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  • Stain Resistant Carpet and Warranties

    One of the biggest problems that can happen with any home furnishing, flooring included, is getting a stain. Whether you've had it for a decade or for a day, a bad stain can instantly ruin your floor if not properly treated. Of course, different materials require different care.

    Polyester / Olefin Carpets and Stains

    Olefin/Polypropylene carpets protect against soil and mud, water cannot penetrate them, and they are naturally resistant to stains that discolor the carpet. These carpets can also be cleaned with almost any chemical-based cleaner without damaging the carpet. However, they strongly attract oil and grease. Crayons, lipstick, ink, motor oil, or any number of grease-based stains can become deeply set stains, so avoid this material in rooms where grease is most likely to be, like the kitchen, dining room or in front of a main entryway (especially if it leads from a garage). It also has a low melting point, so spilling boiling water or other very hot materials can seriously and permanently damage the carpet. It is also susceptible to wicking, a term for when deep set stains appear to be gone, but residue remains and eventually comes back up to the surface.

    [url=compare.php?n=FIBR&v=Polyester&f=3&t=1]P.E.T. Polyester[/url] fiber has many of the same properties as olefin. It protects against soil and mud, is water-repellant, and does not easily absorb stains with strong dyes. It is also prone to wicking. However, it is not quite as susceptible to grease stains and olefin and has a higher melting point, so it isn't as easily damaged by heat. Additionally, certain chemicals that don't harm olefin can damage polyester, so be careful.

    Nylon Carpets and Staining

    Nylon is its basic form is one of the least effective materials in preventing stain damage. It is resistant to soil and mud, but is more susceptible to absorb moisture damage, and is not naturally stain resistant. However, most nylons have stain resistant treatments applied to the carpet or the fibers that makes them much more resistant to discoloration (though not as much as olefin or polyester), and solution-dyed nylon goes a step further, making it even more resistant to permanent discoloration. Additionally, it does not attract grease like olefin, and it has a very high melting point. As a result, nylon (with proper stain treatment) is probably the most durable carpet material besides wool, and can go anywhere except areas with a lot of moisture or chemical cleaners like a poolhouse, kitchen, bathroom or laundry room. Generally, nylon is easy to clean, but can be damaged by strong chemicals like bleach, so be sure to review proper care instructions for your carpet.

    A Note About Wool Carpet Stains

    Wool is one of the most naturally stain resistant materials available. It resists most stains and soil damage, water beads off of it, and has an extremely high melting point, so it is not susceptible to damage from fire or boiling water. However, special care must be taken with a wool carpet. For example, although most stains won't affect them, if you spill an extremely hot material with a strong color like coffee on wool carpet, then try to blot it up and clean it with cool water, that will permanently dye the carpet fibers the color of the stain. Additionally, most carpet cleaners are far too strong to clean wool carpet, and can actually destroy it. So if you select a wool carpet, be sure to be careful when trying to remove a stain, and don't be afraid to call an experienced carpet cleaning professional.

    A Guide to a Carpet Warranty

    Carpet warranties can be extremely complicated. There are multiple types of warranties on each carpet, and the number of years can vary for each one. Here is an explanation for many of the warranties you'll see on carpet:
    These are extremely general guidelines. Not all these warranties will apply to every product. Warranty terms vary from product to product, and you should always check to find your carpet's specific warranty information.


    Guarantees that the carpet will not generate a noticeable amount of static electricity (5 kilovolts or less).

    Wear / Abrasive Wear

    Guarantees that the carpet will not lose fibers (more than 10% of its total weight) from heavy traffic. This ONLY applies to normal foot or shoe traffic, and wear or damage caused by any other factors are usually not covered.

    Manufacturing Defects / Quality Assurance

    Guarantees that the manufacturer will replace areas in your carpet featuring defects caused by the manufacturer. Typically, these defects must be inspected by an appointed representative first. And most of these warranties specifically exclude any sort of damage caused after installation like crushing, moisture damage, fading, or tufts of yarn that fall out. In fact, if your carpet has been installed improperly, if the defects were noticeable enough to have been detected by a professional before installation, or if you have not maintained the carpet exactly as instructed, your carpet will almost always not be covered by the warranty.

    Texture Retention

    Guarantees against the carpet's tufts losing their twist, coming undone or bursting open. This does not usually include matting, crushing, pilling or problems caused by anything other than simple foot traffic. Additionally, it does not usually cover carpet installed on stairs.

    Stain Resistance

    Guarantees against staining from most common food and beverage stains. Does not include stains coming from non-food and non-beverage items, like pet stains, vomit stains, bleach, makeup, etc. It also does not usually include substances with strong dyes like mustard, curry, herbal tea, etc., though some very advanced warranties will cover any type of staining.

    Soil Resistance

    Guarantees that the carpet will not stain from dry soil caused by normal foot traffic. Does not include any materials other than dry soil, does not include anything other than stains. Additionally, you must have followed all recommended maintenance and installation guides, including bringing a professional carpet cleaner to attempt to remove the stain. If you do all that and contact them within a certain time frame, and they decide that the stain is covered, they'll repair or replace the affected area of your carpet.

  • Colors and Patterns of Carpeting

    If you asked any carpet salesman in the country what people look for first in a carpet, the answer would invariably be the same: Color! People care about durability and value, but many will trade a higher quality or lower priced floor for another simply because they like the pattern or the color. Because this factor is so important, it is equally important to understand a few things about how carpet styles and dyes work.

    Color and Dyeing Carpets

    Carpet is easily one of the most versatile floor coverings available, and has the widest selection. The reason is because while other floors like laminate, hardwood or vinyl are typically limited to products that have a short range of texture and can only be made affordably with a set number of patterns and colors, carpet can offer nearly any color or design you can think of. Just about any laminate or vinyl flooring will have patterns that appear beige, black or white, but only carpet can offer flooring that can be colored fluorescent green, bright red, or canary yellow and still look good. Of course, carpet is not limited to outrageous colors. Carpet is also one of the number one choices for anyone looking for an understated or informal appearance. Carpeting can make as big or small a fashion statement as you want to make.

    Why Color Can Affect More Than Appearance

    There are a few things to remember when selecting a color for your room, however. First, dark-colored floors show far less dirt and staining than light-colored floors. So if you're decorating a child's bedroom, stairway or entryway, bright white or vivid color carpeting may be a poor choice. But a muted medium or dark shade will help hide dirt until the next time you vacuum. Secondly, you have to consider what kind of mood you want to set. If you're decorating an office or den, bright colors might be off-putting or distracting. Likewise, if you're decorating a sunroom, dark colors could dampen the overall feeling of the room. Reds, yellows or oranges give the room an energized feel, blues, greens or purples make the room feel more intimate and relaxed. Natural or neutral colors like white, beige, brown or muted shades have a calming effect. So be sure not just to pick a floor that fits the color, pick one that fits the room as well.

    Dye Techniques

    It's also important to remember that carpet is made from individual strands of yarn, and that it must be dyed at some point to create the right color. As a result, slight differences in dye methods or production processes can mean that each roll of carpet won't look exactly the same. Typically, solid color carpets look best when the yarn has been dyed before being attached to the carpet, and multicolored or patterned carpets will normally be dyed after being attached. Generally, carpet dyed after being attached is also less expensive. One particular dye method is notable, though. Solution-dyed yarn is dyed before the yarn fibers are even spun. Carpets that have been solution-dyed are colorfast, will not fade under normal conditions and are more difficult to stain, so (especially if you are selecting a solid color carpet) it is definitely an option to consider, particularly in a room that receives a lot of sunlight.

    Carpet Textures and Patterns

    Because carpeting is one of the few floors that offers a tremendous range of patterns and styles, you have a range of options. The majority of carpets sold to homeowners have one solid color, but if you want a little more personality, a patterned carpet can add just the perfect touch to a room, so you should have an idea of the options available. Most common are berbers or precision cut/uncut carpets, which feature a wide variety of simple designs, mostly geometric, floral, diamonds, swirls, squares or recreations of historic patterns. If you're looking for a more complicated design, like a detailed floral design or complex geometric pattern you'll likely need to look at printed patterned saxony carpet.

    Cut Pile / Twist Carpet Patterns

    First of all, if you want a saxony or twisted carpet, the fibers can't be noticeably textured or layered, so your options can be a bit limited.

    Most saxonies don't feature a pattern. Most basic saxonies and all textured saxony or plush carpets are one solid color, but some basic saxonies feature what is called a printed pattern. These carpets can be made to match any picture or photo, and a good example would be rugs featuring the logo of a sports team. Seen a lot in commercial settings like hotels, airports or convention centers, printed patterns are either solution-dyed or use a dye method applied after the carpet has been made to create a multicolored pattern on very short, tight tufts of fiber. Printed carpets that aren't solution dyed are generally cheaply made, so they are not generally recommended. Solution-dyed printed patterns are more durable and more popular. Always consider your options, though. If you're looking for a particular pattern but want a stronger carpet, it could be more to your advantage to buy a strong neutral-colored carpet and accent it with an area rug instead.

    Twisted yarn carpets like friezes or shags are not available with printed patterns, because the fibers are spaced out. But many styles come in both solid colors and in a berber fleck design, meaning that there are little "flecks" of color scattered randomly across the carpet. These carpets can be a popular choice in high-traffic areas with a relaxed setting, since the scatter pattern and darker colors hide dirt and dust extremely well. Shags can have styles with berber flecking as well, but shag uses tufts of fiber with varying twists and sizes anyway, so the effect of hiding dirt is not necessarily enhanced with a berber fleck pattern.

    Cut pile carpet can also feature solution-dyed yarn with variances in color that produce an interesting design. Some have yarn that has a slight variance in color to give a more textured appearance, and others can have yarn that fades from one color to a lighter or darker shade, which produces an equally interesting effect. If you want a soft cut pile carpet with a distinctive look, be sure to explore your options.

    Berber / Cut/Uncut Carpet Patterns

    The majority of carpeting featuring a distinct patterned or textured look is either made with loop pile (berbers) or a combination of loop and cut pile (cut/uncut). These types of carpets are strong enough to be able to use differing heights to create patterns and textures and, in the case of [url=displaytype.php?f=3&t=64]textured berber carpet[/url], can create designs that seem to jump off the floor. Most berbers with patterns follow fairly small and simple designs. Straight lines, woven or zig-zag lines, diamond shapes, floral and leaf shapes, or swirling patterns are common examples. All berber patterns tend to only have a few colors, however, as the loops mean they can't paint as distinct an image as a printed pattern. However, some advanced textured berbers use a combination of dark and light fibers or different colors placed in a way that creates a distinct visual effect and sharp pattern that rivals a printed carpet. The same applies to precision cut/uncut (or cut and loop) carpet patterns, although they are typically constructed in a way that makes them only one color and height. However, they also are a bit less expensive than more advanced textured berbers while creating a similar effect.

    Pattern Matching

    When using a patterned loop or cut and loop carpet, it is important to remember that the carpet has to be positioned in order to make the pattern flow across multiple pieces of carpet. How the pattern actually fits onto another can happen in one of three ways: straight match, drop match or random match. Straight match means that each full width of carpet matches directly the next full width. Drop match means that each full width of carpet has to be staggered by a certain amount, usually either 1/2 or 1/4 of the original pattern dimension. And random match means that pieces will fit no matter how they're matched up. Straight or drop matched patterns will require extra material to ensure that there's enough matching pieces when cutting the carpet to fit inside the room. The manufacturer will typically provide this information, and most individuals won't have to worry about actually matching up pieces, since using a professional carpet installer is always strongly recommended. But the last thing you want is to receive your carpet, then have to order extra pieces, pay the extra shipping fee and delay the installation.

  • Carpet Fibers and Materials

    The first consideration is the material. The fiber of the carpet is one of the primary factors in determining how long your carpet will hold up to wear, and more importantly, to how well it can resist staining. Most carpets come in four main fiber types: wool, nylon, polypropylene (olefin), and P.E.T. polyester.

    Many carpets can be made with either Bulked Continuous Filament (BCF) or shorter Staple fibers. Polyester and nylon carpet can go either way, and most olefin carpet is BCF. What's the difference? The staple fibers are shorter and bulkier like wool, while the BCF fibers are longer and less prone to wear and shedding. In most cases, either will be suitable, but if you have dogs, cats or another situation where your floor might go through some rough treatment, you'll definitely want to make sure your floor is made from BCF fiber, since it's harder for the fiber to be pulled from the floor.

    Some carpeting features blends of material to incorporate certain benefits of one fiber into another. For instance, some olefin or polyester carpets will be mixed with nylon fibers to increase strength and wear resistance without raising the price. Similarly, some wool carpets will incorporate a certain percentage of polyester or olefin to create a textile that offers much of the natural beauty, warmth, and durability of wool carpet at a price that is easier to afford. While these blends don't offer the same benefits as pure nylon or wool, they typically perform better than most polyester or polypropylene fibers and may be an option well worth considering.


    Nylon is the number one choice for carpeting, and has been for decades. Much of today's nylon carpet features better durability than any other fiber available, excellent stain resistance and is one of the most cost-effective options available. And advanced Nylon 6 or Nylon 6,6 carpeting has recognized brand names like Dupont StainMaster or Solutia Wear-Dated. It is excellent for use almost anywhere in your home in any type of carpet construction.

    Nylon was created in the 1930s by the DuPont company, but the nylon currently used in carpet is not made from that formula, it comes from either of what is called the fourth, fifth or sixth generation of nylon. Fourth generation nylon is used in cheaper or older carpets and offers the basic features of nylon. They are strong, easy to dye, resistant to soil or wear, don't attract mold, mildew or moths, and are soft and long-lasting. They're available in either BCF or Staple fiber types, and Solution Dyed nylon holds its color much better because the dye is incorporated in fibers during their initial production, not added later. These basic nylons could be treated with ScotchGard or Teflon, but those treatments did not protect against permanent discoloration from stains. They could also wear off after a few years of use, meaning that the treatment would have to be reapplied.

    Modern-Day Advanced Nylon

    Fifth-generation nylon added the benefit of strong resistance to stains and added the benefit of protecting the carpet against dyeing. These were the original StainMaster carpets, and they helped to revive the carpet industry. These carpets are still available, and are resistant to staining, but since the final treatment is applied to the finished carpet, they are not as resistant as most advanced nylons.

    The latest generation of carpets is the sixth-generation, often referred to as Nylon 6 or Nylon 6,6 fibers. These carpets go under brand names like StainMaster XtraLife and Tactesse, Solutia Wear-Date and Durasoft, Anso CrushResister and Caress and Shaw EverTouch, just to name a few. These fibers are specifically engineered to be tougher and more durable, provide almost a lifetime resistance to stains and abrasion, and resist wrinkles or abrasive wear damage. All carpets made with this advanced nylon are more expensive but highly recommended whenever possible, as they are suitable for use almost anywhere in the home, and are definitely the type of nylon to use if you're worried about stains. They also typically carry much better warranties than other nylon floors. However, all nylon carpeting is durable enough for most heavy usage.

    Finally, carpets advertised as particularly soft like Dupont Tactesse, Solutia Durasoft or Anso Caress are made using much thinner fibers in greater quantity, so they have the same properties of sixth-generation nylon carpets, but are softer and more durable.


    Olefin, also known as polypropylene, is designed to be resistant to stains, low in static electricity, colorfast, prevents moisture damage, and can be cleaned using strong chemicals without damaging the carpet. It is not as durable as nylon or wool and should not be used if you need a carpet that will stand up to extreme wear, but is a good and very affordable option for rooms with a lot of moisture or especially prone to staining.

    Benefits and Disadvantages

    Olefin fiber was created in the late 1950s, and grew in popularity in the 1960s. It is the second most popular fiber behind nylon, and is well-known as a low-priced alternative to fourth-generation nylons. It has several benefits that make it attractive. First, it is seriously resistant to stains and is colorfast, so your carpet's color won't fade over time. It is soft and lightweight, inherently resistant against water and moisture damage, and is not easily stained from most household items or strong chemicals in cleaning agents, including bleach.

    However, there are disadvantages for most polypropylenes as a carpet material (See below about more advanced olefin carpeting). The most serious disadvantage is that because it is lightweight, olefin is nowhere near as strong as nylon, and will always mat down more easily than a nylon carpet. If you need a long-lasting carpet, nylon would be a much better choice. Additionally, it has a very low resistance to heat and because it is an oil-based product, it can attract grease stains and gives the carpet a slight sheen that may be undesirable. Olefin is most often recommended in loop (berber) carpets, since they are constructed in a way that minimizes wearing or crushing. However, berbers with low density or without tight loops often are more difficult to vacuum, and dirt can be trapped underneath the surface of the carpet.
    Not all polypropylene carpets have a low wear tolerance. Shaw's ComforTouch fiber uses a more intensive manufacturing process that creates a fiber that is still polypropylene, but is much stronger. Carpet made with ComforTouch is nearly on par with advanced nylon in terms of stain resistance and long-lasting durability. It is not as inexpensive as normal olefin, but it offers olefin's natural benefits like its moisture and stain protection and natural colorfastness.

    When to Use Polypropylene

    So in other words, if you're considering carpet and like the cheaper price of olefin, use its natural strengths and weaknesses to your advantage. If you need a carpet in a place that will have a lot of moisture like a poolhouse, outdoor carpet or basement, olefin is an excellent selection. Likewise, if you want to carpet a room that is informal and might get stained easily like a nursery or playroom, a tight, relatively low-level olefin berber would provide similar benefits to fifth-generation nylon but would be softer, naturally resistant to stains and water damage, could be deep-cleaned without harming the fiber, and would look good even in between vacuuming.

    P.E.T. Polyester

    Less popular than olefin, recycled PET (Polyester) carpet is an inexpensive alternative to wool if you're looking for a carpet that's environmentally friendly Like olefin, it has built-in stain and moisture resistance, is colorfast and feels extremely soft. However, it is much stronger than olefin, and well-maintained high-density polyester carpets can perform as well as nylon at a significantly lower cost. Because of its softness, it is especially recommended for cut pile construction.

    Polyester carpeting has been around for decades, but PET polyester fiber is a newer innovation, made from recycled PET pproducts, like plastic soda bottles. This makes it the only manmade fiber that provides eco-friendly carpets. It is similar to nylon in terms of durability and resistance to wear, and has the moisture protection, stain resistance and colorfastness of olefin. It isn't as inexpensive as olefin, but it is still quite cost-effective. And while olefin carpets are primarily recommended for berbers, polyester carpets are stronger and can easily work in a cut pile setting.

    Polyester is not as strong as nylon, and if you have a room with heavy traffic, nylon is still the best option. But for light use around the home, polyester provides an excellent way to have a soft plush carpet at an affordable price.


    Wool fiber has been known as the gold standard for carpet material. Although more expensive than many engineered fibers, it is an excellent option for carpet, easily the softest, most luxurious fiber, flame-resistant, and is one of the only ecologically friendly carpet fibers. If you have a small room in a formal atmosphere, wool would be a beautiful choice.

    First, wool is naturally durable. It doesn't crush as much over time as regular nylon, polyester or olefin, its layered composition pushes dirt to the top and makes it resistant to abrasive wear, and the protein contained within the wool gives it excellent flame resistance, even working to extinguish small flames like sparks from a fireplace or cigarette butts. Additionally, wool repels water naturally, doesn't conduct static electricity, and is an ecologically sound renewable resource. Its appearance and softness is second to none, it is one of the most stain-resistant carpet materials, and it will last a very long time in normal conditions. It is excellent for use as a saxony, berber, or twisted frieze. For anyone looking for a carpet that looks and feels amazing, wool is a top choice.

    However, there are some important disadvantages to wool. First, since it cannot be machine-produced, it is by far the most expensive material for carpet, costing sometimes twice as much as even the best nylon floors. Secondly, it is typically one of the most stain-resistant fibers, but requires special care, as carpet cleaners designed for other materials can permanently damage the carpeting.

    Other Materials

    There are other materials, including acrylicand cotton, but generally, they are far less practical and can be difficult to find. Others like leather, linen or silk can be much more common in area rugs, and if you want to have the look of these materials, you'd do best to find a high-quality, inexpensive carpet and purchase an area rug to put over it.

    There are numerous other carpet materials out there, usually found in specialty brands, hand-made collections or carpet made overseas. These materials are most often found in area rugs, but can occasionally be found for use in carpeting. Cotton is an extremely easy material to clean, and is very absorbent, but is too weak for anything other than very light usage. Acrylic fiber was once common thanks to its similarity to wool, but is generally out of usage by this point since they are as weak as wool fibers but prone to wear quickly. Leather has been used as a material for shag, and silk or linen can occasionally be found, though almost exclusively in area rugs.

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