Durability. For many homeowners the most important factor in choosing a Carpet is durability. Especially if your home sees a lot of foot traffic, you want to know that the Carpet you choose will stand the test of time. However, with many factors affecting a Carpet’s resilience, it is a bit difficult to anticipate how long it will last. In this blog I will explain how fiber type, stain resistance, construction, density and face weight all combine together to determine a Carpet’s durability.
The main threat to a Carpet’s lifespan is the wear caused by heavy foot traffic. Carpet that has been worn over time takes on a crushed look. Its fibers lose their ability to rebound and the liveliness of the Carpet dies. Carpet’s second big threat is spills. A potent liquid like red wine or pet urine can permanently damage carpet if it is not sufficiently stain resistant. A Carpet’s durability therefore has two subcategories:
- Stain Resistance – the ability of the fibers to resist permanent staining
- Resilience – the ability of the fibers to resist crushing and perpetually bounce back
A Carpet’s ability to resist stain is mostly determined by the type of fiber it is made with. Of all the fiber types available, Polyester, Smartstrand and treated Nylon are the most stain resistant. Polyester has no dye sites, so it does not absorb staining liquids. The same is true of Smartstrand, which is a hybrid fiber created by Dupont and sold by Mohawk. Untreated Nylon will absorb spills and could stain, but if it is a quality Nylon, it will have been treated with a stain resistant protection, like Stainmaster.
Fiber – So far, Polyester, Smartstrand and treated Nylon are still in the race. But when it comes to resilience, Polyester falls short- its fibers crush more easily than Nylon or Smartstrand. Nylon and Smartstrand fibers bounce back quite well and will stand up against foot traffic for years.
Style – An important, but oft overlooked aspect of a Carpet’s durability is its style. Different styles are bound and sheered in different ways, and this greatly affects their durability. The main styles are: ‘cut pile,’ ‘cut & loop,’ ‘multi-level loop’ or ‘frieze.’ Of the four, multi level loop and cut & loop are more durable because their fibers are bound together in loops. Kind of like when penguins huddle together during a snow storm: fibers of a loop carpet are huddled together and so less prone to abrasion and crushing. Strength in numbers.
‘Density’ & ‘Face Weight’ – These aspects are far less obvious than the carpet’s fiber and style, but they are equally important factors in determining a Carpet’s durability. Their definitions:
- Density – how close the fibers are tufted together
- Face Weight – the weight of the fibers within one square yard
Generally speaking, the higher the face weight and the higher the density, the more resilient your Carpet will be. Most higher-end treated Nylon and Smartstrand will have high Density and Face-Weight values. If taken any farther, the conversation gets a bit too technical for the scope of this blog. So when you come into our showroom, ask a sales representatives for specifics.
So long story short, the most durable Carpet will have:
- treated Nylon or Smartstrand fibers
- a Berber or Cut & Loop style
- a ‘high face weight’ and ‘fiber density’
If you have any more questions about the most durable Carpets, send us an email or give us a call. Better yet, if you live in Calgary and you’re in the flooring market, stop by our showroom at 525 58th Avenue SE. The Floorscapes team has as much experience as we do passion: combined, we have over 150 years in the world of Calgary flooring. We offer our knowledge, our expertise and our aesthetic sensibility in order to help you create a space that you will love.
Written by guest author Eric Osborne.