Carpet Fiber

Carpet Fiber

fiberHere you will find information about the types of fiber used to make today’s wall-to-wall carpet. Fibers used are nylon, polyester, olefin or polypropylene. Each fiber has its own set of characteristics that set it apart from the others. The most commonly used fibers are listed below.

NYLON

This is the most commonly used fiber in carpet today because it is strong, easy to dye, and readily available. The yard is 6.6 nylon and is marketed as being “better” than type 6 nylon. However, recent studies by leading chemical engineers suggest that the differences between the two types have little to do with a carpet’s overall performance, and further suggest that carpet construction is more important than fiber.

NEW SOFT NYLONS:

The newest thing on the market this year is the introduction of the so called “soft nylons” This type of fiber has been around for a long time, but has always been more expensive because of how much fiber must go into the carpet in order to give the carpet a good feel (or hand).

The fiber feels soft due to its super small diameter. Think of it like gauges of wire. The small gauge wire has a smaller diameter than the larger gauge wire. This is similar to nylon fiber; only instead of gauge we use the term “denier”. The new soft feeling nylons are made from a very fine “denier” fiber. Thus, it takes a lot more of this fiber to feel and look like other carpets that may be full of air. Imagine fifteen very fat people in an elevator. The space is full, but there on only fifteen people inside. However, that same space can take 25 very thin people, and the combined strength of the 25 people will be stronger than the fifteen people.

These new nylons will go under various brand names i.e. “Tactesse” (Invista) or “DuraSoft” (Solutia), or “Anso Caress” (Honeywell). If you are willing to pay a little more for this fiber, I think you will love it.

PET POLYESTER:

This is a new type of fiber that has this long chemical name: Polyethylene Terephthalate, but still falls in the class of fibers known commonly as polyesters. This PET fiber, however, is “not your daddy’s polyester”.

This fiber has natural and permanent stain resistance. PET fiber is strong and compares with nylon in strength and abrasion resistance. Unlike the old polyester, the PET product has a higher melting point equivalent to type 6.6 nylon.

The fiber is made from PET chips, some of which come from recycled plastic containers, hence the name “pop bottle carpet”.

Recycling does not affect the quality if the fiber, thus this is a fiber that could be recycled over and over.

PTT

Mohawk’s new “Smartstrand” brand of Sonora PTT fiber by DuPont uses corn sugar to make Bio-PDO (chemically known as propanediol), and is one of the ingredients used in the fiber making process that ordinarily would use a petroleum base. Mohawk has tested the new Sonora product and says it is as good as the old petroleum based product. PTT can be as soft as the New Soft Nylons, but more affordable.

PTT carpet has a 20-year stain and wear warranty, a 10 year fiber tension warranty and 20 year manufacturing warranty. If you were to stain it with a bleach or food product; Mustard, Grape Juice, Red Wine, etc., within the first year, Mohawk will replace it for free.

On a personal note, my brother bought this carpet through another company. At the time I thought it was the same as the PET carpet. His kid spilled grape juice on their 6-month old PTT carpet and to even my surprise, he said the grape juice didn’t soak in; it formed a puddle on the carpet surface and was wiped up with a rag and water. I was so impressed that I looked up Mohawk and now have my own rack of Mohawk products.

OLEFIN or POLYPROPYLENE:

This is one of the most colorfast fibers on the market. It also is one of the most naturally stain resistant. Thus, this fiber is best suited for indoor-outdoor carpet in both loop and grass styles. Olefin is a cheap fiber. It performs well in wear tests if the profile of the pile height is super low. If one adds air to the fiber to give it some bulk (so it feels good), it will not produce a carpet that looks good for longer than six months. This puffed up Olefin will crush! I guarantee it. Also, Olefin has such a low melting point it must have oil added to the fiber in order to survive the tufting process. When the carpet is finished, most American manufacturers do not spend the money to rid the fiber of all the oil. As a result the carpet crushes even quicker.