How well a carpet performs over its life can depend on a variety of factors. But ultimately, the carpet quality is a function of carpet construction. When evaluating carpet quality the major factors to consider are carpet fiber, carpet pile and color, carpet backing and carpet density.
Carpet is just one of the many flooring choices for a home. When
trying to decide whether or not to purchase carpet, it is important to
consider design, price, comfort, sustainability, and whether or not it
is ideal for the installation location.
managers have the option of installing carpet that uses natural or
synthetic fibers. Nylon and olefin are the two leading carpet fibers
used in commercial applications, while wool is the leading natural fiber
in use. Synthetic fibers in general offer greater fiber strength and
resistance to soiling, but there are applications where wool is the
fiber of choice.
The Impact of Color and Carpet Pile on Carpet Quality
There are two major ways in which color is added to carpet fibers:
solution dyeing and stock dyeing. In solution dyeing, the color pigment
is added to the yarn during the manufacturing process, resulting in
color that extends throughout the yarn material. This gives the fibers
outstanding resistance to fading and excellent color stability, making
them well-suited for applications where the carpet may be exposed to
sunlight, bleach or harsh detergents.
When fibers are stock
dyed, the pigments are added to the yarn after they have been
manufactured but before they are turned into spun yarn. It is a lower
cost process than solution dyeing, with only a slight decrease in fiber
performance. A wider range of colors are available for carpets that have
been stock dyed.
Carpet Backing Options
Backing materials also help determine the performance of carpet by
providing strength and stability. Nearly 90 percent of commercial carpet
is tufted. In tufted carpet construction, the yarn is stitched through a
backing fabric and locked in place with a latex coating. To provide
additional strength, additional backing materials, such as polypropylene
and jute, are added.
Both polypropylene and jute are strong,
resilient and durable. Polypropylene offers better mildew resistance,
making it better suited for applications in damp or high humidity
Backings are available with a moisture barrier
designed to keep fluid spills from seeping through and causing damage to
the sub-floor or creating conditions that would support the growth of
mildew. Moisture barrier backings are best suited for applications where
the potential exists for frequent spills, such as eating areas.
Other Carpet Quality Measures
Another measure of quality is the yarn count, the amount of yarn needed
to fill a given length of carpet. The higher the yarn count, the finer
the yarn used in the construction of the carpet.
number of yarn tufts installed in one row of one inch of carpet, known
as the stitches per inch, will vary with the quality of the carpet. In
general, the higher the number of stitches per inch, the higher the
quality and the greater the durability of the carpet.
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