Fiber Types

Flooring is arguable one of the most important elements of a home.  Not only does it provide a vital function, it adds an important decorative element and can significantly contribute to a room’s overall atmosphere.  Your floor creates a canvas upon which all other home decor is showcased, and one goal is to provide you with a floor that achieves the lifestyle you want most.
 
We sometimes compare shopping for carpet similar to the way we shop for cars.  At each stage of life we have different needs for our cars whether it be the teen years or family years.  Each circumstance is different in household and carpet as well, requiring diverse needs of fiber, budgets, luxuries, and different construction types.  It’s the whole reason why we drive different cars at different stages.  All of this can get very overwhelming, but we want to make it as simple as possible, and help you get the the best carpet for your needs.  Feel free to contact us and talk with us at anytime.  Flooring is all we do and we are here to help.  Call, email or chat with us at any time.

We believe that flooring is the foundation for each room, and provides a sense of comfort and calm.  Your space reflects your unique inspirations, which affect our lives and all who share time with us.  We recognize a comfy sofa mixed with soft blankets, allow us to relax from the stress of our busy lives.  Our goal is to help you add to that positive impact by providing an array of products for you. 
 
If you’re ready to dig your toes info something cushy at home, we’ve got great news!  Carpeting is making a comeback.  And thanks to the latest manufacturing technologies it is softer and more durable than ever.

The type of flooring used in any room has a huge impact on the space, not just in terms of comfort but in the decorative style of the room.  Colors, patterns and the overall sense of ambiance, mood and style.  Decoratively speaking, there should be a mix of solids and patterns to coordinate with your flooring.  Scatter the thought and place them wherever focus is needed to create the perfect look and feel.  
 
While carpet in neutral tones is the enduring favorite, the new styles are available in a broad range of spectacular colors and eye popping patterns.

Buying new carpet can be overwhelming, simply so many choices and decisions to be made.  Here are a few do’s and don’t as you begin your journey of finding the perfect floor.

Do Your Research
Get a basic understanding of fibers, face weight, density, and stain protection methods, as this will give you an overall sense of factors, how it will perform, and why one product may cost more than the other. 

Pay Attention to a Few Facts

Face weight, even though not a final factor, does play a part in the over all product.  Carpet face weight refers to the weight of the fiber found in one square yard of carpet.  The face weight is measured in the ounces found in one square yard of carpet from the top of the backing up. The higher the face weight, the more carpet fiber is used to create the final carpet. The other factors to consider are density, fiber and construction.  

Density.  Again not the final factor as many equations go into the density, however just as with face weight, it is a good indicator of carpet quality.  Density of a carpet is one of the man factors that help determine a carpet’s quality and overall performance.  Despite a common misconception, carpet density and carpet face weigh are not interchangeable terms that mean the same thing, although face weight is one factor used to calculate density.  Face weight and density are two entirely different components when it come to evaluating the quality of carpet.  Density refers to how closely the carpet fibers are tufted into the backing. In other words, this is how many carpet fibers are placed into the backing.  The higher the density, the more fibers will be “stuffed" in your carpet, creating a longer life and greater comfort.
 
Calculate Carpet Density
1.  Carpet face weight multiplied by 36
2.  Divided by carpet pile height
3.  Equals density, measured in ounces per cubic yard
The number that results our the above density calculation will be a four-digit number.  
 
Judging Carpet Quality
Don’t use one factor alone as an indicator to carpet’s overall quality.  All factors work together to determine how the carpet will look and perform.  Each of these factors must all be taken into consideration the making a decision on the appropriate carpet for your home.
 
For optimal performance in normal household conditions, a density value of 2900 or higher is ideal.  Extra heavy traffic conditions such as commercial usage, closer to 5000 would be recommended.

Know Your Fibers

Not all carpet fibers are created equal, but each fiber has a positive impact in it’s own way.  One fiber is not always better than another.  Each fiber type has its own strengths, but the construction of the carpet has an equally big impact on how the carpet will perform.  Carpet is a big investment so make sure you are buying a product that is best for your particular situation.  Every fiber available has an important role to play, depending on the circumstance use.  This can be budget, foot traffic, how often you change your carpet, etc.  

Choosing a Synthetic Fiber
Whichever type of fiber you choose, be sure you can live with the trade off advantages and disadvantages.  No fiber is completely perfect, but with proper selection you will choose the carpet that best suits your individual need.
 
Nylon & Polyester.  Triexta & Smartstrand.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  Know what you're buying!

Nylon 
One of the most well-known synthetic fibers.  It has been considered the ultimate carpet fiber.  In general, nylon a strong fiber with high resiliency.  Nylon does have some disadvantages:  it is more expensive than other synthetics, and contains less natural stain resistance, although it is generally treated with a stain protection.
 
History of Nylon
Invented in 1935 by Wallace Hume Carothers,  the head of research at Dupont.  The first commercial use was in women’s stockings in 1938, but was also being sued in fishing line and toothbrush bristles.
 
In the mid-1950’s DuPont began producing nylon for carpets, in the form of a staple fiber, after a successful six-year trial in the Hotel du Pont.  After several years, in 1959, DuPont introduced the BCF (bulked continuous filament) nylon.  This revolutionized the carpet industry as the first truly synthetic fiber and quickly became the new benchmark in carpeting.
 
Nylon features many characteristics that make it an ideal choice for carpet use.  Number one is durability.  Nylon is very strong and stands up very well to abrasion.  It is also highly resilient and has very good texture retention.  The resiliency is due in large part to the hydrogen molecule that constitutes part of its structure.  This molecule can be revived by the hot water extraction cleaning method.  It is very important that nylon carpet be steam cleaned every 12 to 18 months at minimum, to ensure longevity.
 
After years of testing the two types of nylons 6 vs 6,6 it has determined that there is no overall difference in durability or residency between the two.  While nylon 6,6 does have a higher melting point, it is of little consequence to the performance of the carpet.  Also, the nylon 6 is more easily recyclable back into carpet (known as cradle to cradle recycling) than the 6,6.
 
Manufacturing with Nylon
Carpet manufacturers either produce nylon in house or purchase the fiber from an outside source and turn that fiber into carpet.  There are many companies that produce nylon to sell to carpet manufacturers. 
 
Nylon is the most popular fiber for residential carpet in today’s industry.  It has a solid reputation for being durable and relatively easy to maintain. As long as you’ve chosen a product with high density and a good face weight, you can’t go wrong with a nylon fiber carpet.  

Polyester 
A very versatile fiber that has been used for long time in carpeting floors.  Historically viewed as a lower quality fiber versus nylon.  However, there have been many technological advancements in polyester production, and as a result, is more durable than ever.  A big advantage of polyester is its built in stain resistance. Another bonus is the polyester carpets of today are made of recycled materials, making them more environmentally friendly than their nylon counterparts.  So in conclusion, some advantages to the polyester is less cost, more stain resistant, and environmentally friendly.  

History of Polyester
The invention of polyester is not attributed to one single person, but rather was a collaborative effort.  First researched by DuPont, but was set aside to devote efforts to develop the other synthetic:  nylon.  More than a decade later British chemists patented polyethylene terephthalate (PET), known today as polyester.
 
PET Polyester
Well-known for its environmental features, it is often made from recycled materials, and by nature has a high lustre appearance, which translates into carpets of beautiful colors.  Many times a nylon carpet can have a much more dull or matte finish, compared to a polyester’s vibrant coloration.
 
One weakness of polyester is that it is not a durable as nylon.  Today due to many technological advancements, the gap between polyester and nylon has been drastically reduced.  Manufacturers have been working to improve the performance of polyesters, and now polyester is stronger and more durable than ever before.  Manufacturers are confident int he longevity of the new polyester, demonstrated by  the loner warranties the higher-end polyesters now carry.  
 
Whether its durability can match that of nylon, only time will tell.  With the new generation of polyesters, from PET, PPT, SmartStrand, and Triexta, it offers great budget options at every price point.
 
One of the biggest advantages of polyester based fibers are they are amazingly stain-resistance and easy to clean .  The stain protection is built into the fiber instead of being applied, so it will never wear off.  Polyesters are also fade resistant, so great for installing in areas with direct exposure to sunlight. It also requires less energy to produce than its nylon counterpart, so cost factor is definitely a viable positive for this fiber.

Triexta 
One of the newest fibers currently.  Triexta essentially comes from he same “root” as polyester, with a few differences, and some people refer to a polyester and triexta as cousins.  Many triexta carpets are made using biotechnology that utilized corn glucose in the manufacturing process, making the carpets eco-friendly as well. 
 
Triexta and SmartStrand
No doubt, one of the more popular residential fibers, due to the low cost of production, it comes at a very reasonable price for the entry-level products, and tops out with the higher-end silk styles. 
 
SmartStrand is made by DuPont Sorona fiber.  In 2009 PTT (polytrimethylene terephthalate) was recognized by the FTC as a separate subclass fiber, known as triexta. 
 
One of the advantages is that it is eco-friendly.  It is often called the “corn carpet” as 37 percent is made from corn glucose which replaces the typical petroleum ingredients.  It also requires less energy to produce than its nylon counterpart, which is true of any polyester carpet.  Also fade resistant, so great for installing in areas with direct exposure to sunlight. It also requires less energy to produce than its nylon counterpart, so cost factor is definitely a viable positive for this fiber.
 
While only time will tell for certain if polyesters and triextas will replace nylon brands as the industry standard, they have no doubt made a great stand in the last few years.
 
Stain Resistance
When it comes to stain resistance, polyester comes out ahead of nylon.  Polyester is a hydrophobic fiber, which means that the fiber itself repels liquid.  By contrast, nylon is very absorbent, so it soaks in liquid and therefore spills.
 
All residential carpets on the market today feature some stain protection.  Both polyester and nylon carpets are treated to help prevent spills from setting in and staining the fibers.  Even though nylon on it’s own is less-stain-resistant than polyester, nylon carpet that has been treated can be stain-resistant.
 
Some nylon is solution-dyed, which means that the color goes completely through the fiber instead of being just on the surface.  Solution dyeing dramatically increases the stain resistance,and fade resistance of nylon.  
 
Cost Factor
Another determining factor in selecting a carpet is the cost.  Overall, nylon is the most expensive synthetic fiber to produce, and so a nylon carpet usually costs quite a bit more than a comparable polyester carpet.  On the other hand, polyester carries a lower cost of raw materials and production, making it a great option for budge-driven renovations and offers good value for the money.  Again, this is comparing two carpets of equivalent quality, ounce weight and density.
 
Warranties
Warranties vary depending on the quality of carpet and the manufacturer.  But overall, polyesters, SmartStrand, and Triexta warranties are generally longer and more comprehensive than nylon warranties on an equivalent quality.  An entry-level polyester many times offer a texture retention for 15-20 years, whereas many time a nylon carpet of equal value will usually carry a texture warranty of about 10 years.  This is just an overall generic average, and should be considered on each individual carpet.  For dollars spent polyesters typically offer increased warranties over nylon.
 
Nylon vs Polyester?
As you can see, neither fiber comes out as the clear winner.  Each has its benefits as well as its drawbacks.  If you are looking for a carpet that will perform well in heavy traffic conditions over the next 15 years, nylon is likely your best option.  If budget is your biggest concern, and you find yourself changing carpet every 7-10 years, due to decor changes, then a polyester may be a good option.
 
One of the most important rules in carpeting is that the quality of a carpet cannot be determined by one factor alone; rather it is a combination of many factors that predicts the overall performance of the carpet.  As such, it is not a hard rule that any polyester carpet will be inferior to any nylon carpet.  A poly esters with a high twist and nest will outperform a nylon with a lower twist and lower density.  There are many different qualities available, so be sure to examine all of the components of the carpet before making your final selection.
 
It’s important to note that both nylon and polyester carpets are available in a wide range of qualities, and so a high-grade polyester carpet may outperform a low-grade nylon carpet.  As always, when comparing two different carpets, be sure that they are of equivalent quality.
 
Also both nylon and polyester carpets have many styles available in soft fibers, without a noticeable difference in the feel from one fiber type to the other.
 
With the right information, you can consider your carpet needs and determine which fiber type is best for you and your home.
 
More Details.

Olephin 
This fiber is commonly found in looped styles.  It has an appearance of wool. Olefin is considered a less durable fiber than most other synthetics, and as such is usually limited to products of low to moderate traffic areas, where residency isn’t as crucial. However, olefin is extremely stain resistant and so well suited to areas prone to spills.  It is also very fade resistant and one of the least expensive fibers.  
 
Nylon: Is one of the most popular fibers. Wear-resistant, resilient, withstands the weight and movement of furniture, and provides brilliant color. It has the ability to conceal and resist soils and stains. Generally good for all traffic areas. Solution-dyed nylon is colorfast and stain resistant because color is added into the fiber when the yarn is in a melted solution.

Polyester: Noted for luxurious, soft hand when used in thick, cut-pile textures. Has excellent color clarity and retention. Easily cleaned and resistant to water-soluble stains. Solution-dyed polyester is colorfast and stain resistant because color is added into the fiber when the yarn is in a melted solution.

Eco-Friendly Nylon: Is a recycled or recyclable version of a very durable and popular carpet fiber. Wear-resistant, resilient, withstands the weight and movement of furniture, and provides brilliant color. It has the ability to conceal and resist soils and stains. Generally good for all traffic areas.

Eco-Friendly P.E.T. Polyester: Is a yarn created from reclaimed polyester resins of two-liter soda bottles and ketchup containers. Commonly known as Pop Bottle Carpet, recycled PET (polyethyleneterephthalate) polyester carpet is uniquely strong and durable. The making of P.E.T.carpets starts out by sorting the P.E.T. bottles and then grinding them into small chips. The cleaned chips are then melted down and extruded into fiber before being spun into carpet yarn. Labels and caps from the P.E.T. holders are used to make the core, the roll that carpet is wrapped around. Since 1999 over 17 billion plastic bottles have been recycled, and that's saved one billion pounds of waste. The quality of our polyester resins remains unchanged through out there cycling process. Indeed, recycled PET has a higher melting point and higher density than nylon, which gives the carpet many superior characteristics. In general,our carpets tend to be heavier, thicker and more luxurious than conventional nylon carpets. Moreover, recycled polyester carpets consistently demonstrate superior stain resistance over nylon construction. Noted for luxurious, soft hand when used in thick, cut-pile textures. Has excellent color clarity and retention. Easily cleaned and resistant to water-soluble stains.

Blends: A blend can be any combination of any 2 fibers listed above. Berber or loop type carpets will blend nylon and olefin to give color contrast which gives you a unique look or pattern. Acrylic/olefin and nylon/polyester are other popular blends, offering good characteristics of each fiber.

Polypropylene (olefin): Strong, resists wear and permanent stains, and is easily cleaned. Notably colorfast because color is added during fiber production. Resists static electricity and is often used in both indoor and outdoor installations because of its resistance to moisture and mildew. Used in synthetic turf for sports surfaces, and in the home for patios and game rooms. Many Berbers and commercial loops are made of olefin.

Acrylic: Offers the appearance and feel of wool without the cost. Has low static level and is moisture and mildew-resistant. Commonly used in velvet and level-loop constructions, and often in bath and scatter rugs.

Wool: Noted for its luxury and performance, wool is soft, has high bulk, and is available in many colors. Generally, wool is somewhat more expensive than synthetic fibers.
 
Please Note:  All information provided is our opinion, and based on research we have done.   As always we suggest you do your own research, as flooring, fibers and technology are continuously being updated and changed.