The type of Carpet Fibre you select will determine how long your new carpet lasts, how soft it feels, what colours are available, how easily it cleans and how much it costs. This is one of the most critical factors when choosing and comparing new carpet. You must compare apples to apples. For example, you cannot compare a NYLON carpet to a POLYESTER carpet, or a WOOL carpet to an OLEFIN carpet. This would be like comparing apples to oranges. You have to compare similar carpets and narrow it down to the one that best meets your needs and lifestyle as well as your budget.
Nylon is a generic name or designation for a family of synthetic polymers first produced in 1935 by the DuPont Company. As far as fibres go, Nylon is the most durable and the most resilient of all carpet fibres. A resilient fibre is defined as having the ability to return to its original form or position after being bent, compressed, or stretched. Nylon is the most resilient fibre used to make carpet. This is what keeps a nylon carpet looking like new longer than any other fibre. Nylon is one of the more expensive fibres second only to wool. I would consider choosing a Nylon carpet if you have a lot of traffic and longevity was my biggest concern.
"Do the "softer" nylons hold up as well as the "regular" nylon fibres do?"
This is an excellent question. From my experience, I have found that the "soft" nylon fibres are not quite as resilient as a standard denier nylon fibre. The higher the denier, the heavier the filament. The way they make a standard nylon fibre softer is to make the strand thinner. By doing so, I believe that some of the resiliency is lost. This thinner strand creates a carpet that is softer to the touch but may be more susceptible to matting and crushing. Don't take this the wrong way, I'm not steering you away from buying a soft nylon, but if you want to have the absolute most durable and most resilient nylon for the money, I suggest you buy a carpet made with a standard nylon denier fibre.
What is fibre denier?
Fibre denier is easiest understood if you have ever gone fishing and used a nylon filament fishing line. The thicker the line is, the stronger it is. When fishing for Trout most fishermen use a thin 6-pound test line. For bigger fish like Steelhead or Salmon, a thicker 10 or 12-pound nylon test line may be selected. Some carpet fibres are manufactured thinner to make a carpet that feels softer to the touch, but in doing so some of the strength, durability or resiliency may be sacrificed. Therefore I believe a carpet made with a standard Denier Nylon fibre will be more durable and more resilient than a carpet made with a thinner strand as used in today's branded "Soft Nylons
SmartStrand Forever Clean
If you want a carpet that is durable, soft and resist stains, SmartStrand Forever Clean may be the fibre you are looking for. SmartStrand Forever Clean has permanent stain resistance that is engineered into the fibre and will never wear or wash off. But remember, no carpet is completely stain proof.
SmartStrand Forever Clean derives from Triexta or PTT and was developed by DuPont™. It is a polymer derived from corn. It is said to have the best anti-stain properties and cleans easier than any other fibre. They also say it is very durable. SmartStrand Forever Clean is clearly more durable than PET or Polyester, but is it as durable as Nylon? I do believe that SmartStrand Forever Clean resists stains and cleans easier than Nylon, but the durability and resiliency of Nylon is hard to beat. Either way, SmartStrand Forever Clean may be the fibre you need for your busy home and lifestyle.
Triexta is not a new fibre, it was invented back in the 1940's and was deemed too expensive to manufacture at that time to be able to compete with other carpet fibres like Nylon. Carpet prices have increased enough over the past 10 years to allow SmartStrand Forever Clean to be manufactured at a comparable cost.
Polyester or PET Polyester
Polyester is one of the least expensive fibres to manufacture. A thick polyester carpet may feel nice and soft, but it is not a resilient fibre, and it does not a make a long-lasting carpet. Polyester carpets mat down in a hurry, and that has always been the problem with carpets made from this fibre. When you walk on a carpet, with every footstep you bend and compress the fibres and soon they begin to fall over. Once polyester fibres are crushed, they won't spring back to their original position. This is why warranties for polyester carpets do not cover claims against matting or crushing.
Don’t be fooled by salespeople who recommend carpets made with polyester. It may be acceptable to buy a carpet made with polyester as long as you know what to expect and don’t pay a lot of money for it. I wouldn't expect to get a life span of more than 5 years on a polyester carpet, regardless of its tuft twist, density rating or warranty claims. I might consider choosing a carpet made of polyester if I wanted to spend as little as possible on a carpet that looks nice for a very short amount of time.
Some carpets are made with a blend of polyester and nylon. Usually a small amount of nylon is added to the mix. They do this to try to make a polyester carpet a little bit more resilient and durable. While this may have a benefit in some situations, I personally do not believe it makes a worthwhile or more valuable product. It's like putting a Mercedes hood ornament on a Ford Fiesta. It doesn't make much sense to me. But carpet makers have long tried to come up with a way to make polyester more durable because it is so cheap to make.
Olefin (also called polypropylene)
Olefin is a very strong fibre. It is often used to make Berber carpets, commercial carpets and outdoor grass carpets. Olefin wears well and has good stain resistance when anti-stain treatment is applied. Olefin also has good anti-static properties. However, Olefin is not easy to keep clean and tends to look dingy when soiled. It has poor resiliency so smaller looped Berber styles wear better than do larger looped styles.
Commercial looped carpets wear very well, as the loops tend to be very small which leaves little room for the loops to become matted or crushed. Wheelchairs roll easily over commercial level loop Olefin carpets that are glued-down without padding and may be a good choice for handicapped areas, hospitals and retirement home applications. When comparing Berber carpets made of Olefin smaller loops, in a tighter weave will yield a longer wearing carpet.
Wool and Wool Blends
Some carpets are offered with a blend of nylon and wool in varying amounts. Usually I see 20% nylon and 80% wool. This gives wool some of the characteristics of nylon like increased resiliency and durability as well as lower cost. This can be a very good blend to consider having.
Wool carpets are considered the most elite of fibres and are the most expensive of all carpet fibres. Wool is a natural fibre and is very soft. It has excellent insulating qualities and is naturally fire resistant. However, wool carpets must be professionally cleaned by specialized carpet cleaning methods and is more expensive to maintain and install than synthetic carpet styles.
Comparing wool carpets based on price and quality can be more difficult because well known brand names can increase the cost dramatically and the quality may be more difficult to determine. If you can afford wool carpets it would be an excellent choice for most people. However, children and pets can be very hard on any carpet so careful consideration should be taken if you have small children or pets prone to having accidents.
Disclaimer: This column is offered as advice only. All care has been taken to ensure that information is correct at time of publishing.
You love the carpet you have chosen for your home and now the question pops up ‘what underlay would you like’ and you think ‘oh no another decision, just give me something good’ BUT before you make a quick decision you should think more about this aspect of your flooring.
Underlay plays a very vital role in your carpet’s performance, comfort levels and appearance with the main purpose being to provide long term comfort and protection for your carpet.
When choosing your underlay think about the kind of household you live in. If you have very heavy traffic with kids who play indoors then consider a denser more supportive cushion. If you have pets you may want antimicrobial protection against mould, bacteria or dust mites.
You will generally choose underlay by density and thickness, the basic guide to follow is that the higher the density and the thickness the more luxurious the feel will be.
Extra benefits of underlay can be:
- Providing thermal insulation keeping your house warmer
- Dampens sound
- Helps you clean your carpet more efficiently
- Maintains the longevity of your carpet
If you start thinking you could save some money on your flooring by reusing your existing underlay, please be wary. Reusing your existing underlay when you replace your carpet may void your new carpet warranty as most manufacturers state that their carpet must be installed to the industry standard. The industry standard states: ‘carpet should never be laid over existing carpet and/or existing underlay as this can cause permanent damage to the new floor covering installation.’
The Consumer magazine August 2012 issue says ‘a good quality underlay prolongs the life of your carpet and makes it feel softer and springier. It also helps sound proof a room and provides extra insulation against heat loss.’
So make sure you take the time to think about what underlay is going to work best for you and your home when you purchase your new carpet.
Thanks for reading :)
Check out my blog next week... I will be blogging about how to choose the right carpet for you
Lots of our customers ask for tips on how to care for their new carpet once it is laid. How are some helpful tips to ensure your carpet and carpets look great for longer.
Caring for your Carpet
No carpet lasts forever, or is 100% stain proof, but with regular care you can add years to the life of your new carpet. Here are some simple guidelines to ensure you protect your investment.
It is important to vacuum your carpet thoroughly and frequently, particularly in high traffic areas.
Vacuuming not only prolongs the life of the carpet, but also enhances its appearance.
After your carpet is laid, vacuum lightly and frequently in the first week to remove surface lint, dust and fluff. Thereafter continue to vacuum thoroughly at least weekly and more frequently in high traffic areas. This will remove soil and grit before it works its way below the surface of the pile where it is far more difficult to remove and can abrade the carpet and dull its appearance.
Three vacuum passes for light soiled areas will suffice while five to seven passes for heavily soiled areas are necessary. Vacuuming first against the natural pile direction lifts the pile helping to unsettle and remove dirt and grit while reducing matting. When finishing, vacuum in the direction of the pile to achieve a uniform finish.
To effectively clean your carpets use only a quality vacuum cleaner. Vacuums fitted with micro filter systems ensure fine particles (such as dustmite allergens) are removed and stay in the collection bag (particularly important if you are dust sensitive). A vacuum with a rotating brush which agitates the pile and loosens the soil is best for low cut pile carpet. To prevent excess fuzzing turn the brush off, or change the head when vacuuming loop pile, cut loop pile or berber carpet. Ensure the vacuum is kept in sound mechanical condition and brushes are cleaned and replaced when worn out. Check and adjust the height of beaters (if fitted) regularly to ensure the carpet is not damaged by excessive beating. Suction efficiency of vacuum cleaners is reduced considerably when bags are half full. Change or empty dust collection bags frequently and replace filters as recommended by the manufacturer.
Carpet is not 100% stain proof, but since many are stain resistant. Prompt and immediate attention to any spillages or stains is paramount to avoid the penetration of a stain into the carpet fibres. Liquids (particularly hot liquids) must be attended to immediately. If allowed to cool or dry, the stain will be almost impossible to remove. Care must be taken as haphazard attempts at spot removal can cause permanent stain setting, pile distortion and loss of colour.
Depending on usage carpet should be professionally steam cleaned every 12 to 18 months. Oily, sticky soil and well-settled soil that vacuums don't remove causes gradual but significant dulling of colours. To remove and revitalize your carpet, use hot water extraction cleaning (steam cleaning).
Steam Cleaning should only be undertaken by a professional carpet cleaner (who is a member of a professional association) in accordance with Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 3733:1995. Shampooing, do-it-yourself steam cleaning or dry cleaning is not recommended.
Other Ways to Protect your Carpet
Door mats – Place mats at all exterior doorways and entrances to carpeted areas to trap dirt and moisture from shoes. Clean mats regularly.
Furniture – Use furniture cups and occasionally rearrange furniture to alleviate pressure marks.
Chair pads should be used under desk chairs with castors. The use of furniture coasters to distribute the weight of heavy items is also recommended, especially for furniture with wheels. Take care when moving furniture with wheels by putting a protective barrier between the wheels and the carpet.
Rugs – Use scatter rugs or carpet protectors in high traffic areas and in front of chairs to protect carpet from localised and uneven wearing. Rugs should be cleaned regularly, at which time you should clean and restore the pile of the carpet underneath. Check rugs for colourfastness before placing them on carpet, as the colour in some rugs may bleed through. After cleaning, allow carpet to dry completely before replacement of rugs.
Chemicals – Exercise extreme caution with all bleaches, tile cleaners, mildew removers, oven cleaners, drain openers, plant food and the like. They are strong chemicals that can permanently discolour or dissolve carpet fibres.
Direct Sunlight – Protect your carpet from prolonged periods of direct sunlight with curtains, blinds or awnings.
You've alway enjoyed the look and feel of carpets. But there's a little voice inside that wonders whether the carpets you choose will hold up to all the wear and tear that life offers. The spills, the stains, the powerful fading of the hot Hamilton sun, and the endless footsteps of kids. Not to mention the marks left on your carpets by heavy furniture when it's time to reorganise your rooms.
That's why Mohawk have developed a revolutionary new range of carpets. SmartStrand is the next generation of carpet fibre that delivers fashion without the fear! Smartstrand is designed to fit the way you live. Made from a renewable polymer, Smartstrand gives your carpets better stain protection, improved durability and better softness, all in one.
Smartstrand is a breakthrough innovation brought to you by Mohawk, one of the most trusted names in carpets and carpet fibres for more than a century. Now instead of worrying about your carpets, you can walk all over it without all the stress!
The Floor Store Hamilton has an exclusive supply agreement that makes us one of the few places in New Zealand where SmartStrand Carpets are available. If you want to check out how exciting this new revolution in the carpet and flooring industry is make sure you visit the Floor Store Hamilton or call and we can demonstrate the benefits of Smartstrand carpets to you.
Don't miss out - SmartStrand is changing the way people think about carpets.
The Team at The Floor Store Hamilton
After years in the Carpet Hamilton industry and helping literally thousands of people with their flooring there is one thing that is very important to getting a great finish in your carpet and flooring. You must understand the lifestyle requirements you have and communicate that to your flooring provider. Better still your carpet hamilton specialists should ask you the right questions when talking with you.
So, the number of people living or working in the building is crucial. A couple living in a modern home with no children or pets can get away with a lighter grade of flooring and still achieve a fantastic look and a long lasting finish. If however, you have a larger family, lots of visitors, you entertain frequently or your children are young (and messy) then you will need a heavier grade to achieve a great and long lasting result. Other important factors to consider here include whether you have pets, do you live the country, does your home have outdoor living, are there stairs and how the design of your home impacts on sunlight and therefore potential fading of your flooring. Make sure your carpet and flooring provider understands all these lifestyle factors so they demonstrate both the appropriate grade of carpet and whether other non-carpet options such as vinyl, timber, laminate or ceramics may be a better option. Sometimes something as simple as increasing the density of your underlay (which costs a relatively small amount) can make all the difference.
So before you decide what and who you are going to use for your carpet in Hamilton make sure you have talked through the different carpet and flooring options. It can make all the difference!
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