When it comes to choosing the perfect new carpet for your home, it can be quite a daunting task. With such a variety of styles, designs and materials now available, selecting the right one can quickly become confusing. In order to select the perfect carpet for your home, it is important to first understand the characteristics of the materials that make them. To help you make the right choice, we’ve created this helpful guide to the many materials that are used to make carpets.

When first looking at carpet materials it is important to remember that there is no best or worst material. Each material used has its own unique set of strengths and weaknesses. Each of these materials can be classified into one of two categories: natural or synthetic.

NATURAL

While each of the fibres used to make carpets have there own individual strengths and weaknesses, there are some general assumptions that can be made about both natural and synthetic.

For instance, natural fibres generally tend to be much more environmentally friendly than there synthetic counterparts. The resources used to make these style of carpets are often very sustainable, including trees, grass and other natural resources. However, with the exception of just a few, the cost and durability can be significantly higher and slightly worse than synthetic alternatives. Below are some examples of types of natural materials that are currently used to make carpets.

Wool
Wool is an extremely soft and durable material. It posses many natural qualities such as resistance to stains, fire, dust and mites, all of which are very desirable for making a carpet. Due to these qualities and its famous durability, wool is often regarded as a luxury option, and depending on the grade of wool can be very expensive. If you’re looking for a long-lasting, quality natural carpet and cost isn’t an issue, then wool is definitely something to consider.

Pros Cons
Warm and durable Not as stain-resistant as synthetic materials
Reduces heat loss and noise Also, may not be quite as soft as other synthetic materials
Sustainable Can be expensive
Naturally flame resistant

Sisal
Derived from a plant, Sisal is one of the most durable carpet materials available across both natural and synthetic options. With its unique design, low maintenance requirements and natural absorbing properties, this sturdy material can be perfect for a hallway runner or large rug. Other materials, such as Jute and Coir, also share many of the same characteristics and can be a great affordable option for any home.

Pros Cons
Strong and hard wearing Easily stains
Great looking Can be very hard to clean
Available in a variety of colours Not as soft as other options

Seagrass
Seagrass is another great natural, eco friendly material. Flat and smooth underfoot, this hardwearing, stain resistant material is perfect for busy households with lots of foot traffic. Although very durable and hard wearing, Seagrass is prone to mould and mildew, so should be kept away from damp or humid rooms. The range of colours are also limited, with more understated tones that might not be to everyone’s taste.

Pros Cons
Naturally textured Colour limited
Stain-resistant and durable Can become very slippery, especially when wet
Eco-friendly

SYNTHETIC

Synthetic carpets, as the name implies, are created using artificially produced materials and represent the vast majority of carpets on sale in the UK today. Significantly less expensive than wool, these resilient materials offer homeowners a great looking, durable, low maintenance alternative, perfect for a growing family or the accident prone among us.

There are four main types of synthetic materials used to create carpets: nylon, polyester, polypropylene, and triexta.

Nylon
Nylon is now the most common and popular carpet in the UK. There are a multitude of factors that have made Nylon the choice material for carpets. Of key importance is its durability and soft feel. Nylon fibres are the strongest amongst all synthetics, and as such, stand up well to constance use in high-traffic areas within the home. Other key characteristics such as stain resistance, being easy to clean and its ability to retain shape and appearance have made Nylon carpets the success they are today. Available in a wide range of colours and price points, these are perfect for young families and first time buyers.

Pros Cons
One of the softest synthetics Needs to be cleaned often to ensure longevity
Very strong and durable Not the most environmentally friendly
Highly stain resistant and easy to clean

Polypropylene 
Also known as Olefin, Polypropylene has many distinct properties when compared to other synthetic carpet materials. Offering great stain resistance, this cost effective material is similar to natural wool and is often blended to create synthetic wool substitutes. However, it is prone to soiling and lacks the durability of the other three synthetic materials. Perfect for new homeowners and young families.

Pros Cons
Stain resistant and bleach-cleanable Flammable
Very soft underfoot Likely to flatten over time
Great value for money

Polyester
Often created using recycled materials, polyester is one of the few eco-friendly synthetic materials. Offering great stain and water resistance, this style carpet offers great value for money, and is ideal for parents of little ones and pet owners alike. However, durability of these carpets can be an issue. Although it can last up to 15 years, this material can suffer with flattening and wear very quickly in high-traffic areas.

Pros Cons
Stain and water resistant Likely to flatten over time with a chance of matting.
Very soft underfoot Oil based stains hard to remove
Great value for money
Wide variety of colours

Triexta
The new kid on the block, Triexta has only been around since 2009, sharing many of the same characteristics seen in nylon. Like nylon, triexta comes in a variety of qualities, thus may not always be better than the other materials we have discussed. Generally speaking though, this material is often less expensive than nylon due to its lower manufacturing costs. It’s highly stain resistant, due to the fibres being naturally hydrophobic, and cleans very easily. Available in a wide range of colours and designs, this might be a perfect alternative to nylon.

Pros Cons
Great value for money Varying grades
Strong and durable Durability not fully understood due to it being so new
Highly stain and soil resistant
Wide variety of colours

As you can see, there are a multitude of natural and synthetic materials now used to make carpets, each with their own unique character. Aside from price and colour, when installing your new carpet it is important to not only consider the material, but also where you will be installing it. Our expert team, here at CMS Down, will be happy to help you choose the best carpet based on individuals tastes and needs. Contact us today for more information.