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 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.