All About Carpet Fibers
Not all carpets fibers have the same characteristics or perform the same. Nylon is definitely the most common synthetic carpet fiber and most durable. Besides nylon, olefin, polyester and wool carpet fibers are also commonly offered in carpeting. On the back of all of our carpet samples there is detailed information about the fiber and and features of the carpet. Again, our sales staff would be happy to answer any of your carpet questions or concerns.
Carpet fibers, or filaments, used in carpet yarn construction are either a staple fiber or a bulk continuous filament, called BCF for short. Staple carpet fibers are short filament strands that are all twisted together to form a carpet yarn. Wool is a great example of a staple fiber. Staple fibers have a tendency to cause carpet to initially pill or fuzz when first vacuumed. BCF carpet fibers are extruded as long continuous strands before being twisted together to form the carpet yarn. BCF carpets costs slightly more but resist pilling much better than staple products.
Branded Carpet Fiber versus Unbranded
Over the years fiber manufacturers have developed various name brands for their top of line, premium nylon carpet fibers, such as Invista’s STAINMASTER®, Mohawk’s Wear Dated® (originally made by Solutia), Mohawk’s SmartStrand®, DuPont Sorona®, and Shaw’s Anso® nylon. The premium branded nylon carpet fibers offer better performance characteristics, more stain, static and crush resistance and much better warranties. They also cost more than unbranded nylons do. Although selecting the right carpet fiber is very important the construction of the carpeting is still more important as far as durability and life of the carpet. To get the premium branded fiber label on the back of a carpet sample manufacturers must meet certain carpet construction requirements set by the fiber manufacturer. This is to ensure carpets made with their fiber brands meet consumer's high expectation and help protect the brand's reputation.
Nylon Carpet Fibers
Nylon was first used in carpet in 1959 and has become the most commonly used carpet fiber to date. Nylon fibers are readily available, strong and hold dyes well. Nylon is also very resilient and has a high abrasion resistance, making it a great choice for residential carpeting. The high performance characteristics combined with warmth, softness to touch, and endless use in various types of carpets has made it the most popular carpet fiber among homeowners.
PTT (Triexta Polyester) Carpet Fibers
Triexta, made from DuPont's latest polymer innovation (a PTT - Polytrimethylene Terephthalate) and is being used throughout the apparel, upholstery and carpet industries. Triexta provide a unique combination of superior performance, softness, and stain resistance compared to other available synthetic fibers and tests have shown triexta outperforms many of the other polyester carpet fibers. Two of the most popular triexta fiber brands today are DuPont’s Sorona® and Mohawk SmartStrand® with DuPont Sorona. Both are made with 37% in part from renewably sourced ingredients making less impact on the environment and still providing exceptional durabilty and built-in permanent stain and fade protection.
Polyester is a durable fiber with a softness, great color clarity and colorfastness, but is less crush resistant than nylon. Polyester carpeting costs less than a comparable nylon or even a wool carpet. Today, carpet manufacturers, like Mohawk, are recycling plastic bottles into polyester carpet fibers, called P.E.T.
Polypropylene (olefin) Carpet Fibers
Olefin is inherently fade, static and stain resistant because the dyes have to be added at the before the liquid is extruded into solid filaments, which is referred to as "solution dyed". Olefin is not as crush resistant as nylons and is used in loop pile constructions where it can still offer good performance. Olefin carpets have a lower melting point which can cause marks in the carpet if heavy objects are dragged across the surface of the carpeting.
Wool is a natural fiber and more expensive than the common synthetic carpet fibers. It has been used in flooring for centuries and offers a warmth and luxurious hand the synthetics try to imitate. Most of the wool used in carpet construction today comes from the British or New Zealand wools, which are known for producing long, durable wool hair fibers.
Carpet manufacturers and carpet retailers are working together to keep old, used carpeting out of the landfills and made into new carpets again. Also, plastic beverage bottles are also being recycled into new, luxurious carpets for home use. These state-of-the-art recycle facilities are capable of producing premium carpets without the loss of durability or softness to hand and yet helping reduce thousands of pounds of synthetic materials going to landfills.