Basics of Carpet Styles and Construction
25th April 2017
Carpet is at the top of the list of popularity in floor coverings. Because manufacturers know people love carpets, they have developed a large range of options in fibers, styles, and construction methods, meaning choosing a carpet that is just right for your floor can be both exciting and overwhelming. Knowing a few basics about carpet construction and styles can make choosing new carpeting a more enjoyable experience.
Fibers Used in Carpeting
Several different fiber materials are used in the manufacture of carpets. Each has its own characteristic feel, look, qualities, price, and best uses. Many types of carpet have a polypropylene backing material underneath and a pile of fabric above, creating the surface. This surface pile comes in a variety of fiber materials, each with its own strengths and attributes.
Nylon is the most commonly used carpet fiber accounting for over sixty percent of sales in the U.S. Nylon carpeting comes in two varieties known as nylon 6 and nylon 6,6. The numbers refer to the number of chemical bonds in the material. Nylon 6, 6 is the more durable and stronger of the two, but both are used for making well-wearing carpets of almost any color. The drawbacks are that nylon carpet does carry static electricity, and it is prone to fading over time in direct sun.
Olefin is another synthetic material used extensively for carpet manufacture. It is dense enough to provide ample warmth and resilience for its bulk without being heavy. Its resistance to fading, stains, mold, moisture, and wear from traffic make it a good choice for outdoor carpeting, while the dense material makes seams more visible and the surface less soft than other types of carpet.
Polyester is another common synthetic material used in carpet manufacture and one of the most economical carpeting fibers. It is not as strong as nylon and does not hold up as well against color fading or wear and tear. However, when made with a thick-pile, polyester carpeting feels warm and comfortable on bare feet, and the cost is easy on the pocket book.
Wool is the classic material for carpeting, used for ages to produce fine rugs all over the world. While older wool rugs were hand-woven, all but a few specialty wool rugs are now woven by computer controlled machines. Wool is a natural fiber with inherent wear-resistance, fire resistance, and a luxurious look and feel. It is also completely bio-degradable, making it the most ecological carpeting material. Wool carpeting absorbs and releases humidity from the air, helping control the comfort level in the room. While the initial cost of wool is higher than other carpeting materials, the long-life and low maintenance needs make it a competitive carpet fiber in the long-run.
Blended Carpet Fibers are mixtures of two or more fiber materials. Blended carpet fibers are created for making a carpet more durable, less resistant to fading, and easier to clean, among other reasons. The most frequent blends of fibers found in carpet manufacturing are nylon blended with olefin and nylon blended with wool.
Types of Carpet Construction
Beyond the fiber used for making the carpet, how the fibers are woven together is the next most important quality to consider when choosing carpet. How the yarn is woven together and cut to form the carpet pile is one part of the process, and the other is how the material is attached to the backing material.
Twist fibers are wound around an inner filament, making this construction resistant to matting and wear.
Bulk continuous filament (BCF) is a yarn type made from a single, continuous strand. Carpets with this construction have deep texture and high durability.
Loop pile is a carpet construction technique in which the tips of the yarn are left uncut, forming small loops. Loop pile construction has further styles, such as level loop and patterned multi-level loop, each creating a distinct surface pattern and texture in the pile.
Plush carpeting uses strong, twisted fibers and has a smooth surface and formal appearance.
Frieze or shag construction has longer and more twisted fibers. This style is good at concealing footprints and furniture marks but does not wear as well in areas with high foot traffic.
Berber is a type of level loop construction made with short, tightly packed filaments. It is especially durable and good as an all-purpose carpeting for heavily trafficked areas.
The density of the carpet refers to how tightly the carpet pile is attached to the backing material. Generally, the higher the carpet density, the higher the quality and the longer the carpet will last.
For more details about choosing the right carpet for your home or business, talk to a carpet expert at Accent on Floors in Hopewell, VA.