Carpet has been a staple in most households for longer than most of us have been alive! The “in” style has fluctuated – from tall, colorful shag carpet to sculpted, muted colors, and now to low-pile, neutral tones. Regardless of the style, it’s easily recognizable as carpet, unlike some flooring types that can be confused with each other. Even with this surface appearance being so obvious for what it is, the fiber-type it’s made up of is not as obvious, and is something you may have never even considered.

There are 5 common fiber types for carpet: PET (Polyester), Nylon, Wool, Olefin (Polypropylene), & Triexta (PTT). While there are more types than this, and even lines that blend two or more of them together, these are the most popular types. Let’s talk about the characteristics of each to help you decide which is the right fit for your home!

  • PET, or Polyester, is made from recycled plastic, making it environmentally friendly and cost effective. What may surprise you to learn is that this is easily a very soft carpet, and its color is resistant to fading. It’s stain resistance is good, but its durability isn’t as impressive as most other fiber types.
  • Olefin (Polypropylene) is sometimes thought of as synthetic wool. It’s often seen in a similar loop or berber style. This fiber is hydrophobic (won’t absorb liquid), so it is nearly impossible to stain, but unfortunately it is also oleophilic (it attracts oils), meaning that any oily spill will be very difficult to clean. Even the oils on the bottom of bare feet can leave residue that will attract dirt. This fiber is usually very inexpensive, but typically not one to last very long.
  • Nylon is arguably the most durable fiber type on the market today. On a molecular level it “bounces back” with hot water extractions. Meaning regular professional cleaning will keep your carpet from showing traffic patterns. Nylon is typically a pretty absorbent fiber, so stain resistance isn’t its strong point. However, technology has improved in its manufacturing so it is now a strong player in the stain resistance category. This fiber type is so popular that it is produced at nearly every price point.
  • Wool is nearly as resilient as Nylon, making it the most durable natural fiber type. It resists being easily “soiled” by dirt – where the dirt attaches to the fibers. However, the fibers are very absorbent so if spills have the chance to settle you are likely to have a stain. The longevity of wool is truly admirable – it’s the carpet type you find in a 100 year old home next to beautiful hardwood and marble. The maintenance in order to achieve that longevity is important though. With investment in a good brand and research on who is qualified to professionally clean it, it can last a lifetime. 
  • Triexta, or PTT, is the newest of all these fiber types. It’s usually considered to be nearly as durable as Nylon. It is also hydrophobic to the point that it was only recently discovered how to truly dye it – previously it only came in varying degrees of beige. This makes it extremely stain resistant. It is also very soft and resistant to color fading. While it’s not usually as inexpensive as Olefin or PET, there’s still a broader range of price points available similar to that of Nylon.

Carpet Fiber Ratings

Ratings on a scale of 1-5, 1 being the worst, 5 being the best. Prices displayed in ranges, $ being least expensive and $$$$$ being the most expensive.

*Stain resistance rating is based on the fiber type itself, but many carpets are treated with stain resistant chemicals. This makes them much more stain resistant, but only for a number of years as eventually this will wear off the surface of the carpet.

We hope this information will help you in choosing the best carpet for your needs! Remember Full Service Flooring is always here to answer your flooring questions. Give us a call (or text) at 252.756.9308 to schedule an appointment to come by our showroom to see all the options in these fibers!