Carpets are among the most significant investments you make, after your house and your car. They are expensive and are critical to the overall appearance and comfort of your home.
Deciding on the carpeting for your house is not easy. You need to choose a carpet that suits your needs, your budget, as well as the interior décor. You need to decide on the color, the pile, the fiber, and the style, and it is not easy considering the mind-boggling variety and range available to today’s consumers.
One of the most critical factors you have to take into consideration is the type of fiber you would like. There are plenty of choices available for the discerning homeowner, so let’s look at the most popular fibers for residential carpeting.
Knowing about the essential characteristics of the popular fibers will help you in deciding about your carpet.
Nylon reigns as the most preferred fibre for carpets. It is widely preferred due to its durability and longevity. All good manufacturers offer guarantees on the life and the appearance of the carpets.
Another beautiful feature of nylon is that it is highly abrasion-resistant, with the high-grade variety even surpassing wool in performance. Nylon fiber has excellent yarn memory, meaning it does not mat down and looks good even in high traffic areas. The hydrogen molecules present in nylon endow it with good bounce-back qualities, elasticity and resilience.
Nylon responds well to professional deep carpet cleaning and steam cleaning, emerging refreshed and looking as good as new. Nylon carpets are available in brilliant colors, are colorfast, and have excellent stain-resistant qualities.
A significant drawback of nylon is that it is synthetic and off-gases. Advancements in technology minimize the risk to a great extent and strive to make nylon safer.
Wool has been the preferred fibre for carpets for centuries. Several factors contribute to making wool the most luxurious and the royal among other common fibers.
The centuries-old woolen carpets which are now prized possessions of collectors bear testimony to the longevity and the durability of wool. Several inherent qualities make wool stand out.
Wool is natural, eco-friendly and bio-degradable. It is also very resilient and robust. The elastic nature of wool makes it suitable for high-traffic areas. It does not wear or flatten quickly in areas with high footfall.
The scale-like structure of carpet fibers traps dust, dirt, and other indoor pollutants. While washing, the woolen fibers swell and release all the trapped dirt, thus making cleaning procedures highly efficient and effective.
Wool is fire-retardant and also helps improve indoor air quality.
Wool accepts dye quickly and thoroughly and shows up colors in all their beauty and vibrancy.
The drawbacks of wool include the exorbitant cost and the comparative low stain- resistance. This is mainly due to the dye and stain-absorbing nature of the natural fiber. Also, wool needs special care and is sensitive to chemical components in cleaning solutions.
Olefin or polypropylene carpets are most widely used after nylon in homes. Olefin carpets are cheaper than nylon ones and have excellent moisture-resistant qualities. Olefin has good stain resistance and does not fade quickly.
The solution dyeing process used for olefin carpets ensures the colors stay for an extended period. Moisture does not remain on olefin fibers for long. The water quickly travels to the tip of the fibers and dries easily. This helps retard the growth of mold and mildew. Olefin carpets are preferred in damp places like the poolside or the basement.
Olefin carpets are preferred outdoors as well because they retain color and do not fade quickly in the sunlight.
These carpets have a few drawbacks, however. Since they are synthetic, they are not biodegradable and tend to off-gas. Olefin is less resilient as compared to nylon. It is not elastic, and is easily worn out and flattened in high traffic areas.
Olefin has a shallow melting point. Olefin also tends to stain quickly and is especially vulnerable to oil-based stains.
Dark-coloured carpets help mask most of the olefin’s drawbacks.
Polyester was looked down as cheap and less durable until a few years ago. The latest technological advancements have changed all of that and have made polyester an economical and popular option.
Polyester carpets are process dyed. Hence they hold color well and do not stain easily. They are more resistant to water-based dyes and are vulnerable to oil-based dyes.
Polyester fiber is also less affected by moisture and dampness. Since the carpets dry quickly, there is less damage from mold and mildew buildup. Polyester carpets do not aggravate allergy or asthma and are safe in homes with kids and older adults.
A significant drawback of polyester carpets is that they are not as resilient or elastic as nylon carpets. They wear quickly and develop traffic patterns in areas with high footfall. It is tough to restore the matted carpet and undo the damage done. This gives a short shelf-life to the carpets, and you will be required to get a new one after a few years.
Polyester carpets are synthetic and non-biodegradable.
A high-density short-pile polyester carpet will be suitable for home use. It is an excellent short-term option if you are planning to renovate your house shortly or are looking to buy a new carpet once the children move out.
Sisal carpets have gained in popularity immensely during the last few years, mainly because they are green and environmentally safe, and are highly durable.
Sisal carpets are elastic and are suitable in areas with high footfall. They do not mat down or show traffic patterns.
Sisal is also naturally stain-resistant. These carpets do not require intense chemical treatment to be stain resistant.
Sisal fibers are obtained from agave sisalana, a cactus plant found in abundance in Africa and Brazil. Sisal carpets can give a great natural look to your home décor.
The disadvantages of sisal carpets include that they have a grainy feel, and the rough texture may not precisely feel luxurious beneath your bare feet. They are vulnerable to moisture damage and require careful cleaning. Sisal carpets are quite expensive too.
Sisal carpets are available in synthetic blends that are soft and smooth to touch. You can check out the options available if you are keen on having a green and eco-friendly carpet.
While deciding on the fiber, analyze your lifestyle and unique home needs and choose something that will cater to your family requirements. The new-generation carpets are durable and offer quality and comfort. With timely professional care and daily upkeep, your carpets will last a lifetime.