Main Fiber Types
Nylon represents more than 60% of all face fibers used in the United States today! Nylon is the strongest and most durable fiber produced. It has excellent abrasion resistance, very resilent and has superior dyeing characteristics. Nylon performs very well and is extremely resistant to staining.
Nylon comes in two forms: bulked continuous filament and staple. BCF Nylon is composed of long continuous fibers, many miles long. The advantage to BCF is when the fiber is made into a cut pile carpet all the fibers are the same length which offers virtually no shedding or pilling. Staple Nylon is "spun" into yarn and is made from many shorter strands 6 to 8 inches long. The primary use of staple yarn is in cut pile carpet. Staples tend to feel softer as well as thicker, however some shedding and pilling should be expected.
Also known as Olefin, this fiber makes up approximately 25% of the fibers used in the United States. Polypropylene is naturally moisture-resistant and therefore must be "solution-dyed" (dyed as fiber is produced). Meaning the color is thru out the structure of the fiber It is also very colorfast (sun fade resistant). The limit to this fiber however is that it is not as resilient as nylon and therefore consideration to use in heavy traffic areas should be considered. The primary use of this fiber is in loop pile carpets, which by nature of the construction helps to increase resiliency.
Polyester is a very tough fiber and resists abrasion. Especially in heavier weight carpets. The filament has a soil-hiding cross section and is low in static and is non allergenic. It can be solution dyed making it very colorfast and fade resistant. Polyester has some disadvantages. Because it is a staple fiber, some shedding and fuzzing will occur, however this should stop after the first few weeks of vacuuming... Typical characteristics are its soft feel, and good color clarity. The fiber does cost less to produce and therefore falls into the more popular price range.
Wool makes up only about 1 % of the United States market use of carpet fiber. It has excellent aesthetics properties. It has a soft "natural feel" and look that will bring out the natural beauty in any home. Wool however, absorb up to 17% more moisture than synthetic fiber. The properties of the fiber, fish scale like, naturally hide dirt well making the carpet appear cleaner than it actually is. Wool does clean easily and therefore ages nicely. Most of the wool comes from South America, New Zealand and the UK. and carries a premium price.