Carpets that work in wet areas? Yes!

Advances in technology mean you can lay carpet in places that were strictly off limits before, places like bathrooms and el fresco rooms. The secret is in the new materials that are available today. For example, carpet made of Olefin, a byproduct of the petroleum industry, is perfect for use in wet areas.

Olefin Berbers
Olefin Berbers

Olefin Berbers: Advantages

Olefin is hydrophobic, that is, it won’t absorb water. For that reason, it is often used in marine carpeting. The fact that Olefin doesn’t get wet means colour must be added to the fibre during its manufacture; it can’t be added later. Because the dye is manufactured into the material, Olefin is highly resistant to fading and stains.

Olefin is valued because of its wool-like appearance, and it is usually woven in a looped berber style. Berber carpets are usually light in colour with flecks of contrasting colours, and the result resembles the traditional weaving done by the Berbers of North Africa, thus the name. There’s nothing like the warm feel of carpet in a bathroom, and an Olefin berber is the first carpet that can realistically be used in that kind of wet environment. Because Olefin is a type of plastic, it resists mould and mildew growth, as well. The only drawback to putting Olefin carpet in a bathroom? Large spills can be difficult to soak up.

Olefin carpets are often used in outdoor applications, too; they don’t absorb water and they dry quickly.

Olefin Carpet: Disadvantages

Olefin is almost impossible to stain, but it can be soiled. What’s the difference? If you drop a glass of red wine onto a typical carpet, it will leave a stain. Olefin won’t absorb the wine, so it won’t stain. Unfortunately, if Olefin comes into contact with oil, the oil will sink in: that’s ‘soiling’. So, while an Olefin rug or carpet may work well in a bathroom or alfresco room, it will be more problematic in a kitchen.

Olefins are not as durable as other fibres and are not recommended for high traffic areas. Olefin carpets don’t have the same ability to ‘bounce back’ as some other fibres.

It’s Not Just About the Carpet

The floor underneath the carpet is just as important as the carpet itself. Olefin carpet can be laid directly over concrete where wet conditions are expected, but it would not be a good idea to apply it directly over solid or engineered timber; moisture could become trapped and damage the wood. Overlay wood floors and subfloors with a cement board or other waterproof surface before you install the carpet. It’s important to choose the right adhesive, too. Make sure you use a commercial-grade, indoor-outdoor adhesive that’s advertised as water resistant.

Today’s Olefin rugs and carpets come in a huge range of colours and designs. Stop into Fowles to see what’s currently available for retail sale and through our Carpet Auction.