The Wonders of Wool


By Byron Buchanan

Modern science, technology and innovative thinking have brought us great advances in home surfaces. In recent years, we have become for more attuned to environmental concerns, understanding both the impact of the carbon footprint of manufactured materials affecting our environment as well as the fact that materials we use in our homes can exacerbate ever increasing allergic reactions. Today there is a green choice fiber available in broadloom carpet goods that answers the needs of the modern home and homeowner that is unexcelled.  It is the benchmark by which all modern carpet fibers are measured. Completely natural and carbon neutral, it is composed entirely from the building blocks of life: amino acid chains.  Mankind has used it for hundreds of years. It is wool.

Wool fibers are not just prestigious, they are strong, resilient, comfortable, complex and versatile.  In fact, it has been called the most versatile fiber known to man. Consider how different the fiber can appear and feel in clothing, depending on how the yarn is spun and then woven.  Just as the pant of a woolen suit will hold its crease, the resilience of the fiber recovers completely from compression, whether from foot falls or from furniture placement. These qualities are made possible due to millions of naturally coiled molecules that have yet to be fully replicated by modern science.

Wool is the best choice for people suffering from asthma because the fibers are too long to be inhaled.  In addition, for those concerned about hygienic safety the fibers are non-allergenic, wool will not give off harmful emissions, and does not promote growth of dust mites and bacteria. Though great strides have been made with synthetic yarns over the past decades and fibers branded and trademarked promoting resistance to stains, wool has natural soil resistance.  Even soil releases more easily due to its scaly surface. Since soil is held near the surface it releases much more easily with light vacuuming than from petroleum based yarns. And the epicuticle, a natural protective membrane, allows spills to come up quickly and completely with immediate action. General air quality is also increased by wool, which has the unique ability to absorb and hold a range of common household air pollutants including nitrous oxide, Sulphur oxide and formaldehyde.

Wool also helps stabilize the humidity in the home. It has the ability to retain and release moisture during periods of high and low humidity, a perfect choice for homes on the coastal plain.  As an added benefit the structure of wool makes it one of the most efficient insulation products available; not only does it reduce energy costs in winter by limiting heat loss, during warm months it increases cooling efficiency by keeping ground heat at or below the foundation.

Wool is also the best choice for safety since, like no other carpet fiber, it is flame retardant.  It is self-extinguishing – when the source of flame is removed, it ceases to burn, leaving only an ash residue that can be brushed away – it will not melt.  In addition, the acoustic qualities will quiet rooms by preventing the noise generated at floor level without decreasing the quality of projected sounds like speech and music.  No other carpet fiber can make these claims.

Natural, durable, beautiful, practical, safe, and even earth friendly this natural fiber can be the most economical choice when considering long term investment in the home.