The majority of the carpet contains one of six pile fibers: nylon, polypropylene (olefin), polyester, wool, or cotton. Synthetic fibers make up more than 99% of the fiber used by carpet industry. Each fiber has strengths and weaknesses that must be recognized and should influence how it is to be used and constructed. Some fibers have very low resiliency and only should be manufactured in high-density loop pile constructions to limit crushing (pile flattening). Other fibers have the tendency to absorb oily soils and other oil-based compounds (including body oils) and should be carefully considered before installing in areas subject to these contaminants. It should be emphasized that there is no perfect fiber and carpet is a fabric that is subjected to incredible abuse through foot traffic, accidental spills, environmental contaminants, and other abuses.
Pile fiber represents greater than 80% of the cost of most residential carpet; therefore differences in price between carpet styles usually can be attributed to differences in fiber. Of the three most commonly used fibers (nylon, olefin, and polyester), nylon is by far the most expensive fiber and the best all-around performer. In comparing price alone, a polyester fabric could be one-third less than the cost of a comparable nylon product.
In addition, when comparing two like fibers, there can be considerable cost differences between the two. Nylon, for example, may be type 6 or type 6, 6 and may be branded or unbranded. These factors influence value, price and performance as well. It is impossible to purchase carpet and anticipate performance or value by fiber ounce weight alone. (By Michael Hilton)
This traditional favorite offers a deep, rich look and feel. Wool remains the premier fiber in carpet construction, but it’s price is out of reach of most consumers. It has excellent resilience and durability, but is very expensive often twice as much per yard as nylon.
Nylon is a very durable fiber with excellent performance characteristics. Its strengths include good resiliency, good yarn memory to hold twist, good cleaning, good stain resistance with stain treatment applied, good soil hiding ability, and good abrasion resistance.
(or Olefin) fibers are made from propylene and ethylene gases. Polypropylene fibers are resistant to moisture. It is strong, abrasion resistant, quick drying, colorfast, mildew resistant, and naturally soil and stain resistant.
Fibers are exceptionally soft and maintain good colour clarity. These fibers are naturally stain and fade resistant.