Finding a carpet that is appropriate for your particular needs can be a daunting task. There are three types of fibers that are used most frequently in wall to wall carpeting. In this post we will cover the different characteristics of each material. There is no “perfect material” for a carpet, every type of fiber will have pros and cons associated with it. Finding the right fiber for YOUR particular use will ensure you get the most out of your new flooring surface and enjoy it for years to come.
When selecting a new carpet, one of the most important things to consider is the color! While off white and white carpets are definitely beautiful, it is important to realize that a white carpet will be MUCH less forgiving than, for instance, a brown or blue carpet. Sometimes when substances such as coffee or pet stains remain on a carpet for too long, they can cause a slight discoloration or “stain” even after cleaning. On a darker carpet, it’s own rich dyes will hide slight color variances. Carpets that are a shade of brown do the best job of hiding soiling. If heavily soiled traffic lanes are allowed to form on a white carpet, the resulting “traffic gray” (The graying of a carpet due to abrasion to the fibers) will be much more apparent than on a darker carpet.
Some questions to ask yourself when considering the color for your carpet might be:
Do I have pets?
Do I have young/messy children?
Do I wear shoes in the house?
How much maintenance (regular professional cleaning, vacuuming) am I willing to perform on my new carpet?
Do I often spill things on my carpet?
What do I typically spill?
Nylon is the most popular face yarn for a carpet. It is resilient and easy to clean. Nylon carpets are an excellent choice for a residential application. Nylon is dyed AFTER the fibers are constructed, giving it slightly less stability in the dye structure than polypropylene. That being said, cleaning technicians can still “throw the kitchen sink” at your nylon carpet, making it easy to maintain. Nylon carpets have an excellent “hand” (or feel). Nylon is fairly absorbent and is not considered ideal for areas such as pool decks and bathrooms. Nylon can be susceptible to acid based dyes such as tomato juice and koolaid.
Olefin is often used in commercial applications. It stands up well to high traffic. Olefin will float on water because it will not absorb water readily. This makes it excellent for use around pools or other areas where water is present. Olefin has a very low melting point and care must be taken when moving furniture to avoid friction burns. Olefin will
crush down and will not bounce back over time. Olefin has a harder “hand” than Nylon. Olefin is solution dyed, meaning that when the fibers are made, they are already dyed all the way through. (Think of your TV casing at home, the plastic is not painted, but colored all the way through. The dyes are in the material itself rather than sitting on top.) This
means that olefin is very stain resistant. However, Olefin LOVES to bond with oils. Oil based spots will often permanently discolor an olefin carpet. It is not considered suitable for areas near greases such as kitchens and the entry off the garage.
Wool has good resiliency and is good at hiding soil. Wool is a natural fiber and can be easily damaged if cleaned with the wrong cleaning method. Wool carpeting has the least stable dyes of the three carpets and they can easily be pulled from the carpet with incorrect cleaning. It is important to remember that your cleaning technician will not be able to
“bring out the big guns” when cleaning your wool carpet, and will be restricted to a very gentle cleaning. Aggressive solution use on a wool carpet will damage it. Protein stains such as blood or egg will be difficult to remove from a wool carpet, because wool itself is a protein. If a protein spotter is applied to a wool carpet it will attempt to break down
your carpet along with the stain!! Wool is naturally fire resistant. As wool has a distinct odor when wet, it is not considered ideal for applications around water.