Berber carpet is known for being highly durable and well-suited for high traffic areas due to its low loop-style construction. The type of fiber used, in addition to the the twist and weight, also affects the durability, since even the strongest construction is only as good as the materials used to make the carpet.
Wool is the only natural fiber option for berber carpet and is considered the most luxurious. It is soft, durable and naturally flame-retardant. It is also the most expensive option. Wool does not contain or release any chemical residue and is environmentally sustainable and crush resistant. It does fade easily in sunlight, however, and wears faster than some synthetic fibers. It is the original material used in handmade berber carpets and is the highest quality fiber available.
Nylon is the premier option among the synthetic fibers used to make berber carpet. It is less expensive than wool but typically more expensive than other synthetic fibers. Nylon is durable, stain resistant and easy to clean. It is also suited for high traffic areas and is available in many colors. Like wool, however, it fades in sunlight. Nylon fibers can also release fumes for a period following installation that cause upper respiratory irritation in some people.
Polyester berber carpet is inexpensive, hypoallergenic and resists fading in sunlight. It is not highly durable like nylon and tends to pill and shed. On the plus side, polyester cleans easily, and stains or spills are simple to remove. The durable loop pile of berber can increase the longevity of polyester fibers, but they still don't last as long as nylon or wool and aren't suitable for high traffic areas.
Olefin is a plastic-like fiber that is commonly used in indoor/outdoor carpeting, such as the kind used on covered porches and boats. It is not as soft as most other fibers and can give off a strong chemical odor. Olefin is inexpensive and durable. It is also undamaged by water, which makes it suitable for places prone to moisture problems, such as basements.
Acrylic berber carpeting is rarely seen in homes, but it's frequently used in commercial settings. Its properties are similar to those of wool, but as a synthetic fiber, it is less expensive and doesn't fade as easily in the sunlight. Moths leave acrylic carpet alone, and acrylic withstands heavy traffic. Like olefin, it doesn't stain easily and is simple to clean.
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