Buying carpet requires an understanding of the various attributes that can exist in different types of carpet. The key to choosing the right carpet is to know what is it’s intended use.
Carpet is categorized based on the material used during manufacturing. There are various types of carpets that you may consider. Typically in the United States, we see polyester, nylon, and wool.
Woolen carpets are made from interwoven wool. The type of weave determines the pattern that the carpet gives. These carpets come in various colors but generally are more muted compared to nylons and polyesters. Wool is very durable. As it ages, it gets softer.
Being a natural fiber and composed of hair, wool is very flexible. Its fire resistance is higher than any other carpet available. However, wool cannot be treated with many anti-stain chemicals. Because of this, it can be unfriendly to children or pets. Other than staining, wool is great for normal soiling and dirt from everyday wear and tear.
Because most wool carpets are manufactured in the UK and New Zealand, wools tend to be more expensive.
Nylon can be as durable as wool and being a synthetic fiber, it is very resistant to stains. Known to have elastic properties nylon can stretch up to 33% of its length and regain its shape. Nylon is easy to clean because it is non-absorbent and responds well to professional cleaning techniques.
In the past, polyester carpet has been the least durable carpet available. Chemicals used in the manufacturing process attract dirt. This creates abrasion with traffic. But, this is changing and polyester is becoming as durable as nylon. Polyester is slowly becoming more popular as a material for carpets because it is easier to manufacture, which makes it more affordable. Many polyesters are solution died. The dye that colors the fibers goes all the through, much like a carrot. Compared to non-solution died carpet, which are much like radishes.
It is resistant to bleaching and is also stain resistant, but not oily stains. The disadvantages are that it is difficult to dye, which limits color options; the material loses its looks due to crimping as well as untwisting of the fibers.
Olefin is one of the most versatile fibers and is used in carpet backing, astroturf and even yarns. Olefin is stain and moisture resistant, which makes it ideal for high activity areas. Because it is also resistant to chemicals, it is strong and will not fade easily. It is lightweight and easily cleaned. All these qualities make it ideal for outdoor use.
There are a number of disadvantages as well. Olefin does not regain its original shape when crushed. It is also heat sensitive and more flammable than the other carpet options. It has low absorption ability, which makes it difficult to dye and is easily damaged by friction, so dragging heavy objects over it will damage it.
We mostly see olefin in affordable rugs from Europe and Asia.
One’s carpet choice may depend on the construction of the carpet. Wool carpets are usually created by sewing strands of yarn into a backing material to create loops. When the loops are cut, then the carpet is defined as cut-pile or texture. When the loops are not cut, it is loop carpet. You can have long loops, or short loops, or a combination of cut and loop carpets. These designs of carpets are suitable for home use.
Cut-loops are usually textured or plush. They usually give a warm fluffy look. They are ideal for bedrooms and living rooms because of their soft and comfortable feel. The loop carpets are good for places such as doorways because of the high traffic levels. They are not as soft as the cut loop carpets. However, they are more abrasive and can hide dirt.