Want to increase the value of your house? Install carpets! But there are so many fiber types to choose from: wool, polyester, nylon acrylic -- where to start? Take our quiz and get the lowdown on the advantages and disadvantages of the materials on the market.
The fiber of the carpet is the most important aspect to take into consideration when buying a new carpet; so much so that it accounts for 80 percent of the cost.
There are five factors to take into consideration when choosing carpet fiber: the level of traffic, your budget, exposure to moisture, how long you want it to last and if you have children or pets.
Fibers that are stock dyed are of higher quality than solution dyed fibers. Stock dying is done when the fiber is being made and it penetrates through the fiber; solution dying is done later on in the process and the solution remains on the surface of the fiber only.
Fully 65 percent of carpets in the U.S. are made from nylon, because it is durable, resistant to staining and easy to clean.
Nylon was invented in the 1930s by DuPont as a substitute for silk.
There are two types of nylon fibers: type 6,6, which has greater strength and durability and type 6. Even though today there is a minimal difference between the two types, the better nylon carpets are made from type 6,6.
These are the names of a luxurious looking and feeling carpet made from an extra soft nylon, created by drawing thinner fiber strands during the manufacturing process. It is only slightly less durable than standard nylon.
One disadvantage of nylon carpeting is that can generate a static electricity charge of up to about 12,000 volts as you walk across the carpet, which is enough to sting you when you touch a doorknob. Even though most carpets are treated with anti-static, it is best not to use nylon carpeting around sensitive electronic components, such as in the computer room.
StainMaster and Wear-Dated are two brand names. Although they may be a little pricier than non-branded carpets, it may be worth the price for their superior quality and stain and static resistance.
Polypropylene and olefin carpets are the second most widely used material for carpets, after nylon. It is less expensive than nylon, but not as durable.
Olefin carpeting is water resistant and chemically inert, so it is not affected by chemicals like bleach or toilet cleaner, making it ideal for bathroom, outdoor and basement use.
Olefin shows up dirt very easily, especially oil and grease stains; even bare feet can mark the carpet. It also does not clean well.
Polyester can be made from recycled drink bottles, making it environmentally sustainable. It is great for allergy sufferers, as it resists mold and mildew and is very economical.
Although in the showroom, polyester carpets look and feel luxurious, they are not very durable. Within a short time, they will appear matted and will not last long.
Wool carpets make up only 1 percent of the market, mainly because it is expensive and because it is not mold, dust or static resistant.
The finest wool originates in New Zealand. Wool fibers are very durable, hold their twist for a long time and can last up to 60 years if well taken care of.
Because wool has such a luxurious look and feel, people make use of it for rugs, to add a luxurious touch to the living room.
Acrylic is made from acrylonitrile, a clear plastic. It became popular in the 1960s.
Acrylic is made to look and feel like wool, at a cheaper price, and minus some of its drawbacks, like wool's susceptibility to mildew and tendency to fade.
Acrylic is not as durable as wool -- it deteriorates and pills very quickly and is easily stained by oil and grease.