Construction & Durability
Carpet durability depends on several
factors, as a general rule the most important factors are fiber type,
amount of twist on the yarn, pile weight relative to stitch rate and gauge
which determines density. Judging durability based on any one factor
alone can be misleading. Even a superior fiber like nylon will perform
poorly if it lacks good twist and appropriate density. Other factors that
contribute more to aesthetics than durability are color, softness, luster
of the the yarn, and overall texture of the carpet. The appropriate pad
and good maintenance will always increase the life of any carpet.
Carpets that perform well in a residential setting can be found in many
different styles and construction types. Therefore, a good starting point
in carpet selection is simply determining the style you like, then
you can look at other factors that contribute to quality and durability.
Nylon is an ideal fiber for carpet. It is strong, has good
resiliency, and is available in "soft to the touch" fibers.
Topical stain treatments are often applied to nylon to increase stain
resistance. Nylon is a good choice for all style types and is available in
both staple and continuous filaments.
Triexta no longer called PTT polyester, is reported to have the
resilience of nylon, greater stain resistance, is more color fast and is
available in very "soft to the touch" fibers. Another ideal
fiber for residential carpets. Triexta is always continuous filament.
PET Polyester is generally less expensive than nylon and can be made
from reclaimed plastic bottles. PET polyester is considered to be less
resilient than nylon but more stain resistant. Is available in both staple
or continuous filaments and in "soft to the touch" fibers.
Polypropylene sometimes called Olefin, is often used in
"indoor/outdoor" carpets and most often in a looped pile
construction. Polypropylene is more resistant to stains than nylon,
generates lower levels of static, is usually a continuous filament fiber,
but has less resilience than nylon and other fibers used in manufacturing
Wool is a natural fiber and therefore can not be extruded into
continuous filaments. The yarns are made by spinning short lengths of wool
together to make the yarn, often referred to as spun or staple fibers. For
this reason it is natural for wool carpets shed and sometimes pill. Wool
is more easily stained than synthetic carpet and holds protein stains such
as blood and urine. Wool is also susceptible to mold and mildew, and fades
in direct sunlight.
Yarn twist, particularly in cut-pile carpet is important to
performance. Generally speaking, a carpets appearance will
deteriorate as un-twisting of the yarns occur. Therefore, yarns with
higher twist rates (a tighter twist) will retain their original appearance
longer. Heat setting of the yarn also helps in retaining twist and
appearance. Today, almost all yarns used in cut-pile carpets are
continuous heat set yarns.
In carpet, density ratings refer to a numeric representation of how tall
the yarns are (pile height), how tight the yarns are (stitch rate &
gauge), and pile weight per sq yard. This number may be more meaningful to
commercial carpet buyers then residential end users because many popular
residential styles are "shaggy" in appearance and are created by
using taller yarns, tufted further apart and therefore equate to lower
density ratings. A higher density number does not always mean heavier
carpet, the highest density carpets are often commercial carpets that are
short, tight or firm, and weigh less than most residential
carpets. In the past higher density ratings indicated a firmer or
harder feeling carpet but with the introduction of soft yarns this is no
longer always true.
The amount of yard used to make the carpet, measured in ounces per square
yard. Pile weight certainly is a factor in calculating the density of a
carpet, and does have a bearing on durability and cost, but judging by
weight alone does not address other major factors for durability such as,
yarn twist, fiber type, and texture. Comparing carpet based on weight
alone can be misleading. While a heavy carpet may feel thick and rich, if
it has poor twist and fiber type, it will not perform well.
The length or duration of the carpet warranty is not a direct indicator
of quality, durability or performance. Over the past several years the
length of carpet warranties has increased significantly while the
construction of carpet has remained basically the same. As warrantees
increase in length, so do the limitations, requirements, and conditions
for maintaining the often prorated coverage. While the warranty is often
an important factor in the purchasing decision, it is best to focus on
construction characteristics for judgments in durability.
Plush or Saxony Plush or Textured Cut Pile. (picture)
Terminology keeps changing. Today any carpet with less texture than
a frieze or twist carpet are generically termed Textured Cut Pile
carpets. A cut pile carpet with a smooth, and lustrous finish
(surface) may be called a Plush or Saxony Plush and if the carpet is
also dense and lustrous, it may be called a Velvet. These terms are
used less often today but are still useful. This type of carpet will
show more footprints, vacuum tracks, and shading due to the uniform
Heavily Textured (picture)
Usually indicates more crimping or bending in the yarns resulting in
much more texture than a Cut Pile Plush. Depending on how
tall the yarns are and how close the yarns are tufted together, the
appearance can vary from a shaggy look to a more dense but still
textured appearance. In general, carpets with more texture show less
foot printing, shading, and vacuum tracking than plush or saxony
Pile Carpet (picture)
When used in residential applications, loop pile carpets are often
called Berber carpet. The loops can be of equal height (level loop)
or multi-level. Multi-level loops can be tufted to form
patterns and flecks of color may also be incorporated. Since there
are no cut yarn tips to untwist and tangle, loop pile carpets are
considered more resistant to abrasive wear. Unlike cut pile carpets,
loop carpets, if snagged can run as one loop is connected to the the
Originally the term frieze indicated a cut pile carpet that derived
it's texture (bent or curly yarns) from extreme or over twisting of
the yarns. Today any carpet that is textured is likely to be called
a frieze, even if the texture is derived from mechanically crimping
or bending the yarns. These carpets show less shading and foot
printing compared to plush cut pile carpets. True frieze carpets
offer excellent durability and ease of maintenance due to high twist
rates and textured surface.
Yarn Size Textured with Fleck (picture)
Sometimes called a Cut Pile Berber Fleck even though it is not a
Berber, which are looped pile carpets. Possibly called this because
it has flecks similar to the original looped Berber carpets. It is a
cut pile construction using two yarn sizes, and often has flecks of
darker colors creating a casual textured look. Depending on how
tall the yarns are and how close the yarns are tufted together, the
appearance can vary from a shaggy look to a more dense appearance.
Cut & Loop or Cut & UnCut to create a patterned
graphic carpet (picture)
Yarns are tufted in repeating, often geometric patterns. generally a
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