Hello. My name is Ian Nicol and I am the President of Tartan Homes
Tartan’s Design Centre team recently completed training with our carpet manufacturing representative. Our Design Centre Manager reviewed the training session with me and I am pleased to share with you what we learned.
Firstly, I acknowledge that carpeting may not be the most exciting topic in the world. However, it continues to be used as a finishing floor material in our new homes and it is worthwhile to understand this product. When I started at the company 20+ years ago carpet was manufactured with either polyester or nylon. Back then the notion was simple: nylon is more durable than polyester so nylon carpet was the preferred choice.
My how have things changed! Here is what I have learned about carpeting:
1) Carpet fiber attributes are based on the following:
- Fiber strength
- Appearance retention,
- Stain Resistance,
- Soil Resistance,
- Resistance to Household Cleaners
- Available colours
2) Carpet materials:
Olefin – Is very fade resistant and moisture resistant making it ideal for finished basements. Unfortunately the colour options are limited with this material. It also has a shorter life span than some other carpet materials depending on the use and traffic in the home. A ten year life span is typical. While it cleans well the fibres do not bounce back to the original shape like other carpet fibres do
Polyester – Polyester carpets have a luster or sheen to the carpet. They may appear slightly shiny. Polyester is stain resistant and does not require any stain treatment to protect it. Many polyester carpets are made with “P.E.T polyester “, which is made from recycled plastic pop and water bottles. Therefore, P.E.T. Polyester carpets are an environmentally friendly choice. Polyester also offers excellent colour choice and very good restoration qualities as it bounces back well after professional carpet cleaning. Polyester has a lot of bulk so it feels fuller underfoot. For example a 32 oz. polyester carpet will have the same feel as a 50 oz. olefin fibre carpet. Over 60% of carpets manufactured today use polyester fibre.
Nylon – Is a material created by DuPont. Nylon carpets do not have a luster or sheen like Polyester carpets; they have a more matte appearance. Nylon can stain so nylon carpets are always made with topical stain treatment to protect them from staining (e.g. Stainmaster of Scotchguard). This topical treatment can wear off or wash off with repeated steam cleaning and needs to be reapplied by your professional steam cleaning company after a period of time. However, Nylon is considered more durable and long wearing because the fibre retains its texture appearance over time as it does not flatten or crush easily. Nylon also has a positive environmental story. There are two types of nylon to make carpet. One of these types, Nylon 6 is a “cradle to cradle “ fiber, meaning the carpet can be recycled directly back into new carpets again and again rather than having to be recycled into auto parts and other materials.
Triexta – This is the newest carpet fibre on the market. The company that we carry, Mohawk, has a brand name for this carpet called Smartstrand. Mohawk’s product Smartstrand with Dupont Sorona is corn based. Corn sugar is used in the manufacturing process to create a polymer. Using corn sugar replaces the use of petroleum based products. Triexta fiber is so stain resistant that spills from red wine, coffee, and mustard for example do not stain the carpet or affect the colour. Pouring bleach on the carpet does not affect the colour either. This carpet can be cleaned using only water or a mild detergent.
It’s only carpets made with staple fibres that shed initially. Carpets that are made with BCF (Bulk Continuous Filament) fibres do not shed because the yarns are spun from long strands/filaments of fibres rather than short pieces that have been spun together into yarn. Staple fibres are short pieces spun together. Most manufactures are getting rid of staple fibres and starting to use BCF fibres only.
At Tartan we offer many carpet styles that contain these great fibres. For example our standard carpet is a 40 oz. p-lush made from the BCF Nylon mentioned above.
Carpet produces less off-gassing or that “new” smell that is common in a new home or new automobile. While carpeting may not be the choice for everyone it does provide a warm and comfortable indoor environment. Furthermore the sound absorbing qualities of carpet are appealing to some; especially in the open concept style homes that are very popular today.