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Carpet Fibers

November 1st, 2007 · 1 Comment

Selecting The Right Carpet Fiber For You

In this section we will be discussing carpet fibers, the most important aspect in selecting the right carpet for the home, office or rental. To make it easy on you, I will give you a two word crash course on carpet fibers; Buy Nylon! Nylon is by far the best wearing fiber available. You may choose another fiber for various good reasons, but all in all nylon is the best choice.


Nylon is a synthetic fiber and outperforms all other fibers. It wears well, resists abrasion and is easy to clean. It comes in all styles and colors. What more can you ask for? This is the best wearing, most durable fiber available. Insist on nylon to reap these benefits: Inexpensive, Lasts the longest, Easy to clean.

OLEFIN (Polypropylene)

Olefin is a strong good-looking synthetic fiber that is inexpensive to manufacture. Some carpets that are made of olefin are Berbers or commercial carpets with small loops. Olefin wears well and has good stain resistance when anti-stain treatment is applied. Olefin has good anti-static properties. However, Olefin is hard to clean. It has poor resiliency and tends to look dingy when soiled. It is also called polypropylene or polyolefin. Outdoor grass styles are made from Olefin. This is not the best selection for rental units in most cases, however some have had great success using a commercial level loop carpet in apartments. Glued directly to the floor, it is not as soft under-foot, but it will last significantly longer than if used with a pad placed under it. Wheelchairs roll easily over glued down commercial level loop carpets and are a good choice for handicapped units and perhaps retirement home applications.

POLYESTER (also called P.E.T.)

(May be manufactured from recycled soda pop containers)

Don’t be fooled by the softness of this fiber. This is a very soft synthetic fiber that holds its color well; however it is difficult to keep clean and has very poor resiliency. Traffic areas will usually mat down quickly and soon afterwards may never return to its original appearance. When new, polyester looks great and feels so soft and wonderful, but it won?t be too long before it doesn’t.

Sales people often recommend this type of carpet to consumers without sufficient fiber knowledge or experience. Because polyester is so inexpensive to manufacture and higher profits using this fiber, carpet manufacturers continually try to enhance carpets made with polyester hoping that they can create a carpet that wears well. So far they have had limited success.

Because prices are lower for polyester carpets you may be tempted to buy a carpet made from polyester, just be sure that your expectations are not very high. Generally, I do not recommend buying carpets made from polyester fibers to those who need a carpet that wears well and resists matting and crushing.


Wool is very expensive and is considered an elite fiber. Open your checkbook, sign your name and leave the amount blank. Wool make a great carpet but is costly to buy, install, and maintain. Not every installer is qualified to install a wool carpet. You must call a wool carpet cleaning specialist when cleaning is necessary. It all adds up to a whole lot of money. But all in all, if you can afford wool then go for it.

As a natural animal fiber, it was not designed to tolerate much abrasion. It is difficult to keep clean, but has wonderful resiliency and it resists burning. Although still very costly, some carpets are made with an 80% wool / 20% nylon blend. I do not recommend wool carpet for rental applications.

©2002-2005 By Alan J. Fletcher- National Consumer Carpet-Buying Advocate

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