Sure, it’s important how a carpet looks. You want it to be beautiful, and to add the “wow” factor to your room.
But equally important is carpet quality. If it isn’t made well, it won’t perform well over the lifespan of the carpet.
Carpet quality comes from a variety of factors, including how well the carpet was made, how well it’s maintained, and how well it’s installed. Of course, a carpet can do very well in a guest bedroom that sees very little use, yet be the wrong choice for a heavy-traffic office space that has dozens of people crossing over it every day.
How do you know where to start?
The first characteristic to pay attention to is the carpet fiber. You can select carpet made from natural or synthetic fibers. Both have their pros and cons, so it’s crucial to pay attention to what each type offers, and know how well they would perform if you install them in your commercial location.
For some, the only way to go is by installing natural fibers. Wool is one of the most expensive fibers used in commercial carpet production, but it can be a great choice for some business applications. Wool fibers are strong and durable, crush-resistant, and matt-resistant. It can be a good choice in an office back from main entrances, where water isn’t a problem. While wool will resist some moisture, if it’s introduced to too much water, it will shrink.
Wool fibers will hide dirt well. They also resist holding dirt deep within the fibers. Manufacturers suggest that you clean wool carpets more than their synthetic counterparts, which should include both regular vacuuming and deep cleaning. Keep in mind that while wool carpets may be good at hiding dirt, they are more susceptible to being damaged from embedded dirt that isn’t quickly removed. It will impact the fibers, hurt them, and decrease the lifespan of the carpet.
If you prefer synthetic fibers for your commercial application, there are some great choices available.
Nylon is one of the most common fibers used in commercial environments because it’s strong, resilient, wears well over time, and resists moisture, oils, and chemicals too.
While wool fibers are dyed post-production, nylon fibers are solution-dyed during production. The color is added in the beginning with they nylon crystals before it’s formed into carpet fibers. That makes it more resilient throughout its lifespan against wear and fading. What you see is what you get for the life of the carpet.
However, nylon has the ability to generate static electricity, especially in drier environments like here in Colorado. That can be a problem in buildings where sensitive electronic equipment is stored and used. To reduce the impact of static, manufacturers coat the nylon fibers to help reduce static and dissipate it before it reaches dangerous levels.
Some turn to olefin fibers for this reason. Olefin is an excellent choice if you want a carpet that is fade-resistant, stain-resistant, moisture-resistant, and can be used in both indoor and outdoor applications. While olefin is a good choice if your professional space frequently sustains accidents and spills, it doesn’t perform as well as nylon with ongoing dirt and debris. Dirt particles are often trapped in olefin fibers, damaging the surface and shortening the life of the carpet. More frequent cleaning will be needed if people track in dirt particles.
Olefin has the advantage of fibers that don’t generate static electricity. That’s why many business owners turn to olefin if they have sensitive electronic equipment or computers. But olefin does have a drawback of having a low melting point. Even simple tasks such as dragging heavy equipment across the carpet can cause enough friction to leave burn marks in its path.
When carpet is created, it is constructed with cut pile or loop pile. For either, carpet quality depends on density and the amount of twist.
With cut pile construction, the fibers are cut at the surface and woven tightly together to form the carpet and make it stand up. The fibers can be cut to create an even surface area, or cut at varying heights to create patterns and texture. Higher quality carpets will use two or three piles of yarn tightly twisted together to create a stronger fiber. This tighter weave, in general, will create better performance and more durable carpet quality.
With loop pile construction, the fibers are looped through the backing and woven tightly together to create a uniform look and feel. Loops can be all at the same level, or interwoven at varying heights to create patterns and textures.
Cut pile overall is not as durable as loop pile. When loop pile is subjected to constant pressure, it rebounds and returns to its original condition easier than cut pile. This rebounding makes it better suited for high-traffic areas.
Also, loop pile that’s tightly compressed together will be better at blocking dirt, making them the best at standing up to high traffic levels.
While it’s easy to choose carpet based on the look and feel of the fiber, carpet backing is equally important at determining carpet quality.
Carpet backing is what gives the carpet its strength. It provides a moisture barrier designed to keep spills from seeping through and impacting the carpet padding and the subfloor, where mildew and mold can begin to form. This is where it’s important to know your daily practices and ensure you choose the right carpet for the job.
In most cases, the yarn is stitched through fabric, which in turn is coated with latex to add strength and durability. Depending on the manufacturer, some add additional fabrics and materials to increase the resilience. Polypropylene, for example, offers mildew resistance qualities which can make the carpet better suited for damp or higher humidity applications.
You may also find some carpets with a foam back. While not as durable as other backings such as polypropylene, it can make installation easier. Just glue the carpet directly to the floor without a carpet pad in place.
Are you ready to add new carpet to your commercial space?
Don’t just focus on the looks and color. If you care about carpet quality, and want the best your money can buy, focus on how the carpet was made. If you spend a little extra time ensuring you have the right carpet for your commercial application, you’ll love the results for years to come. Contact the Denver flooring expert today and let us show you the possibilities.