If you’re investing in Carpet, the question of Wool vs. Synthetic fibers may arise when making your decision. Both choices are great but, but like any other decision in life, the answer will depend on your current situation. Here are a few things to think about before you make your final choice.
If your main concern in staining (from kids, pets, etc.), then synthetic would most likely serve you best, as it comes in all levels of stain-resistance, from very basic synthetic fibers, to those treated with Teflon and other solutions. Not that any carpet is spill-proof, but if a spill were left to soak into a patch of wool carpeting, it would eventually seep past the natural oils inherent in the wool, and stain the fiber permanently. Whereas on a synthetic carpet such as nylon, if a spill went unnoticed for some time, you could probably get the stain up with a heavy duty spot treatment. This is because the stain usually cannot permeate into the synthetic fibers like it can natural fibers such as wool.
If your main concern is lifespan & durability, or don’t have young children or pets in your house, then wool is definitely the best choice. Wool carpeting can last a lifetime. Each wool fiber has a three-dimensional spiraling crimp, which gives it natural elasticity. This elasticity gives wool fiber the ability to stretch up to 30% more than its original length and then bounce back just like a miniature spring. You will get the same reaction when it’s compressed. Wool is born with this natural resilience that permits it to withstand all the day-to-day traffic you can give it. Wool carpets can recover easily from the inevitable crushing caused by furniture.
Synthetic Carpet Pros and Cons
Nylon is durable, easy to clean, resilient and the most sustainable of the synthetic carpets. It has good yarn memory which prevents crushing, good abrasion resistance, resists stains well with treatment and holds color well. It is, however, also prone to static electricity, unless it’s treated for the problem.
Polyester is fade resistant, stain resistant, and available in a variety of colors, but is also inclined to pilling, shedding, oil-based stains, and matting in high-traffic areas.
Polypropylene (olefin) is inexpensive, has superior stain resistance (except for oil-based stains), and resists fading from sunlight. It also tends to have poor resiliency, which can lead to crushing, and poor resistance to abrasion. Colors are limited due to dying methods during manufacturing.
Wool Carpet Pros and Cons
Wool is soft and pleasant to the touch, environmentally friendly (made from natural wool without using chemicals), and absorbs moisture in the air without feeling damp, making it a great natural dehumidifier. It also resists compacting or crushing, naturally repels dirt, accepts and retains color well and is naturally flame retardant and won’t melt.
It can, however be fuel for moths and carpet beetle larvae (though this can be prevented with insecticide treatment). It is also more expensive than synthetic options and can be damaged by Alkaline substances found in some detergents.