10 Tips for Understanding Carpet Labels

Fiber Type
Fiber type describes what the carpet is made of.
Fiber type describes what the carpet is made of.
©iStockphoto.com/Beyez Gazetesi

Perhaps the most important aspects of a carpet is what material it's made of. And you have a raft of options when it comes to fiber type. Here's a rundown of the most common materials:

  • Nylon. The most popular choice, nylon is moderately priced, durable, easy to clean and has decent stain resistance. Nylon carpet has moderate resistance to fading in the sun, but it'll fade after prolonged exposure.
  • Polyester. One of the cheapest options, polyester won't fade in the sunlight and offers good stain resistance. The biggest drawback: It isn't durable. However, the new PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) polyester is stronger than the traditional version.
  • Wool. Generally considered to make the best quality carpet for appearance and feel, wool is relatively expensive. It can offer rich colors but will fade in direct sunlight. Wool can also wear down more easily than some synthetics, and has poor resistance to mold and mildew.
  • Olefin. Another name for polypropylene, olefin is inexpensive, won't fade (if chemically treated) and has great stain resistance (except for oily stains). It also is comparatively resistant to moisture, mildew and static. It's decently durable, but not as soft or resilient as other fiber choices.
  • Acrylic. The advantage of acrylic is that it looks and feels more like wool than any of the other synthetics. However, it's a little more expensive than nylon and can tend to pill and fuzz.

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