The type of Carpet Fiber you select will determine how long it lasts, how soft it feels, what colors are available, how easily it cleans and how much it costs. This is one of the most critical factors homeowners face when choosing and comparing new carpet.
There are several carpet fibers available today and they all have their benefits and pitfalls. Here are the main carpet fibers available today:
- Nylon – Two main versions are Stainmaster 6.6 and Anso 6.0 and available in various “soft” styles.
- Sorona – also known as Triexta, Smartstrand and PTT.
- P.E.T. Polyester – This is a soft and stain resistant fiber made from recycled soda bottles.
- Polyester – A soft and yet inexpensive fiber to manufacture which makes it popular for homeowners who are on a budget.
- Olefin – Also known as polypropylene. A durable fiber that is inexpensive to manufacture but hard to clean.
- Wool – A soft and natural fiber derived from sheep, is fire-resistant but very expensive to buy and more costly to install and maintain.
You must compare apples to apples. For example, you cannot compare a NYLON carpet to a POLYESTER carpet, or a WOOL carpet to an OLEFIN carpet. This would be like comparing apples to oranges. You have to compare similar carpets and narrow it down to the one that best meets your needs and lifestyle as well as your budget.
No matter what, don’t listen to any salesperson that says polyester carpet is just as durable as nylon carpet. Nylon is the most durable fiber and most resilient carpet fiber available today. So if you want your new carpet tolerate heavy foot traffic and continue to look like new for years to come, then nylon is the fiber you need to select.
Learn more about Carpet Styles
Carpets Made of 100% Nylon
Nylon is a generic name or designation for a family of synthetic polymers first produced in 1935 by the DuPont Company. As far as fibers go, Nylon is the most durable and the most resilient of all carpet fibers. A resilient fiber is defined as having the ability to return to its original form or position after being bent, compressed, or stretched. Nylon is the most resilient fiber used to make carpet. This is what keeps a nylon carpet looking like-new longer than any other fiber. Nylon is one of the more expensive fibers second only to wool. I would suggest you consider choosing a Nylon carpet if you have a lot of foot traffic and longevity is your biggest concern.
“Do the Tactesse, Caress, Lisse’ and other “softer” nylons hold up as well as the “regular” nylon fibers do?”
This is an excellent question. From my experience, I have found that the “soft” nylon fibers are not quite as resilient as a standard denier nylon fiber. The higher the denier, the heavier (or thicker) the strand or filament. The way they make a standard nylon fiber softer is to make the strand thinner. By doing so, I firmly believe that some of the resiliency is lost. This thinner strand creates a carpet that is softer to the touch but the carpet pile may be more susceptible to matting and crushing over time.
Don’t take this the wrong way, I’m not steering you away from buying a “soft nylon”, but if you want to have the absolute most durable and most resilient nylon for the money, I suggest you avoid the so-called soft nylons like Tactesse, Lisse’ and Caress, to name a few.