The Lowdown on Carpets
You might want to know a little more about the different types of carpet to find the ideal floor covering for most rooms in your home. Follow these tips.
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Do you have happy feet? Take off your shoes and walk on a plush, resilient carpet. Oh, that feels good. Being the ideal floor covering for most rooms in your home, you might want to know a little more about the different types of carpet.
There are three basic fibers used: wool, nylon and olefin.
- Wool: Mother Nature provides us with the best fiber for carpet. Wool is the most durable, resists stains and is naturally resilient. The durability is there because wool is a tough fiber that can take a beating without loosing strength. Dust, dirt and oil-based stains wash off easily because wood naturally releases the soil rather than absorbing it. High traffic situations do not harm its resilience, as this carpet is quick on its 'feet' and bounces back into position. With all those benefits, you will understand why this is the most expensive fiber for carpet.
- Nylon: Next to wool, nylon is the strongest fiber for floor covering available today. It has exceptional resilience, is abrasion-resistant and retains its texture well. The latest nylon carpets made resist soil, too. The nylon fiber is usually dyed before the filament is extruded, rendering it essentially colorfast. Remember when you would walk across a nylon-carpeted room to turn the television on, usually getting an electrical shock on contact with the TV dial? Now most nylon carpets are made with the addition of carbon fibers that eliminate the static that caused that shock. Nylon carpets are almost always less expensive than wool.
- Olefin: This material is often used for indoor/outdoor carpets and for commercial use such as in hospitals, hotels, etc. It is very durable and virtually impervious to stains. Oily-type soils are attracted to this fiber but they clean easily as the olefin withstands strong detergents. Some even claim to withstand bleach. Olefin carpets are the least expensive of the three fibers.
As you can imagine, nylon carpet is the best seller, taking 75 percent of the market share. Olefin comes in second with a 22 percent claim on the market. Wool, being the elite, caters to the chosen few taking up the remaining 3 percent of the buyers.
How are carpets made? Tufting and weaving are the two primary methods. About 90 percent of domestic carpets are mechanically tufted. Tufting machines punch yarns through a backing to form a looped pile, which is then either cut for a plush look or left in a loop. The tufted carpet is then backed with a layer of latex to secure the yarns in place and then another backing of jute or other synthetic material is bonded to the latex to give the carpet stability.
Woven carpet is generally more expensive than the machine tufted one because it is more labor-intensive. In some cases skilled workers monitor complex looms that carry dozens of spools of various colored yarns. In other situations, a digital computer monitors the loom. Unlike the tufted variety, the pile, or face of the carpet, and the backing are created at the same time, interlocking the fibers structurally in the weaving process. This gives the carpet a longer life.
— For a copy of How to buy Carpet, send $2 plus a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope to L&M Publications, PMB 229, PO Box 413005, Naples, and Fl. 34103-3005. Be sure to mention the title.
(Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, a Naples Interior Designer, is the author of a newly released title, Mystery of Color, available at Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Amazon.com.)