Carpet Fiber and Construction
Carpet is no doubt one of the key decorating elements in your home and you can become overwhelmed by the number of styles and colors that are available. While style and color are important, more and more consumers are looking for carpets that have the ability to meet the demands of time and wearability. Here are some factors on carpet construction and fiber to help in your carpet buying decision.
Nylon – Nylon represents a high percentage of all pile fibers used in the United States. Although Nylon tends to be higher priced than most fibers, it has advantages that may make it more desirable depending on your application. Nylon has proven to withstand the rigors of an active lifestyle and provide brilliant color and can be cleaned readily. Along with outstanding wear-resistance this fiber is the most resilient and is available in BCF (bulk continuous filament) and staple.
BCF (bulked continuous filament) - continuous strands of synthetic fiber that have been texturized to increase the bulk, coverage and resiliency of the fiber. The continuous strands allow the yarn tips to exhibit a very smooth, fine finish.
Staple fiber-short lengths of fiber, typically 4-71/2", that have been chopped from continuous filament and then twisted together to form spun yarns. The yarn tufts of staple products bloom more, exhibiting a “bigger hand” finish.
Olefin (polypropylene) – Olefin is a strong fiber that resists wear and permanent stains. It's notably colorfast and easily cleaned. Olefin is naturally resistant to static electricity and high UV, resisting fading in outdoor applications. All Olefin is BCF and is often used in commercial installations because of its inherent stain resistance.
Polyester – Polyester fiber is known as the soft “hand” fiber when used in thick, cut-pile textures due to the soft feel it offers. This fiber also offers excellent color clarity and retains its color and luster. Polyester is sometimes known by its chemical name Polyethylene Terephthalate or PET. Polyester can be manufactured from virgin or recycled material such as plastic beverage bottles. While featuring many of the advantages of nylon, sales of polyester carpets have grown in recent years due to the value it offers the consumer.
Blends - Blends are when two or more various fibers are mixed together to create different carpet performance or different carpet styles offering good characteristics of each fiber. One common blend is an Olefin/Nylon.
All tufted carpet starts out in a loop construction. Visualize the carpet tufting machine as a large version of the sewing machine in your home; that is, if your sewing machine had hundreds of needles spanning from twelve to fifteen feet.
A strand of yarn comes off a spool and is tufted (sewed) onto a backing material. The yarn is threaded into a needle and penetrates the backing material on the way down and leaves a loop in the fiber as it returns. This loop can be left as is, or cut at the top to the loop to create two individual strands. All tufted carpets are either loop, cut pile, or some variation of the two. Many new styling directions have emerged as technology has evolved creating some of the most beautiful designs ever imagined.
Cut pile – Cut pile carpeting has cut loops on the surface leaving individual yarn tufts. Velvet, Plush, Saxony, Shag and Friezé (free-zay) are all cut pile carpets but differ in yarn twist. Cut pile carpets are still one of today's most popular carpet constructions.
Level loop – Level loop carpet consists of loops that are the same height and uncut, which creates a smooth level surface. Arranging the loops closer together increases the durability and allows the carpet to be cleaned easier. Level loop carpeting generally lasts a long time in high-traffic areas and many of today’s popular Berber styles are created using level loop construction.
Multi-level loop – Multi-level loop usually has two to three different loop heights to create a pattern or sculptured looking effect to the carpet. Carpet with this texture tends to hide soiling and foot traffic. Multi-level loop provides good durability with a more casual looking appearance.
Cut and loop - Combination of cut and looped yarns. This construction provides a variety of surface textures, including LCL (Level Cut Loop) sculptured effects of squares, pin-dot, swirls, etc. It also tends to hide unwanted foot traffic.
Once your carpet selection has been made it is essential to realize that proper installation and adequate maintenance are
equally important issues that must also be considered.