A few years ago choosing a carpet didn’t involve all of the technical aspects of what fibe the product is made of. Most people went for wool with a few Nylons and Polyprop products being sold in NZ. Today there are many other fibre types and wool makes up well below 20% of all the carpets being installed. All of the fibre types have a place in carpet and below is a summary to help make your decision a little easier.
Wool is the traditional carpet fibre choice of Kiwis and given we grow the best wool in the world it makes sense. But less and less carpet is being which in part has led to our 70 million sheep having recently reduced to under 30 million sheep. Overseas wool carpets make up a very small portion of carpet sales and are generally the very high end and expensive carpets. In NZ they are very affordable and economically comparable to most other carpets. Wool stains and fades more than a lot of Synthetic fibre options but it still is a great choice for carpet given that:
- Its 100% natural and grown right here in NZ so you’re supporting our farmers
- It’s a great environmental choice being 100% sustainable
- Once you’re eventually finished with it you know it will biodegrade
- Its fire resistant
- It’s breathable and helps regulate humidity
- It’s warm
The Flooring Room have a huge range of Wool carpets to check out.
Nylon (Solution Dyed Nylon / SDN)
Nylon has been the big growth fibre in NZ over the past 15 years. Nylon comes in two main types – “White Nylon” that is then dyed the colour and Solution Dyed where the synthetic material is the same colour all the way through (think radish vs carrot). Internationally “White Nylon” is sold more than “Solution Dyed Nylon” into domestic situations with SDN being more reserved for commercial situations. In NZ however SDN performs better in our harsh sunlight so makes up more than 95% of the Nylon being sold. If you are looking at a Nylon product chances are it’s a Solution Dyed Nylon.
Nylon absorbs 5% of its weight in moisture and given that most stains are waterborne can stain but can be cleaned quite harshly and most stains come out.
When it comes to SDN Carpets The Flooring Room deal with all the major manufacturers – Feltex, Norman Ellison, Godfrey Hirst and others.
Polyester is the biggest fibre type sold into domestic situations worldwide but in NZ still only makes up a small portion of installations. It’s extremely stain and fade resistant but less crush resistant which means the construction of the carpet is important to ensure it will perform.
Like Nylon, Polyester carpets are manufactured as white carpets (which are then dyed) or solution dyed where the colour goes all the way through the fibre (again radish vs carrot).
Many of the Polyester carpets at The Flooring Room have recycled content.
This is the new fibre type of the last ten years originally developed by Dupont. Unlike other synthetic carpet fibres that come entirely from petro-chemical sources 37% of Triexta is derived from renewably sourced biopolymer from Corn. Triexta comes in both white form (that is then dyed) and Solution Dyed with the colour going all the way through the fibre (think radish vs carrot).
The Flooring Room stock a massive amount of NZ and Australian made Triexta carpets from both Godfrey Hirst and Feltex. Triexta has even better stain and fade resistance than Polyester carpets (so is about as good as it gets) but also have very good resilience (similar to Nylon).
Polypropylene/Olefin (Solution Dyed)
Polypropylene carpets have traditionally been lower cost loop pile carpets. As a loop pile they are extremely hard wearing but because they have not been very soft they typically were only used in rental properties or lower cost commercial installations. The Polyprop fibres today are vastly improved and are being used more and more in luxury cut pile products but are still among the cheaper of the carpet fibre types.