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11/11/2008 12:00:00 AM
Compiled by FacilitiesNet Staff
While nylon is the most common carpet fiber used in commercial carpet these days, there are other options. Olefin carpet is the most popular alternative to nylon. But where is olefin carpet a better choice than nylon?
Olefin or polypropylene fibers are most frequently used in applications having special requirements, including resistance to fading from sunlight and to chemical spills. Olefin's resistance to building up a static electrical charge makes it the carpet of choice in or near applications such as computer rooms, where static electricity could damage electronic equipment.
Compared to nylon, olefin can cost as much as 20 percent less, says Dave Stafford, vice president of Commercial Carpets of America and chair of the trustees of the Floor Covering Installation Board.
There is a trade-off, however, as olefin is more likely to crush and look worn. Olefin fibers are not as hard as nylon fibers, nor are they as resilient. To prevent crushing, manufacturers tend to keep the pile in olefin carpets low. Olefin fibers have a relatively low melting point and can be easily damaged by friction generated by simply dragging a heavy piece of equipment across the carpet.
There can also be an extra maintenance cost. While olefin fibers are stain resistant, the fibers tend to hold more dirt than nylon fibers. It might be necessary to clean carpets made of olefin fibers more frequently to prevent damage to the surface of the fibers from dirt abrasion.
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