on balance, loose rugs are cheaper.
Ease of cleaning
Everyday vacuuming of fitted carpets is easy enough. However, deeply ingrained dirt and stains are harder to dislodge.
Washing carpets yourself is a labour-intensive task. It can also have less than satisfactory results.
Generally, it pays to have fitted carpets professionally steam-cleaned, at least once a year.
Rugs are easier to lift, beat, wash and dry. Some can even be washed by hand or put in the washing machine.
For more thorough cleaning or to protect a sensitive or valuable rug, it’s best to use a professional cleaning service. You can have loose rugs collected, professionally cleaned and then returned once they’re dry.
Verdict: Fitted carpets are easier to vacuum but loose rugs are easier to deep clean.
The pros and cons of carpet tiles
Carpet tiles aren’t just for offices. Styles and designs that suit homes are also available.
Carpet tiles are easy to install and hardwearing.
You can also replace just one tile if there is a hole or stain. This is much, much cheaper than having to replace the whole floor. (When you buy carpet tiles, always buy a few extra in case they’re needed).
Image source: AliExpress
On the downside, carpet tiles can look and feel a bit too rough for home living spaces.
Also, the tiles are susceptible to wear and dirt build-up along the edges. They may also lift at edges or corners, especially if cleaned with a powerful vacuum. This can ruin the wall-to-wall carpeted look.
Carpet versus hardwood floors
Hardwood floors have continued to rise in popularity among home buyers and renters.
They’re neutral in colour, easier to keep clean and don’t trap dander and pollen. They’re also extremely long-lasting. However, they require periodic sanding and refinishing.
Image source: RMD Floors
Wood is undeniably attractive but we remain firm fans of carpeting and rugs. They are:
- softer and warmer underfoot
- quieter (they have sound-dampening qualities)
- available in a vast range of colours, patterns and textures
- not slippery, even after a liquid spill (provided loose rugs are secured)
- more comfortable to sit or lie on, for people and pets.
Carpet cleaning services from Chelsea Cleaning
Chelsea Cleaning offers cleaning services for fitted carpets and loose rugs. Giving your fitted carpets a deep clean can give them a new lease on life. Always consider professional carpet cleaning before replacing fitted carpets at great expense.
All types of loose rugs can be collected from your home and deep cleaned at our professionally equipped factory. Even Persian rugs, kelims and shag carpets can be thoroughly but gently cleaned to revitalise them.