Carpet | What It’s Made of

Knowing how carpet is made can be very advantageous. Knowing the different materials that make up various carpets also helps you understand and evaluate their performance aspects; why certain carpets are easier to install, why some wear better, longer, and why others are easier to care for and clean. It can also make you a smarter shopper.

When shopping for carpet, there are a few things to remember:

  • thicker is not always better
  • tight twist in each yarn is better than loose and frayed
  • firm and dense pile means quality
  • the more backing seen, the less dense and durable the carpet is
  • high traffic areas need lower profile carpet to avoid matting and crushing

Carpet Fiber

Carpet fibers are the material that makes a carpet or area rug.  90% of carpets are made from synthetic fibers.  The remainder are made from natural materials, mostly from wool.

Synthetic fiber carpets are made mainly from one of three materials: nylon, polypropylene or polyester.


  • 75% of synthetic fiber carpets are made of nylon
  • nylon performs the best over all of the synthetic materials
  • nylon is a leader in: appearance retention, fade and heat resistance, soil and stain resistance, color and styling
  • the highest performance nylon is Type 6.6, which is more resistant to stain penetration


  • polypropylene was introduced in the late 1950’s in Italy
  • this material is not as resilient or resistant to abrasion as nylon
  • polypropylene is naturally stain and fade resistant
  • polypropylene is naturally resistant to moisture
  • this material has a more limited range of color options
  • polypropylene is most often used in loop pile constructions


  • polyester was introduced to the carpet industry in the mid 1960’s
  • this material was well accepted for bulkiness, color clarity, and good stain and fade resistance
  • polyester is not as resilient as nylon
  • can be a good performer if maintained properly


  • plastic is used to manufacture the PET carpet fiber
  • plastic is collected, separated by color, and then ground and melted
  • carpets made by Mohawk of PET staple fiber are made from 100% recycled material
  • PET carpet fiber has great color clarity, stain resistance, and durability
  • PET material helps keep over 3 billion bottles out of landfills


  • SmartStrand is made with DuPont Sonora polymer
  • Both DuPont and Mohawk make this fiber into carpet
  • SmartStrand with DuPont Sorona is a continuous filament fiber
  • the material construction process eliminates shedding
  • SmartStrand is highly stain resistant and durable
  • 40% of SmartStrand fibers are made from corn by-products


  • Wool is the main type of fiber used in staple fiber carpet construction.
  • The wool used in today’s carpet comes primarily from New Zealand, Argentina, and the United Kingdom.
  • Since wool is a natural fiber, it ranges in color from off-white to black, with many earthen tones in between.
  • Wool doesn’t stand up to abrasion and moisture as well as synthetics, it cleans well and is known to age gracefully.
  • Wool is the most expensive carpet fiber, and represents less than one percent of the U.S. carpet market.


  • Berber is considered a type of carpet construction
  • the name comes from the name of a group of North African sheepherders called the Berbers
  • Berbers produced coarse wool, with color flecks in their yarns

Now that you know a little more about what carpet is made from, you have the opportunity to choose the carpet construction that is right for your home.


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