Nylon vs. Polyester Carpeting

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Nylon and polyester are two of the most common pile types.
Nylon and polyester are two of the most common pile types. (Image: Background carpet image by fotolia © 2happy from Fotolia.com)

There are actually six different materials that can be used in most of the carpets manufactured in the United States. Nylon and polyester are two of the most popular of these various piles. When carpet is manufactured, the pile material represents about 80 percent of the price, so one of the key differences between the two materials is the cost of the carpet. There are other variables, though, so the price should not be the only consideration when buying carpet.

Pricing

The most obvious difference between nylon and polyester carpeting is the one you will see at the cash register: the cost. Of the three most popular types of carpet in the United States (nylon, olefin and polyester), nylon is the most expensive. There is a difference in price between nylon and polyester of as much as 1/3. Polyester would certainly win the battle for a purchase if price was the only consideration.

Nylon

While nylon might be the most expensive, it is also the strongest of the fibers. That means that it will hold up better for long periods of time, especially in high-traffic areas. It resists stains and mold and mildew better than the others. One disadvantage of nylon carpet is the fact that it's more prone to static electricity but the carpet can be treated to help negate this aspect.

Different Types of Nylon

There are actually two different types of nylon carpet (type 6 and type 6,6). The quality of type 6,6 was historically higher than that of type 6. However, there have been considerable advances in type 6 in recent years. That means the gap in quality between the two is fairly small. The price differences have remained virtually unchanged, though, making type 6 a better bargain. But for quality, type 6, 6 still has the edge.

Polyester

Although polyester is generally lower priced than nylon carpet, its advantages don't stop there. It shares nylon's resistance to staining but is also less likely to fade. There is a wider array of colors available in polyester. It is also nonallergenic. Those concerned about the environment will like the fact that there are polyester carpets made from reclaimed materials. However, crushing is a disadvantage to polyester carpeting. Although less durable than nylon carpeting, polyester is still fairly strong in terms of resisting wear.

Types of Polyester

While there is only one type of polyester carpeting, it doesn't mean that all polyester carpet is equal. Low-density-type polyester carpeting should be avoided because it's more susceptible to crushing than high-density versions. High-density polyester carpeting can be spotted because it's hard to run your fingers through it. High twist levels are preferred over loose twists, which can unravel or get tangled.

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