Magazine March 2010

All the latest news from the world of textiles

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Textile floor coverings in detail

Floor coverings should be long-lasting, hard-wearing, easy to clean and – especially in wet areas – non-slip. The choice of material here is adapted to the specific requirements of the intended area of application. This guarantees the longest possible use.

The diversity of floor coverings

For interior construction, floor coverings of differing materials, qualities and characteristics are available. The spectrum ranges from floors made of wood with sealed or unsealed surfaces to laminate, synthetic, linoleum and cork flooring, and from tiled and stone floors to textile floor coverings that are either glued, loose or tensioned. Essentially, floor coverings can be differentiated as follows:

  • Non-textile floor coverings

    Elastic coverings

    • Homogenous plastic flooring (PVC, polyolefin coverings)
    • Multilayered plastic flooring (PVC, CV coverings)
    • Rubber flooring
    • Linoleum
    • Cork flooring
    • Balatum

    Hard coverings

    • Laminate flooring
    • Ready-to-lay parquet
    • Parquet
    • Floorboards
    • Wood paving

    Mineral coverings

    • Natural stone
    • Stone carpet
    • Terrazzo ceramic tiles
    • Stone pavement
    • Mastic asphalt

  • Textile floor coverings

    • Woven carpeting
    • Tufted carpeting
    • Knitted carpeting
    • Bonded carpeting
    • Nonwoven carpeting

Groz-Beckert - Your partner for textile floor coverings

For the production of textile floor coverings, Groz-Beckert offers an extensive product assortment ranging from healds, heald frames, double knives and tufting systems to knitting, felting and fork needles - to name but a few.

Textile floor coverings - more complex than they appear

Since floor coverings are laid across large areas of interiors, they can be a serious source of contamination in buildings. Alongside functional and decorative aspects, environmental and health concerns are becoming increasingly important. Textile floor coverings, also referred to as carpet flooring, are non-slip and sound-insulating, and are manufactured for varying degrees of wear. As a rule they consist of several layers and can be laid loose, glued or tensioned.

Carpet flooring consists of a pile layer and a backing layer. For the pile either artificial fibres are used - such as polyamide or polyester - or natural fibres such as wool, jute, coconut matting or sisal. The most common artificial fibre is polyamide, because it is highly non-wearing and has good repeatability. The pile layer can be coloured, patterned, textured with a relief, or designed as a pile or flat carpet.

The backing layer is usually made from polypropylene. The back can also be given a foamed layer of PVC or synthetic latex, and a finish or a lining with fabric or foil.

Especially hard-wearing carpet floorings include nonwovens, also known as needle felt. This is a single or multiple-layer floor covering consisting of a mechanically and chemically or heat-treated fibrous nonwoven. In the multilayered versions, only the pile layer contains high-quality fibre material. These floorings are usually available in single colours or mottled.

If refined, a carpeted flooring gains additional characteristics such as stain-resistance, moth protection (if natural fibres are used), and antistatic or flame-resistant properties.

Textile floor coverings - Environment-friendly products

In order to prevent health problems, manufacturers of floor coverings have now switched to having their products certified with regard to health aspects as well. A series of different seals of approval now exist with various requirements, taking into account diverse contaminants, emissions and sometimes odours as well. For carpet floorings, for instance, there is the Carpet Seal of the European Carpet Association e.V, or the "GuT" Seal of the Environmentally-Friendly Carpeting Association e.V.

The only environmental seals to take sustainability criteria into account alongside the health aspects are the "Blauer Engel" ("Blue Angel", for wooden, elastic and textile floor coverings), "EU Flower" (for mineral floorings) and "natureplus" (for wooden and linoleum floor coverings). The "Blue Angel" is the oldest official environmental seal in Germany. It is awarded by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Reactor Safety. The label encourages people to develop products that are health-friendlier and more environmentally compatible.

Many manufacturers of elastic and textile floor coverings have products that reflect the environmental-technological state of the art. They are certified to ISO 9001 (quality management) and ISO 14001 (environmental management), and are distinctive for environmentally gentle processes with regard to efficient use of energy and raw materials and a reduction in environmentally harmful risks.

Into the future with design and technology

In the years leading up to the new millennium, textile floor coverings underwent a gradual decline in popularity, not only in Germany but in Europe as a whole. There were several reasons for this: the development was mainly due to fashion trends and also a certain amount of negative publicity. Terms such as dust collector, allergies, house mites and so forth spring to mind here. Today, however, textile floor coverings have virtually no more image problems - and any that might still exist are unjustified.

Finesse with regard to fibre and production technology, strict quality control and customer-and fashion-oriented marketing are all contributing to the current boom in textile floor coverings. This renaissance is due not least to the unique design variety offered by these coverings. A further reason is the competitive price-performance ratio in comparison with other materials.