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Understanding Carpet Fibers Available Today

Carpet Fibers

Any fiber can be tufted in a good, durable manner or not, therefore construction is still the largest determining factor on how well any carpet performs.  Nylon, Polyester (abbreviated as PET), Triexta, and polypropylene (or olefin) are all synthetic polymers derived from petroleum that are processed to be carpet yarns.  They all can be used in virtually any type of tufted construction and style.  All can be either piece dyed, except olefin, after tufting or solution dyed during the extrusion process and then tufted.

Generally speaking, nylon is used mostly in mid-to-high priced products, while PET dominates the entry-to-mid price points.  Mohawk’s SmartStrand (Triexta) carpet styles generally competes with nylon.  While PET first grew as a low-cost alternative, there are presently many overlaps between nylon and PET price points in the middle market.

While a good construction can be made of any of the face fibers, there are some individual characteristics to the different fibers.  They are as follows:


The primary benefits are better resiliency and durability with good dyeability.  Its weaknesses is that it is inherently prone to staining but it is corrected with stain resistant treatments and other fiber technologies.  Stainmaster was introduced in 1986, and has been the most consumer recognized brand in residential carpet ever since.  By the 1990’s many carpet mills began to extrude their own fibers.  Today, major manufacturers have their own proprietary brands.  Invista Stainmaster is the last of the major branded fiber suppliers.  Stainmaster currently includes brand extensions: TruSoft, Tactesse, Luxerell, PetProtect, and LiveWell.  Anso CrushResister nylon is Shaw’s nylon brand.  Caress nylon, also made of Anso, is Shaw’s softest nylon.  Mohawk manufactures Wear-Dated Nylon.  Engineered Floors added nylon production with PureColor SD Nylon in 2015.  PureColor Nylon is solutin dyed and has been modified to eliminate the dye sites so it is virtually stain resistant, according to Engineered Floors.


The primary benefits are its naturally stain and fade resistant.  Its weaknesses is that it is less resilient than nylon and prone to soiling.  However, with the stain and soil treatments and tufting advancements, this has been alleviated.  Mohawk EverStrand polyester carpets are made with recycled PET bottles, giving these carpets sustainability.  Shaw’s ClearTouch carpets are certified to contain an average of 25% post consumer recycled content from plastic bottles.  Their ClearTouch Platinum PET is certified to contain an average of 50% post consumer recycled content.  Engineered Floors launched in 2009, and features their tufted carpet with its proprietary PureColor SD (solution dyed) polyester.


The primary benefits are its good resiliency and excellent inherent stain resistance.  Its weaknesses are that oil-based stains can be difficult to remove, but its SmartStrand Forever Clean addresses that issue.  Mohawk is the only U.S. company making carpet out of Triexta.  Branded SmartStrand with DuPont Sorona, the line has evolved over the last decade through constant enhancements.  The latest itieration is SmartStrand Silk Reserve.  Made in part with annually renewable plant-based materials, SmartStrand Forever Clean also has a sustainability story.


The primary benefits of wool is its good resiliency, natural fire retardent and self extinguishing, and it is soil and stain resistant.  Its weaknesses is that it is typically more expensive than synthetic fibers.     Wools of New Zealand ididtifies products that are rich in wool from farms that are part of the brand’s growers based in New Zealand.  Wool is often traced back to the farmers who grow it, ensuring products are made from natural fibers.


The primary benefits is that it is the lowest cost petroleum-based synthetic fiber with excellent stain resistance.  Its weaknesses is that it is the least resilient of the synthetic fibers and has a low melting point.  Oily soils are difficult to remove.

At Curtis Carpet, we carry a full line of all of the major fibers and manufacturers so if you want a high-end quality wool or synthetic, or looking for a value oriented carpet for a rental property or pool house, we have you covered.  Plus, with our Installation Staff, you can be assured the carpet you choose is installed professionally and will offer warmth and comfort in your home for years to come!  Contact Us today for a complimentary In-Home Estimate.