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Choosing the Right Carpet Fiber

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Retailers’ carpet samples are labeled to identify fiber content. Most carpet styles are made entirely of one fiber type — nylon, olefin, or polyester. Some styles may contain blends of these fibers.

There are two fiber classes — natural, such as wool, and man-made, such as nylon olefin, and polyester. Each has different characteristics. The following can help you make the right choice for your needs.

Nylon continues as the ideal carpet fiber. Its many attributes combine to provide outstanding durability, performance, resilience (defined as the ability to spring back), and appearance. Nylon lends itself to an unlimited variety of styles and colors at reasonable prices. Some products have excellent stain resistance.

Polyester fiber produces carpets that are soft to the touch but not as resilient as carpets of nylon. Polyester is best suited for low traffic areas. Excellent stain resistance.

Olefin (also called polypropylene) is often used in indoor/outdoor carpet and in tight, loop-pile commercial carpets. Due to its relatively low resilience, its use should be restricted to areas of low traffic. Excellent stain resistance.

Wool, of course, is a natural fiber and presents a beautiful appearance in carpeting. However, wool may not be as resilient as man-made carpet fibers and is quite a bit more expensive. Wool absorbs light differently than synthetics. The ability to breathe makes wool very desirable for certain installations.

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