|Understanding some of the basics about carpet fibers can help you make the right choice for your lifestyle and budget.
Nylon has been one of the most popular carpet fibers, and has traditionally been used in over two-thirds of the pile fibers in the United States.. Nylon fibers are naturally wear-resistant and a good choice for high traffic areas. Nylon fibers can withstand the weight and movement of furniture. Nylon carpets tend to be more expensive than Olefin and Polyester carpets. Nylon carpets are not inherently soft, when the fibers are treated to increase the "hand" or of the softness of the carpet the fiber is compromised decreasing the wear-ability of the carpet.
TRIEXTA (Mohawk SmartStrand)
Incredibly stain resistant, the fiber is hydrophobic, meaning that it does not absorb moisture. Triexta has actually been used in the clothing industry longer than it has been used in the carpet industry -- in the clothing industry triexta uses the tag-line "dry-fit" to reflect the non-absorbant properties of the fiber. Softer than both polyester and nylon, its softness is due in part to the fact that it does not have topically-applied chemicals for stain protection. Fibers are made from corn glucose instead of petroleum which means that fewer chemicals are put into the fiber, which in turn means that fewer chemicals will come out of the fiber in the form of VOCs (off-gassing). This could be especially beneficial to those with environmental sensitivities and conditions such as asthma and allergies.
Polyester is noted for its luxurious, soft "hand" when used in thick, cut-pile textures. It has excellent color clarity and retention. It is cleans easily as it is naturally stain resistant. Polyester carpets have had a bad reputation for their wear ability. However, with today's new manufacturing technology's Polyester carpets with a tight twist have dramatically increased the wear ability over their original counter-parts.
Olefin (polypropylene) fibers are strong, will resist stains and can be easily cleaned as these fibers are colorfast. It resists static electricity and can be used in both indoor and outdoor applications because of its resistance to mold and mildew. Many berber style and entry level commercial carpets are made from Olefin. This is not the "softest" carpet fiber available however it is extremely durable. Olefin is used in synthetic turf for sports surfaces and in the home for patios and game rooms.
Wool is noted for extremely luxurious feel and performance. It is very soft and has high bulk. Wool carpets can be found in many colors and patterns. Wool carpets are generally more expensive than all carpets made from synthetic fibers.