Carpet Features & Benefits
If you haven’t shopped for carpet in a while, you may be pleasantly surprised. Carpet styling and performance has seen many advances in recent years. Today’s carpet manufacturers are using technology to combine texture, color and pattern to create exciting new looks. You will also see softer fibers, better stain resistance and advanced construction techniques that deliver great feel under foot while maintaining extreme durability.
Carpet is made up primarily of fiber or “yarn.” Below, we’ve outlined the choices you’ll have in carpet fibers. Keep in mind that all carpet styles may not be available in all fibers.
- Most popular type of fiber, nylon holds up better against matting and crushing
- Highly stain and soil resistant, among the easiest to clean
- Constructed in two ways, staple nylon and Bulk Continuous Filament (BCF) nylon
- Staple nylon has a lush, natural and soft appearance. “Shedding” in the first six months after installation is normal with staple fiber
- BCF does not shed and tends to be slightly more durable
- Both staple and BCF are offered in a wide range of colors
- Most expensive carpet fiber
- Very durable
- Provides a warm, rich, and natural look
- Resists flame, soil, and crushing
- Easier to stain than nylon
Polypropylene (Also referred to as Olefin):
- Most commonly used in Berber carpeting
- Stain, moisture, and fade resistant to most stains
- Exceptionally easy to clean water-based stains
- Does not come in the variety and boldness of colors offered by other fibers
- Lower grades can be prone to crush and flatten leaving worn patterns in heavy traffic areas
- Susceptible to oil-based stains
- Cost effective, easy to clean and soft
- Frequently used in low traffic areas, as it has less resiliency than nylon
- Resists water-based stains
- Susceptible to oil-based stains
- Vibrant color options available
Take a look at the chart below for easy comparison of the various fiber types…
|Resiliency||Good to Excellent||Excellent||Good||Good to Excellent|
|Abrasion Resistance||Excellent||Good to Excellent||Excellent||Good to Excellent|
|Soil and Stain Resistance||Excellent||Good to Excellent||Excellent||Good to Excellent|
(unless chemically treated)
|Static||May build up in low humidity unless treated||May build up in low humidity unless treated||May build up in low humidity unless treated (but at a lower level than nylon or polyester)||May build up in low humidity|
|Mildew Resistance||Excellent||Poor (unless treated)||Excellent||Excellent|
Today, most carpet styles are treated with a coating to give you stain resistance, making it easier to keep clean and more resistant to the traffic wear.
A few facts about stain-resistant treated carpets:
- A stain-resistant finish can allow a carpet to remain cleaner up to three to four times longer.
- Stain-resistance protects the carpet by keeping dirt from sticking so tightly to the fiber and provides some protection against stains.
- Loosely held dirt can be removed more easily from the treated carpet with regular vacuuming.
- Many fiber coatings can also help reduce annoying static shock.
When reviewing your fiber choices, you will hear about brand names such as Anso, Wear-Dated and Dupont Stainmaster. Each is a high quality choice. While there are subtle differences between them, the performance of each one is exceptional. Review the product warranty information for detailed information by brand.
The majority of carpets sold today are made from nylon fibers twisted into yarns and then tufted by a large sewing machine into carpet.
How a carpet is constructed has a major impact on how it will perform in your home. How long a carpet will retain its like-new texture and appearance is based on the type of fiber, how tightly the yarns are twisted and the pile density.
Be sure to keep both style and performance in mind while reviewing the construction descriptions we’ve included below.
- Distinctive carved appearance
- Cut pile and loops working together give a variety of surface levels
- Cut/Uncut patterns help hide foot traffic
- Can really spice up a room with surface texture
- Fits a variety of room settings
- Notable for yarns that are very tightly twisted
- Ideal for homes with children and pets or “active” rooms
- Textured surface with knobby or crinkled appearance
- Extremely durable and long-wearing
- Hides seams and tracking well
- Available in nylon and polyester
- Loops are all the same height, which creates a flat, smooth surface
- Usually made with Olefin fiber
- Casual appearance, but extremely durable and easy to clean
- Great for active family rooms, or basements but often seen in offices, churches or schools
- High-density level loop carpet made with a durable fiber will last much longer than than less expensive options
- Berber is a ‘feeling’ as much as it is a construction type
- Stylish, casual and very popular
- Popular choice in new homes because of its durability and ease of maintenance
- Usually seen in a loop pattern, but available in many styles
- Typically colored with darker flecks on a lighter background
- Does not show footprints
- Not a selection you can “sink your toes into”
- Most commonly made with polypropylene (Olefin), but nylon berbers are becoming popular
Multi-level Loop (or Patterned Loop)
- Features several different levels of loops
- Creates many unique-looking textures and patterns
- Usually has an interesting, casual appearance
- Very durable, hides traffic well
- One of the most luxurious and refined style options
- Smooth, soft cut-pile surface
- Works well in traditional interiors, dining and living rooms, as well as master bedrooms
- Plush feel underfoot
- Versatile in performance & appearance
- Available in nylon, polyester, and wool
Textured Saxony (or Textured Cut Pile):
- Extremely popular, ideal for active families
- Great casual appearance, low maintenance
- Used in any room, with the exception of bathrooms and areas where there may be a lot of water
- Textured surface helps hide footprints
- Feels great underfoot
- Available in nylon, polyester, and wool
Most residential carpet installations include a separate carpet padding layer. Also referred to as cushion, the carpet pad you select is almost as critical as the carpet itself. Padding is frequently upgraded because a superior quality pad provides big benefits for a small investment.
There are numerous processes and materials used to manufacture padding, but the most important thing to focus on is the level of quality. Have your design consultant let you touch and test different pads under samples of carpet so you can feel the difference for yourself. Don’t be shy – go so far as to take off your shoes to get the full feeling of luxury achieved by a quality cushion.
Here are more details about the advantages and benefits padding can bring to your home.
Advantages of Pad
Extends Carpet’s Life
- The primary reason for using padding is to extend the appearance and life of your carpet
- Helps absorb the everyday wear-and-tear inflicted on your carpet
- Energy absorption helps your carpet look new longer while minimizing wear patterns
Adds Softness Underfoot
- Padding also adds a feeling of luxury and support underfoot
- Carpet alone can be hard and unyielding to walk on – a quality cushion acts as a shock absorber
- Noises from footsteps, loud music, or even loud voices will be diminished by the acoustical properties of carpet
- Cushion helps ensure peace and quiet on the floor below
- Like insulation in the walls of your house, most types of carpet padding block the movement of hot or cold air
- For use with radiant heat, rubber cushion is recommended
- Studies show that the use of carpet padding makes vacuuming easier
- A quality cushion increases air-flow, allowing dirt held deep within the carpet to more freely move to the vacuum head.