Carpet | How It's Made

Knowing how carpet is made can be very advantageous. The different materials that make up various carpets help us understand and evaluate their performance aspects: why certain carpets are easier to install, why some wear better, longer, and why others are easier to care for and clean.

TIPS:

  • Thicker is not always better. For instance, high traffic areas need lower profiles to avoid matting and crushing
  • Tight twists in the yarn perform better than loose and frayed
  • Firm and dense pile equates to higher quality
  • The more backing visible, the less dense and durable

MATERIAL/FIBER:

Fiber is the basic material of makeup of carpet. 90% of carpet is synthetic, while the other 10% is mostly wool.

 1. Nylon

  • 75% is made of nylon
  • Performs well overall
  • Leader in: appearance retention, fade and heat resistance, soil and stain resistance, color and styling

2. Polypropylene

  • Introduced in the late 1950's in Italy
  • Not as resilient or resistant to abrasion as nylon
  • Naturally stain and fade resistant
  • Resistant to moisture
  • Limited range of color options
  • Most often used in loop pile constructions

3. Polyester

  • Introduced to the carpet industry in the mid 1960's
  • Well accepted for bulkiness, color clarity, and good stain and fade resistance
  • Not as resilient as nylon, but still performs well

4. PET by Mohawk

  • 100% recycled material
  • Plastic bottles are collected, separated by color, and then ground and melted
  • Great color clarity, stain resistance, durability
  • Keeps over 3 billion bottles out of landfills!

5. SmartStrand

  • Eliminates shedding
  • Highly stain resistant and durable
  • 37% renewable materials

6. Wool

  • Natural fiber
  • Since wool is a natural fiber, it ranges in color from off-white to black, with many earthen tones between.
  • Wool doesn't stand up to abrasion and moisture as well as synthetics, it cleans well and is known to age gracefully.
  • Most expensive carpet fiber
  • Primarily from New Zealand, Argentina, and the United Kingdom.

7. *Berber

  • Considered a type of carpet construction, rather than fiber
  • The name, Berber, originates from North African sheepherders
  • Berbers produced coarse wool, with color flecks in their yarns

MAKING THE CARPET: A 3-PART PROCESS

Step 1: Tufting

  • Weaving the synthetic or staple fiber into a primary backing material
  • The tufting machine has 800 to 2000 needles, like a sewing machine to pull the yarn through the primary backing material
  • The tufting machine is 12 feet wide; its needles penetrate the backing and a small hook (looper) grabs the yarn and holds it in place

Loop Pile Construction

  • Holds appearance well
  • No exposed yarn tips
  • Only sides of the yarn are exposed to wear and stress

Alternative Step

  • Sometimes the looper cuts small loops creating a cut pile
  • The lengths of these pieces are called pile height
  • In order to create pattern on the surface, cuts are programmed to cut only some of the loops

Step 2: Application of Dye

Two dyeing processes

  • Yarn Dyeing/Pre-Dyeing: color is applied to the yarn prior to tufting
    • Good side-by-side color consistency, large lot sizes, and uniformity
  • Carpet Dyeing: applying color to the yarn after tufting
    • Greater color flexibility

Carpet Dyeing Methods

  • Beck/Batch Dyeing: Stitching the ends together, then running the tufted carpet loop through large vats of dye and water for several hours.
    • Ideal for small runs, heavier face-weight products
  • Continuous Dyeing: Similar to Beck dyeing but carpet is also run through processes other than dying
    • Applies color to the face by spraying or printing, also to create multicolor or patterned effects
  • Screen Printing: Color is applied through 1-8 silk-screens

Step 3: Manufacturing the carpet

  • Finishing Process: A single, five-part, production line completes the final construction stages
    1. Latex: A coat of latex is applied to dyed carpets
    2. Secondary Backing: a layer woven synthetic polypropylene is applied
    3. Shape Preservation: The two parts are squeezed together in a large heated press and held firmly
    4. Shearing: remove loose ends and projecting fibers created during the tufting process to help with yarn tip definition
    5. Inspection: Carpet is checked for color uniformity and defects before rolled, wrapped, and shipped