Several Factors Determine Carpet Quality
October 24, 2012 - Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »
Today's tip is to know what goes into the quality of a carpet. The major factors to consider are fiber, pile and color, backing, and density.
Nylon and olefin are the two leading carpet fibers used in commercial applications, while wool is the leading natural fiber. Nylon fibers are extremely strong and flexible. The naturally hard surface offers excellent wearability and resilience, but it cannot dissipate static electricity, which could damage sensitive electronic equipment. To reduce static, manufacturers add carbonized fiber to the nylon yarn.
Olefin is less expensive than nylon but not as hard or crush-resistant. It offers excellent resistance to moisture and resists fading, chemicals and stains. One of the biggest drawbacks of olefin fibers is their low melting point; the friction when objects are dragged across the carpet can damage the fibers. But olefin does not generate static electricity.
Wool is the most expensive. Its fibers are durable, resisting both crushing and matting. It is not stain-resistant, but it hides dirt very well.
The two basic types of piles are cut pile and loop pile. In cut pile construction, the fibers are cut at the top surface of the carpet. In general, cut piles are not as durable as looped piles, for which individual strands of yarn are looped through the backing. Carpets with short, tightly packed loops are effective dirt-blockers.
Backing materials provide strength and stability. Backings are available with a moisture barrier designed to keep fluid spills from seeping through.
Another measure of quality is 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. Also, the number of yarn tufts in one row of one inch of carpet, known as the stitches per inch, will vary with the quality of the carpet. Face weight measures the yarn’s face fiber. For high quality carpet, face weight is typically 32 ounces per square yard or higher.
A carpet's density measures the weight of the pile yarn corrected for the height of the yarn. For most commercial applications, a carpet density of 4,000 to 7,000 is considered suitable, with high-traffic areas requiring densities of 5,000 or more.