If you’re trying to decide what type of carpeting you want in your home, many consumers are under the impression that olefin or polyester carpets are very durable and don’t require much maintenance. In some ways olefins and polyesters have their advantages, but because of its ‘plastic’ properties they also pose many disadvantages.
Carpets made from olefin fiber are usually woven to look like a berber weave, but it’s not a berber. Olefin is a strong, durable fiber made from 100% plastic and has all the properties of plastic. This poses a real maintenance challenge for the homeowner. Plastic has low resilency, it is soft and will crush and scratch easily.
Polyesters and olefins are both oil-loving hydrocarbons. This means oils are naturally attracted to the fibers making dry soils stick easily where they are ground into the fibers by foot traffic. This literally acts as a sandpapering effect accelerating the fiber damage. These carpets are very susceptible to this type of damage and it creates appearance loss (traffic lanes and areas of grey) that cannot be corrected by cleaning or any other restorative method.
If that wasn’t enough, these carpets can develop a yellow cast over time from oily residues that have bonded with the fibers. Plus plastic (olefin) generates a static electric charge that attracts dust and dirt (soot). For example, this is what gives you the ‘ring-around-the-furniture leg’, or an outline of where the furniture was. Furthermore, these carpets will show an increase in filtration line soiling.
On the positive side, polyester and olefin fibers are naturally stain resistant when it comes to dye stains. In fact, olefins have excellent dye fastness and claim to be resistant to fading, acids, and bleaches as well. However, in order to prevent oily build up on the fibers these carpets still need protection to shield the fibers from dirt, soot, soils and maximize the effectiveness of vacuuming.
In the final analysis, I find that most homeowners are not happy with their olefin or polyester carpet. These carpets just don’t perform as expected or behave like ‘normal’ carpeting. Problems are accelerated with the lack of proper maintenance. In reality, they require much more work in order to maintain a good appearance: frequent vacuuming as well as frequent professional cleaning with protection.
This leads to an overall dissatisfaction in carpet as a floor covering. Instead, if you desire a good value in your carpet, install only 100% nylon, get real carpet, and review my article on choosing a carpet.