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Learn about Carpeting


Carpeting is a soft floor covering made from piled fibers attached to the top of a backing mat. The fibers can be a natural material, originally were often wool, and now are primarily synthetic materials like polyester, polypropylene, and nylon.

Look for the CRI (Carpet and Rug Institute) Green Label Plus, which indicates carpets with lower VOC emissions. You can also look for carpets made from recycled materials, or renewable materials like wool, cotton, hemp, sisal, seagrass, bamboo, and jute.

Carpet doesn't have a lot of inherently sustainable features. It doesn't last very long, compared with many other floor coverings, and it harbours dust, dirt, and hair, thus requiring frequent deep cleaning. The glue and foam backing underneath it can off-gas volatile organic compounds (VOCs), decreasing indoor air quality unless you choose low or zero-VOC carpet. On the up side, carpet can be recycled at the end of its working life, and it can be made from recycled or natural fibres.

The earliest surviving carpet is the Pazyryk carpet, believed to have been made by Armenian craftspeople around 500 BCE. This square, red carpet with intricate gold patterns of horses and riders, was found almost entirely intact in an excavation in the Altai Mountains in Siberia in 1949.