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About Carpet Fibers - Nylon, Sorona

© Alan Fletcher - Carpet Expert & Consumer Advocate


Everything you need to know about Carpet Fibers

Selecting the right Carpet Fiber is one of the most important aspects in selecting the right carpet for your home. Learn what you need to know before you buy new carpet for your home, home office or rental property.



Nylon is the best wearing, most durable fiber available today. You may choose another fiber for various reasons, but nylon is well known for being the best choice if you want your carpet to last a long time.


Nylon is a synthetic fiber and outperforms all other synthetic fibers. It wears well, resists abrasion and is easy to clean when anti-stain treatments are applied or designed into the fiber (Scotchgard®, Stainmaster®, Teflon®, R2X®, etc.). 


Nylon comes in hundreds of beautiful styles and colors. 


What is Continuous Filament Nylon? (BCF)


Good Qualities:

  • Exceptionally strong fiber

  • Abrasion resistant

  • Resistant to damage from oil and many chemicals

  • Can be pre-colored or dyed in wide range of colors

  • Low in moisture absorbency


"Soft" Nylon fibers

Some people love the look and soft feel of wool carpets but can't afford to buy it. Now consumers have a less expensive option with a new type of "softer" nylon carpet. Sold under the registered names of Tactesse®, Lisse'®, Anso Caress® and others, this nylon carpet fiber may be exactly what you are looking for. 


While less expensive than wool, the prices for this softer nylon carpet will be higher than most standard nylon carpets. And there are some drawbacks to buying this new "softer" nylon carpet. 


Ask to see these softer nylon carpet styles at your carpet dealer, but more importantly, be sure you know if this style of carpet will meet your needs and lifestyle. These softer nylons are not meant for every residential situation. 


How Much Does Carpet Cost?


OLEFIN (Polypropylene)

Olefin is a strong good-looking synthetic fiber that is inexpensive to manufacture. Some carpets that are made of olefin are Looped Berbers or commercial carpets. Olefin wears well and has good stain resistance when anti-stain treatment is applied. Olefin has good anti-static properties. However, Olefin is hard to keep clean and tends to attract dirt like a magnet. It has poor resiliency and tends to look dingy when soiled. Olefin is also called polypropylene or polyolefin. Outdoor grass styles are made from Olefin. 


Olefin is not the best selection for rental units in most cases, however some have had great success using a commercial level loop Olefin carpet in apartments. Glued directly to the floor it will last significantly longer than if used with a pad placed under it. 


Wheelchairs roll easily over glued down (no pad) commercial grade carpets. Commercial grade carpets made from olefin are a good choice for handicapped units, schools, offices, businesses, institutions and retirement home applications when glued down without padding.


Good Qualities:

  • Abrasion resistant

  • Colorfast

  • Quick drying

  • Low static

  • Resistant to mildew, rot and weather

  • Fade resistant

  • Lightweight 


POLYESTER (also called P.E.T.) 

(May be manufactured from recycled soda pop containers)

Don't be fooled by the bright colors and softness of this fiber. This is a very soft synthetic fiber that holds its color well; however it has very poor resiliency. Traffic areas will usually mat down quickly and soon afterwards may never return to its original appearance. 


When new, polyester looks great and feels so soft and wonderful, but it won’t be too long before it doesn’t. 

Sales people often recommend this type of carpet to consumers without sufficient fiber knowledge or experience. 


Because polyester is so inexpensive to manufacture, retailers stand to make higher profits from selling carpets made from this fiber, carpet manufacturers continually try to enhance carpets made with polyester hoping that they can create a carpet that is more durable and less prone to matting down. In the past 60 years they have had limited success. 


Because prices are lower for polyester carpets you may be tempted to buy a carpet made from polyester. Just be sure that your expectations are not very high. Generally, I do not recommend buying carpets made from polyester fibers to those who need a carpet that wears well and resists matting and crushing. You might be able to get 10 years of use from a well-made polyester carpet in a low traffic application. 


Good Qualities:

  • Resists stretching and shrinking

  • Quick drying

  • Mildew resistant

  • Abrasion resistant

  • Stain resistant


What does BCF mean? 


What is Continuous Filament or BCF?


How do I know if my carpet is made from a Continuous Filament Fiber?


Why do some carpets Shed and fuzz?



Smartstrand by Mohawk® (aka Triexta)

DuPont™ Sorona® Polymer (PTT)


Another relatively new fiber on the market is called Sorona®, or Smartstrand®, and is a polymer made from corn. (Actually it was invented back in the 1940's) Invented by Dupont™, they claim this new fiber has great anti-stain properties and is very durable.


Should you buy carpet made with this new fiber? If you want a carpet that resists stains better than any other carpet on the market today, the perhaps you might want to consider buying this product. If you want your carpet to last as long as possible and still resists stains and cleans easily then I suggest you buy a carpet made from Nylon.


Is Smartstrand Considered a Polyester? 


Smartstrand by Mohawk is different than polyester as it is not as prone to matting down like Polyester or PET Polyester is. It is durable, very stain resistant, easy to clean and has beautiful colors. If you want the most durable carpet fiber and the longest wear then choose a nylon carpet. Nylon doesn't resist stains quite as well as Smartstrand, so you have a choice...What's more important to you, stain resistance or durability?


There is more you need to learn about carpet fibers before a wise choice for you can be determined. Your choice must be made based on your needs, goals, expectations and your lifestyle. If you have kids or pets that needs to be considered too. If you choose a carpet that cannot handle the amount of foot traffic you have, the carpet will wear out much sooner than you might expect. 


Learn about Selecting the Right Carpet Pad



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