Ken's Quick Answer:
"There are many benefits to wool carpets, including that they are durable, a fire retardant, and environmentally friendly. You should avoid them, however, if you are especially concerned about stains."
Ken's In-Depth Answer:
"At the risk of fueling controversy, I just want to say: 'Baby, it's cold outside.' That means that wool carpet should be on everybody's mind. I want to tell you some facts about wool. Some of the facts are reasons that you should choose wool for your home, but there will also be a reason or two that you should avoid wool.
Wool is an extremely durable fiber. The curly hair of a sheep has a spring-like bounce back quality that resists matting and crushing from traffic. In addition, it retains its appearance for a long time. I've been in many houses where I look at staircases that have 30-year-old wool carpet. It's still perfect. I've argued with prospective clients to simply keep the carpet on the stairs! A lot of the time they don't listen. But if you're looking for a carpet that's going to keep its appearance for a long time, I'm telling you, wool is the product.
If you're concerned about the environment, it's a carbon-efficient fiber. First, it reduces the need for you to overheat your house in the winter. Second, because it's not made of petroleum, like other synthetic carpets, it doesn't add to the demand for petroleum-based products. In addition, it does not off-gas in the same way that other home furnishings do, because it's a natural fiber.
It's also a good choice for allergies. A lot of people think that carpet aggravates allergies, but for most people, carpets trap particulates in the air and keep them from flying around and being inhaled. You don't get the same effect from hardwood floors.
A couple of other things you may not know about wool: It keeps you warm in the winter, but because of the fiber structure in the weave, it's also cool in the summer. And, it is the only carpet that is fire retardant.
There are so many benefits about the traditional look and feel of wool carpet. But there are times when you might not want a wool carpet. If you're really concerned with stains or messy children, synthetic carpets with stain-protection systems are a better choice because they are engineered to repel hard stains.
If you're not worried about messes, think about wool. It's been around for the longest time, and it's provided people with a beautiful appearance and tremendous comfort for centuries.