Selecting the Right Carpet Fiber

To ensure your carpet performs to your standards, you need to select a carpet fiber that fits your needs. Carpet fibers are made from either natural materials, such as wool, or synthetic materials, like nylon, olefin, acrylic, and polyester. These single fibers are spun together into a yarn, which is then attached to a woven backing to create a carpet. Each type of fiber brings a unique set of attributes regarding durability, appearance, ease of cleaning, as well as stain, soil, and fade resistance.

Wool: This natural, luxurious fiber feels good against bare feet and is highly durable. The tightly packed fibers resist dirt but will fade in direct sunlight. Low grade wool is more susceptible to staining, while high grade wool is extremely expensive since it is the only natural fiber used in carpet production.

Nylon: This is the most popular fiber type and is present in roughly 60% of all carpets sold in the United States. Nylon is a soft, highly durable fiber, resistant to wear, tear, stains, and mildew, making it an excellent choice for heavy-traffic areas. It’s also easy to clean and maintain. Dye is added to the fibers during manufacturing and the color will fade if left in direct sunlight for extended periods of time. Some nylon may also pill and be prone to static.

Olefin (polypropylene): Not as resilient as nylon, but less likely to fade, this strong fiber is resistant to wear, tear, mold, and mildew, making it an ideal fiber for outdoor carpeting. Regardless of its wool-like feel and appearance, this is not a comfortable carpet for bare feet and its seams may be more visible than with other fibers. Olefin is dyed before it’s made into a fiber and can fade in direct sunlight.

Acrylic: The closest to wool of any of the synthetics, acrylic is generally manufactured for commercial use. Acrylic provides the look and feel of wool based carpets, without the expense. It is mold, mildew, static, soil, and moth resistant as well as easy to clean. Acrylic is less likely to fade in direct sunlight than nylon or polyester.

Polyester: Stain resistant, but not as durable as nylon, polyester is increasing in popularity due to its cost effectiveness. Polyester sheds moisture, resists moths and mildew, cleans easily, and is non-allergenic. In many cases the fiber is crafted from recycled plastic bottles making this fiber, and thus your carpet selection, eco-friendly. Polyester fibers are more susceptible to flattening, pilling and shedding. They are also more likely to show damage and fade, making it unsuitable for highly trafficked areas. However, polyester fibers hold colors well and do not fade much over time.

At Flacks we are trained to help our clients determine the most appropriate fiber and carpet construction for their needs. We know that shopping for new carpet can be overwhelming with the myriad factors to consider. Let us show you our expertise and customer service while we suggest some options for your business or residence.