Carpet | How It's Made

























Knowing how carpet is made can be very advantageous. Knowing the different materials that make up various carpets also helps you 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. It can also make you a smarter shopper.

Selections:

  • thicker is not always better
  • tight twist in each yarn is better than loose and frayed
  • firm and dense pile means quality
  • the more backing seen, the less dense and durable
  • high traffic areas need lower profiles to avoid matting and crushing

Step 1: Fiber

  • basic material of makeup
  • 90% is synthetic fiber
  • rest is natural fiber, mostly wool

Synthetic Fibers

  • made up of one of three materials: nylon, polypropylene or polyester
  • created by chemical processes from oil and natural gas

Nylon

  • 75% is made of nylon
  • performs the best overall
  • leader in: appearance retention, fade and heat resistance, soil and stain resistance, color and styling
  • highest performance nylon is Type 6.6 for more resistant to stain penetration

Polypropylene

  • next most common material is polypropylene
  • introduced in the late 1950's in Italy
  • BCF represents more than 35% of all fibers
  • not as resilient or resistant to abrasion as nylon
  • naturally stain and fade resistant
  • naturally resistance to moisture
  • more limited range of color options
  • most often used in loop pile constructions

Polyester

  • third type of material is 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
  • can be a good performer

PET

  • Mohawk makes from plastic bottles
  • plastic is collected, separated by color, and then ground and melted
  • used to manufacture the PET carpet fiber
  • carpets made by Mohawk of PET staple fiber made from 100% recycled material
  • great color clarity, stain resistance, durability
  • keeps over 3 billion bottles out of landfills

SmartStrand

  • made with DuPont Sonora polymer
  • DuPont and Mohawk make this fiber into carpet
  • SmartStrand with DuPont Sorona is continuous filament fiber
  • eliminates shedding
  • highly stain resistant and durable
  • 40% of the fiber made from corn by products

Wool

  • The above three materials make up the majority of synthetic fibers.
  • The other type of fiber used in carpet construction is staple fiber.
  • While some synthetics are used in the creation of staple fibers, the original staple fiber used in the making of carpet is wool.
  • The wool used in today's carpet comes primarily from New Zealand, Argentina, and the United Kingdom.
  • 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.
  • Wool is the most expensive carpet fiber, and represents less than one percent of the U.S. carpet market.

Berber

  • considered a type of carpet construction
  • actually comes from the name of a group of North African sheepherders called the Berbers
  • Berbers produced coarse wool, with color flecks in their yarns

Carpet is made in a 3-part process.

#1 Tufting

  • begins with weaving the synthetic or staple fiber into a primary backing material
  • usually made of woven polypropylene
  • main value is to provide a base cloth to hold the yarn while tufting happens
  • tufting machine has 800 to 2000 needles like a sewing machine to pull the yarn through the primary backing material
  • 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
  • known to hold up the best

Alternative step

  • sometimes the looper cuts small loops creating a cut pile
  • length of these pieces called pile height, or distance between the looper and primary backing
  • cuts are controlled by a computer, and can be programmed to cut only some of the loops
  • this cutting is called cut and loop construction and creates pattern on the surface

#2 Application of dye

Two dyeing processes

  • yarn dyeing/ pre-dyeing -color is applied to the yarn prior to tufting
  • advantages are good side-by-side color consistency, large lot sizes, uniformity
  • carpet dying - applying color to the yarn after tufting
  • benefits -greater color flexibility, lower co

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.
  • Beck process ideal for small runs, heavier face weight products
  • continuous dyeing -similar to Beck dyeing - carpet is also run through processes other than dying
  • continuous dyeing - applies color to the face by spraying or printing, also to create multicolor or patterned effects
  • screen printing - color is applied through anywhere from 1-8 silk-screens.

#3 Manufacturing the carpet

  • finishing process- single production line that completes the final construction stages
    • coating of latex applied to dyed carpet's primary and secondary backing
    • secondary backing - made of woven synthetic polypropylene
    • two parts are squeezed together in a large heated press and held firmly to preserve shape
  • shearing- removing loose ends and projecting fibers created during the tufting process
  • also helps the yarn's tip definition
  • inspection - for color uniformity and defects before it rolled, wrapped, and shipped

Terms and construction variables

Pile height, or nap

  • length of the tuft measured from the primary backing to the yarn tips
  • shown as a fraction, or decimal equivalent
  • shorter pile is more durable than longer pile
  • stitch rate - measure of how close the yarns are together
  • stitch rate is measured in penetrations, or tufts, in a given length of carpet, usually an inch.
  • stitch rate is controlled by the speed the carpet is moved through the tufting machine
  • good number is seven to eight tufts per inch
  • face weight-actual amount of fiber per square yard, measured in ounces
  • typical carpet may have a face weight of 35 to 45 oz
  • density- how tightly the yarn is stitched into the primary backing
  • higher density will wear better than low density