There’s a reason wool is such a desirable textile. Its insulating abilities are second to none, it is very light, durable and its finer strains are especially beautiful and soft to the touch. For about 8,000 years wool has been used as a choice material for clothing, blankets, carpets and upholstery.
Despite the invention of many great synthetics in the last 50 years, wool’s popularity hasn’t waned. We see wool all over the world of outdoor adventuring, where merino wool clads the most rugged mountaineers and explorers. In the world of fashion and home decoration, wool has a sense of timelessness and will forever be associated with warmth and comfort. The same is true in the world of flooring, where wool is prize material for carpet. Why? Because it is natural, pleasingly tactile, an excellent insulator and has a luxurious aura about it.
Imagine your favorite wool shirt or sweater. Ever noticed how it keeps you warm in cool temperatures and cool in warm temperatures? Even when it’s wet, its ability to regulate your temperature stays in tact... Every wondered how? It’s because the fiber’s unique and complex structure.
First off, its exterior is clad with overlapping scales, allowing it to felt when rubbed together. This is why it can be woven so densely as a textile. On top of the scales there is a waxy coating that keeps the exterior water resistant. But the interior of the fiber is actually absorbent, and funnily enough, this is what gives wool its special ability to regulate temperature.
When wool absorbs moisture, it produces heat, so when you go from a warm room into a cool night, the wool absorbs water from the air, keeping you warm. When you go back into the warm room the reverse occurs: the moisture from the wool passes into the air, cooling you down. Such innovation no? All thanks to nature, which has benevolently created a coat for sheep to stay regulated in all environments.
Along with real wood, quality tile, stone and clay, wool is a very desirable material with which to finish and furnish a home. Why? It is has within it the beauty of nature and around it, an aura of hearty luxury.
Just like wood, stone and clay, wool brings nature into your home. As well as adding beauty to a space, natural elements like wool make a space more nourishing. Studies have shown that artificial environments that lack natural elements make for unhappy inhabitants. People are more stressed, uncomfortable and unhealthy in environments with poor lighting, air quality and synthetic materials.
With his theory called ‘Biophilic Design,’ Dr. Stephen Kellert argues that artificial environments must be more ecologically connected. One of the ways to do this is to use natural finishing materials. There’s a reason that a nice wool throw makes you feel more welcome when you walk into a living room! It’s because having natural elements in your home makes you feel less stressed, more creative and more rejuvenated.
When it comes to the world of carpet, no carpet feels more like a textile than wool carpet. It has the soft welcoming quality of clothing and blankets, the authentic beauty of nature and the pleasure of luxury.
But that it is not to say it is delicate. Wool carpet is just as hearty as the wool that clads mountaineers. It recovers from crushing better than any other carpet fiber. It also performs very well against staining and moisture changes: the scales of the wool’s fiber prevents dirt from adhering and the fiber’s absorbency helps it buffer moisture changes in indoor air.
As mentioned before, it is an excellent insulator, so you can rely on your comfortable floors for some relief from the cold of Calgary winters. All in all, wool carpet makes for a very lovely, but very hearty and practical floor covering.
Both companies make environmentally responsible efforts: they use wool harvested from sheep under the supervision of organizations like ZQ in New Zealand, which ensure that the sheep are well cared for and ethically treated. Wool carpet is a more green choice than nylon or polyester since it is natural, biodegradable and improves indoor air quality.
Check out our current Masland wool feature.
Written by guest author Eric Osborne