Know Which Carpet Fiber is Best for Your Home
The four basic fibers used in carpets today all have their individual strengths. Even more importantly, they all make excellent carpets. Your ultimate choice will be determined by the characteristics that are most important to you.
Although some carpets are made of blends, most are made entirely of one of the following four fibers:
Nylon Carpet Fibers
Nylon has been the most commonly used carpet fiber since the early 1960’s. In overall performance characteristics, nylon is the most versatile of all fibers, providing excellent flexibility in creating a variety of carpet styles. Nylon can be found in a wide range of both cut pile and loop pile styles. It is durable, resilient, and receptive to dyeing for color versatility and uniformity; many new nylon yarn systems are also exceptionally soft. Though not inherently stain resistant, most nylon carpets feature a stain-resist carpet treatment for protection against household spills and stains.
Anso nylon, the premium branded nylon from Shaw Fibers, has received the coveted Cradle to Cradle Silver Certification from McDonough Braungart design Chemistry (MBDC). MBDC is a third-party product and design firm founded by William McDonough and chemist Dr. Michael Braungart.
MBDC’s Cradle to Cradle certification process also looks at a number of factors that contribute to a suitability, such as the use of environmentally safe and healthy materials, design for recycling, water and energy effiency, and social responsibility.
Polyester (PET) Carpet Fibers
Polyester offers exceptional softness and color clarity, and it is also naturally stain and fade resistant. While polyester is not as inherently resilient as nylon, carpets made of polyester fiber will perform well if appropriately constructed. Thanks to technological advances in yarn processing and improved carpet construction techniques, polyester’s purported weakness as a high-performance fiber has been largely overcome. When properly twisted and tufted, today’s polyester yarns perform much better than in years past.
Polyester styles are good choices for low – to medium – traffic settings such as bedrooms. Polyester carpet styles typically represent good value.
PTT (Triexta Polyester) Carpet Fibers
PTT (Polytrimethylene Terephthalate – Triexta) is a polyester fiber, first patented in 1941, but it was not until the 1990’s, when Shell Chemicals developed a low-cost method of producing high-quality 1,3-propanediol (PDO), the starting raw material for PTT, that commercial production of the company’s Corterra polymers was possible. Shaw introduced the first BCF PTT (Corterra) residential carpet in the United States in 2001.However, due to technical issues, PTT cannot be treated with a stain and soil resistance system, and the yarn’s lack of repellency can make cleanup of spills difficult. Many oil-based stains are extremely difficult to remove.
Polypropylene (olefin) Carpet Fibers
Unlike other fiber types, polypropylene will not absorb water and must therefore be solution dyed (pigmented) to impart color. Solution dyeing is a pigmentation process in which color is actually built into the fiber when it is formed, or extruded, thereby becoming an inherent part that cannot be removed from the fiber. The color will not fade, even when exposed to intense sunlight, bleaches, atmospheric contaminants, or other harsh chemicals or elements. However, since it is not as resilient as other fibers, polypropylene is normally used in loop pile constructions in which there is less need for superior resiliency.