Aside from the style of carpet and the type of fiber, there are several other factors in determining the overall performance of a commercial carpet. These are seen as features of the carpet because they are not always necessary depending on the usage requirements.
If your commercial carpet will be subject to very heavy amounts of traffic, or if you just want a carpet that you know will still look like new after many years, then consider choosing a carpet that has the following features.
One of the biggest concerns with looped styles of carpet is that if one loop is pulled, others will follow, creating a “run” in the carpet in the same way that can occur with nylon stockings. Such an event is referred to as the zippering of a carpet. For some carpets, this is a very real possibility.
The reason that a run could occur in carpet is due to the construction of the carpet. Essentially, many looped carpets are stitched in a straight line, with one loop leading into the next. So, if one loop is snagged and pulled hard enough, it could definitely pull the rest of the loops in the same line. It would require a lot of force to accomplish this, but one common cause of this is the use of a beater bar or powerhead vacuum. The spinning head of the vacuum is powerful enough to latch onto any small snag in the carpet, and pull it, wrapping the fiber around and around.
Luckily, there are many commercial carpets that offer protection against zippering. To prevent it, the carpet is stitched in a zig-zag pattern instead of a straight line. That way, when one loop is pulled, there is not another loop directly in its path so no other loops will unravel. You can simply snip off the loose fibers, and be assured that the carpet will not run.
Look for an anti-zippering warranty on the carpet to know that it is protected. If you are buying a remnant or choosing from carpet samples that do not list the warranty information (something I don’t recommend if you are concerned about protecting your investment) then there is an easy way to know if the carpet has an anti-zippering feature: take a pencil and lay it between the loops of the carpet, going in the direction of the pile (down the length of the carpet). If you can slide the pencil along, keeping it between the loops, then the carpet has been stitched in a straight line and does not feature anti-zippering protection. If you can only slide the pencil a short distance before hitting another loop, then the anti-zippering protection is in place. In these carpets, if you look closely you will actually notice a zig-zag pattern in the loops.
Generally, all carpets feature some measure of anti-static protection. However, for commercial or industrial settings with highly specialized electronic equipment, such as healthcare or laboratory settings, an increased level of anti-static protection is called for.
Unfortunately, there is no simple test to know if a carpet contains increased anti-static protection. In this case, you will have to rely on the carpet’s specifications and warranty information. For these settings, you are not likely to be choosing a remnant or otherwise unmarked carpet, so there should be no issue in ensuring the carpet is adequately protected against the build-up of static electricity.
Stain and Soil Protection
All commercially-made carpet on the market today features stain protection. However, there are certain fiber types or dye methods that increase the level of protection against staining and soiling, which can be desirable in commercial carpeting.
Olefin (polypropylene) fiber is one of the most stain-resistant fibers used in carpeting. It naturally repels almost any substance, even bleach. Olefin’s drawback, however, is in oil-based substances. Olefin attracts and absorbs oil, which can leave a stain on the carpet. Furthermore, the oily residue in the fibers attracts dirt, causing the carpet to become soiled. Olefin should not be used in areas where spills of oily substances are likely to occur.
Nylon fiber is one of the strongest fibers used in carpeting and is a favorite in high-performance commercial carpet. Unfortunately, nylon does not inherently have stain protection, so it relies on the manufacturing process to receive its protection. The most effective method of increasing nylon’s stain resistance is in the dye method known as solution dyeing. Solution-dyed fiber offers the highest level of stain protection. In traditional dyeing methods, the fiber is first manufactured and then dyed the desired color. In the solution-dyed method, the color is added directly to the fiber, so that the fiber is manufactured directly into the desired color. The color goes all the way through to the fiber’s core, and therefore cannot be removed (by bleach) or altered (by another colored substance). Thus, solution-dyed nylon is an excellent choice for a commercial carpet.
Obviously, commercial carpet is available in a wide range of qualities and durability levels. In conjunction with the above commercial-specific features, be sure to determine durability before buying.