Nylon has a reputation for being the best overall fiber for residential carpet. However, New Generation polyester is giving nylon a good run for its money these days. In years past there has been a negative perception surrounding the performance of polyester carpets. It has had a poor reputation for not holding its texture (crushing/matting), for always being a staple fiber and for not being as soft to the hand. Well, now you can put those concerns to rest. With New Generation polyesters you will find a wide variety of carpet styles that have superior performance.
Texture retention has always been the biggest concern with polyester carpets. The New Generation polyesters have been reengineered so that the fibers interlock as they are twisted in the manufacturing process. They are then heat set. This new process is allowing many manufacturers to offer texture retention warranties equal to or greater than many of the leading nylon carpets.
Many people are still under the impression that polyester carpets are only manufactured as a staple fiber. This means that the carpet will shed for several months after installation. This is simply untrue. Many polyester carpets are being manufactured as a BCF (Bulk Continuous Filament) fiber. This means that the carpet will not shed at all. Staple fiber is a series of short fibers 6 to 7 inches in length spun together to form one continuous filament. Then several of these are twisted together to form a strand of yarn. BCF fiber is a continuous filament manufactured as one long string. These are twisted and heat set together to form a strand of yarn. You can tell if it is a BCF fiber by simply tugging on the carpet pile and seeing if there is any fiber loss. If there is no fiber loss then it is BCF.
Pile fiber represents greater than 80% of the cost of most residential carpet. Therefore differences in price between carpet styles usually can be attributed to differences in fiber. In comparing price alone, a polyester fiber could be one-third less than the cost of a comparable nylon product. In many cases polyester fiber is made from recycled material such as plastic soda bottles and water bottles. This keeps the cost of manufacturing low and helps our environment, Go Green!
You will not have to compromise comfort for value anymore. Nowadays, you will find polyester carpets to be much more silky and soft then you would in the past. This is due to how the polyester fiber is refined in the manufacturing process.
Polyester fiber has always been known for its extraordinary stain resistance. Manufacturers have managed to further enhance the stain durability by using the solution dye method when dyeing most polyester fibers. You have to be careful about the fiber you buy. Most fiber on the market is stock-dyed, meaning its pigment is only on the surface (like a radish). The fiber is manufactured clear and then the color is applied. Over time, this can result in the color changing, fading and makes it more susceptible to staining. The Solution-dyeing process is when the color is manufactured into and throughout the fiber (like a carrot). The dye is added when the fiber is at a molten stage. This gives the fiber consistent and durable color that stands up in tough environments, such as sustained direct sunlight, abrasion or chemical exposure. Let’s not forget to mention the most common culprits, kids and pets.
It should be emphasized that there is no perfect fiber and carpet is a fabric that is subjected to incredible abuse through foot traffic, accidental spills, environmental contaminants, and other abuses. This being said, polyester has been developed into a great fiber that offers exceptional performance at an outstanding value. You should have no apprehension about selecting a carpet made with polyester fiber.