Carpet is still one of the most popular flooring choices around, providing comfort, softness underfoot, and a finished look. But deciding which type of carpet is right for both your budget and your needs is sometimes puzzling. For example, should you choose wool, which has been used for centuries to weave fine carpets, or should you invest less and choose a synthetic fiber, and if so, which one? To help you decide which carpet fiber is right for you, let’s take a look a the pros and cons of synthetic carpet vs wool carpet …
Synthetic carpet can be nylon (the most popular), polyester, or polypropylene, which is sometimes referred to as olefin. These are the most common synthetic fibers used for carpets, and each has its pros and cons. Synthetic fiber carpets — especially nylon — sell better than wool, but that’s often because of the higher up-front cost for wool. Still, there’s more to carpet fiber than just price. It’s important to look at the strengths and weaknesses of each and consider things like where it will be installed and whether it fits your lifestyle well.
The Pros of Synthetic Carpet
- Nylon– is durable, easy to clean, the most sustainable of the synthetics and resilient. It has good yarn memory which prevents crushing, good abrasion resistance, resists stains well with treatment and holds color well.
- Polyester– is fade resistant, stain resistant, and available in a variety of colors.
- Polypropylene (a.k.a. olefin) – is inexpensive, has superior stain resistance (except for oil-based stains), and resists fading from sunlight.
The Cons of Synthetic Carpet
- Nylon – is prone to static electricity, unless it’s treated for the problem.
- Polyester – is susceptible to pilling, shedding, and oil-based stains, and can mat in high-traffic areas.
- Polypropylene (a.k.a. olefin) – has poor resiliency, which can lead to crushing, and colors are limited due to the way it’s dyed. It also has poor resistance to abrasion.
Even though wool carpet doesn’t sell as well as say, nylon, that doesn’t mean it’s not a great choice. It sells less partly because it costs more, which is enough to exclude it from the budgets of many carpet shoppers.
The Pros of Wool Carpet
- is soft and pleasing to the touch
- is environmentally friendly (made from natural wool without using chemicals)
- is good for the indoor environment too (it absorbs about 30% of its weight in moisture without feeling damp, making it a good natural dehumidifier).
- resists compacting or crushing
- is naturally dirt-repellent
- accepts and retains color well
- is flame retardant and doesn’t melt
The Cons of Wool Carpet
- It’s fuel for moths and carpet beetle larvae, though it can be treated with an insecticide to prevent the problem.
- Alkaline substances found in some detergents can damage wool fibers.
- It’s more expensive than its synthetic competition.
Aside from price and color, think about where you’ll install your new carpet. If it’s in a high-traffic area of your home, it’s best to choose a fiber that resists dirt and stains and doesn’t crush easily. If on the other hand, you’re installing carpet in a bedroom where you’re most likely padding around in your stocking feet or a pair of slippers, those qualities may not be as important.
If you’re in the market for carpeting in the Coachella Valley, be sure to visit Flooring Innovations. We’re the largest flooring retailer in the area with the widest selection of carpeting of every type. Our professional staff will be happy to help you select the best carpeting based on your individual needs and tastes. We have two showrooms — one in Cathedral City and one in Palm Desert. Stop by and let us help you enhance the beauty of your home today!