What is the difference between the various types of carpet fibers?

Most carpets produced today consist of one of the five main types of fibers: polypropylene (olefin), nylon, polyester, acrylic, and wool. Each have their own strengths and weaknesses, as explained in the following table:

Comments Wool Nylon Polypropylene Olefin Acrylic Modacrylic' Polyester
Resiliency -- Determined by fiber structure and modifications. Good to excellent Excellent Excellent Fair to excellent Good to excellent
Abrasion Resistance -- Determined by fiber and density of face fiber -- the more tightly packed the yarns, the more resistant to wear. Good to excellent Excellent Excellent Fair to excellent Good to excellent
Soil & Stain Resistance/Cleanability -- Determined by color, texture, dyes, fiber structure and modifications. Good to excellent Good to excellent Good if oily soils and stains are treated promptly. Good Good to excellent -- oily stains should be promptly treated.
Resistance to Sunlight -- Determined by fiber structure and modifications. Poor -- If protected from ultraviolet rays, degradation does not occur as rapidly. Good -- special dyes may be used to inhibit sun damage. Loses strength and deteriorates unless chemically modified to resist sunlight damage. Excellent resistance. Prolonged exposure may cause deterioration in some pieces. Good -- may weaken with prolonged exposure.
Static -- Determined by fiber structure and modification. Builds up in low humidity unless modified. Builds up in low humidity unless modified. Builds up in low humidity but at a lower level than nylon or polyester Builds up in low humidity unless modified. Builds up in low humidity unless modified.
Hand Warm, soft Varies from warm and soft to cold and coarse. Waxy, soft Warm, soft Varies -- finer deniers are soft and silky.
Resistance to Mildew --Determined by fiber structure and modifications Poor if damp or soiled. Fiber may be modified Excellent Excellent Excellent
Flammability -- Determined by fiber structure, modification, construction methods, dyes, padding and carpet installation methods.

Credit: www.carpetbuyershandbook.com
Burns slowly indirect flame; considered self-extinguishing. Burning hair odor. Burns slowly, melts in direct flame; self-extinguishing. Structure may alter what occurs. Celery-like odor. Melts at low temperatures (170テつーC); burns and emits heavy, sooty, waxy smoke. Paraffin wax odor. Pulling a heavy object across the carpet surface can cause enough friction to melt the carpet fibers. Acrylic burns readily unless modified. Modacrylics are difficult to ignite, will not support combustion, are self-extinguishing and dripless. Acrid odor for both. Burns slowly, melts; some are self-extinguishing. Chemical odor.

Which carpet pad should I choose?

Carpet pad, sometimes called carpet cushion, is designed to serve as an underlayment for most types of carpet. Besides helping make a carpeted floor more comfortable, carpet padding also helps extend the life of a carpet and serves as a means of insulation and noise reduction. For cut pile carpets, it is recommended that the pad be no thicker than 7/16" and no thicker than 3/8" for berber and commercial carpets. This is because thicker padding can cause the carpet to bend and flex excessively, which in turn causes the backing to break down prematurely, greatly reducing the life of the carpet.

Choose a carpet pad that is rather firm and review the density of the pad. For light-traffic residential applications, the carpet pad should have a density of at least 5 pounds per cubic foot. For higher traffic areas, it's recommended that the pad have a density of at least 6.5 pounds per cubic foot, while all commercial applications require a density of 12 to 14 pounds per cubic foot. As with anything else, the better the quality of the carpet pad, the higher the cost, but the better performance and longer carpet life you will receive.

What is the difference between ceramic and porcelain tile?

Both ceramic and porcelain tiles are made from the same basic substances: clay, quartz, ferrous sand materials, and water. The difference between porcelain tile and regular ceramic tile is that the clay used in porcelain tile is more refined and purified. As a result, porcelain tiles are denser than standard ceramic tiles. This makes porcelain tiles more durable and ideal for harsher applications such as flooring. Additionally, because of the higher density, porcelain tiles are less likely to absorb moisture, which makes them more resistant to staining and cracking. This is also why porcelain tiles are ideal for outdoor applications, especially in areas that are susceptible to harsher weather conditions such as freezing.

What is the difference between solid hardwood flooring and engineered wood?

Solid hardwood flooring is produced as a long solid piece of wood, as the name implies. It is typically milled in 3/4" thick planks. Because it is a solid piece of wood, hardwood flooring can be sanded and refinished a number of times. However, because it is natural solid wood, it is susceptible to expansion and contraction with changes in weather and humidity. Solid hardwood flooring is installed over plywood or OSB but should not be installed over concrete.

Engineered wood flooring is composed of 3 to 5 separate layers of wood. The layers are stacked with the wood grain in alternating directions, then glued under heat and pressure, resulting in a very strong product. Engineered wood flooring is generally between 1/4" to 1/2" thick and because of the way it is produced, it does not expand and contract with changes in weather as solid hardwood does. This makes engineered hardwood flooring suitable for installation over concrete in addition to other rooms and floors.

What exactly is laminate flooring?

Laminate flooring is a product typically composed of four layers of synthetic, man-made materials: the bottom or backing layer, the inner core layer, the image layer, and the top wear layer. The image layer is made with a high-resolution image and is responsible for the look and style of the flooring. The result is a product that closely resembles the look and even the texture of wood or tile. Laminate flooring is a popular option in flooring today because it is attractive, durable, easy to install, and is a cost-effective alternative to hardwood or tile.

If you have any additional questions about flooring or about any of the products that we carry, please don't hesistate to contact us. You can call us at (504) 838-0009 or send us a message via our contact form.