Comparing Carpet Fibers

Posted on: December 15, 2015

All carpet fibers can be classified into one of two categories: natural fibers and synthetic fibers.

Synthetic Fibers
Synthetic materials are machine-made from various chemical compounds. There are four major types of synthetic fiber used in carpeting: nylon, polyester, polypropylene (olefin), and the newest synthetic carpet fiber, triexta (PTT).

Natural Fibers
Natural fibers are comprised of materials that grow in nature, and that are harvested and processed into fibers. There are many natural materials, but only several that are commonly used in carpet. Wool is by far the most common natural fiber in carpeting, and is virtually the only natural fiber used in broadloom (wall-to-wall carpet).
Other natural fibers are more often made into area rugs, including sisal, cotton, seagrass, jute, silk, and coir. Most of these fibers are either too weak or too rough to be made into broadloom.


Types of Synthetic Fibers

Nylon Carpet
Nylon has been the most commonly used carpet fiber since the early 1960’s. In overall performance characteristics, nylon is the most versatile of all fibers, providing excellent flexibility in creating a variety of carpet styles.Nylon can be found in a wide range of both cut pile and loop pile styles. It is durable, resilient, and receptive to dyeing for color versatility and uniformity; many new nylon yarn systems are also exceptionally soft. Though not inherently stain resistant, most nylon carpets feature a stain-resist carpet treatment for protection against household spills and stains.

Polyester (PET) Carpet
Polyester offers exceptional softness and colour clarity, and it is also naturally stain and fade resistant. While polyester is not as inherently resilient as nylon, carpets made of polyester fiber will perform well if appropriately constructed. Thanks to technological advances in yarn processing and improved carpet construction techniques, polyester’s purported weakness as a high-performance fiber has been largely overcome. When properly twisted and tufted, today’s polyester yarns perform much better than in years past. Polyester styles are good choices for low – to medium – traffic settings such as bedrooms. Polyester carpet styles typically represent good value.

PTT (Triexta Polyester) Carpet
PTT (Polytrimethylene Terephthalate – Triexta) is a polyester fiber, first patented in 1941, but it was not until the 1990’s, when Shell Chemicals developed a low-cost method of producing high-quality 1,3-propanediol (PDO), the starting raw material for PTT, that commercial production of the company’s Corterra polymers was possible. Shaw introduced the first BCF PTT (Corterra) residential carpet in the United States in 2001.However, due to technical issues, Shaw’s PTT cannot be treated with a stain and soil resistance system, and the yarn’s lack of repellency can make cleanup of spills difficult. Many oil-based stains are extremely difficult to remove.

Mohawk has made Triexta even better. Their SmartStrand Forever Clean is the only carpet that lets you have it all—unbeatable spill protection, permanent stain resistance, long-lasting durability, and so much more.

  • 0% moisture absorption to reduce pet odors in the carpet fiber
  • Nanoloc™ spill and soil shield for quick and easy cleanup
  • 3X easier to clean dirt, hair, and pet dander
  • Lifetime, built-in stain protection

Polypropylene (olefin) Carpet
Unlike other fiber types, polypropylene will not absorb water and must therefore be solution dyed (pigmented) to impart colour. Solution dyeing is a pigmentation process in which color is actually built into the fiber when it is formed, or extruded, thereby becoming an inherent part that cannot be removed from the fiber. The colour will not fade, even when exposed to intense sunlight, bleaches, atmospheric contaminants, or other harsh chemicals or elements. However, since it is not as resilient as other fibers, polypropylene is normally used in loop pile constructions in which there is less need for superior resiliency.

Provided by