I am often asked about Berber
carpet. Berber is NOT my issue. Berber is a type of weave, not a
fiber type. Berber carpet simply means that the fibers are a "loop" weave
style, generally the same height loops. But Berber carpet can be made with
various height of loops or it can be mixed with "cut loops" of the same
or different height. The following information reveals the differences between
fiber types, whether loop or cut carpet styles.
The real problem is polypropylene (Olefin), polyester and P.E.T.
fibers in any weave or style! As always, I welcome any positive or
negative letters about Berber, regardless of fiber content. But so far all
the email and letters and calls I've ever received were totally negative
when it comes to experience with Olefin or Polyester carpet. (Exception
- I did have one positive, defensive email from a retailer who sells mostly
Olefin - his Olefin Berber was only 3 months old however!). For more details
about Berber visit:
The simple answer is that 100% nylon or 100% wool carpet, whether
Berber or cut plush, are the only choices to make when buying carpet. I
am confident in this advice after 25+ years following all carpet research,
products and "advances" and hiring research firms to substantiate the value/cost/benefit
of various carpets, and weekly feedback from my franchisee network (200+
locations served and literally millions of yards of carpets serviced). So Nylon
Berber is certainly the best choice, probably the only viable choice if you
want performance and cannot afford wool. But a word of caution, do not fall
for the "solution dyed nylon" sales pitch.
The long answer and some further carpet education:
Understanding quality of carpet and performance measures are the key
to buying wisely. Unfortunately you really have to "dig" to get this critical
information. Retailers either don't know or won't tell you the facts. Most
people buy carpet from their desire to have a certain color and texture,
"a look". What looks good, may not perform. So you must learn to identify
the differences between carpet that looks good and one that is really "good".
The primary things to look for are fiber content (100% post dyed Nylon),
tight twist, heat set and density. I've explained the value of 100% nylon.
Twist is the number of "turns" in a fiber in a given length of fiber. A
carpet with 6 turns in a half inch is far better than a carpet with 4 turns
in a half inch. Heat set is the tightness of the strands of fiber. This often
shows as a "thin" strand compared to the "air puffed" fatter - and usually
cheaper strand. This "puffing and lack of tightness may cause the appearance
to seem more plush or "thick" or valuable. But it is not the case. Density
is how close the rows of fibers/strands are woven into the backing. When
sewn closely, the resistance to matting or flattening is greatly reduced.
A very dense carpet will spring back to shape for years and years if vacuumed
regularly and cleaned properly.
Warranties mean almost nothing in the real world. Go online and
read the actual warranties. The exclusions almost eliminate any claim you
can think of, especially stains or discoloration. And since carpet doesn't
"wear out", just what are they really warrantying? That said, the functional
life cycle of Nylon is at least 10 years usually 20+. But because people cannot
get the carpet cleaned properly or get tired of the color, or are wanting
a new color for decorating purposes, most Nylon carpets are replaced in the
5th to the 7th year. We have restored color to Nylon carpets routinely that
were 5, 10 and even 20 years old that resulted in nearly new looking carpet.
People for whom we perform our carpet dyeing services are amazed at
how their "old looking" or "worn looking" carpet is made to look almost
new at a fraction of the cost of replacement. This then substantiates their
future carpet purchases to be high grade Nylon since they have the confidence
that with our dyeing services it can be kept looking new and therefore well
worth the higher investment in higher quality nylon carpet. They can even
plan color changes without buying a new carpet when redecorating.
In contrast, Olefin carpet (loop [Berber], cut loop or cut plush)
life cycle is less than three years, usually less than two, no matter what
the warranty or sales pitch claim.
I will put my reputation on the line to say Olefin Berber should NOT
be sold to anyone for more than $5/sq yd (or $1/sq ft) installed, which is
more than a retailer pays for it. In fact I have had this discussion with
seasoned executives from the top three carpet manufacturers and they all
agree that Olefin is a cheap carpet that gained popularity from marketing
position just as polyester suits did many years ago. They all know it's
a terrible floor covering. But the sad truth is in the business objectives
of the advertising and marketing strategies of the vendors, be it the manufacturers
or the retailers. Scientifically, Olefin is a far more inferior fiber than
nylon and certainly wool. But it is far cheaper to produce, so it can be
sold for less. Shockingly, with the hyped advertising and sales push, it
is being sold at the same or higher price than nylon carpet.
It is an atrocity to sell any soft floor covering that doesn't get even
a five year useful life cycle in residential applications. In all my years
and experience with Olefin Berber, the vast majority of owners of this type
report less than 2 years of useful life. Is it "worn out"? - No. But the
appearance is usually reported unbearable within the first year! Impossible
to get clean and keep clean, matted down, stains that cannot be removed,
pulls, seams parting, harsh on feet and looks many years older than it actually
is. I don't speak of a few letters. I am telling you that I receive dozens
daily for the last five years minimum all telling horror stories of Olefin
Berber. The worst part is that the retailers and manufacturers are unresponsive
or resort to blame shifting to anyone but themselves when they do respond.
In fairness, very low end nylon sold by many "budget" type retailers
isn't much better than Olefin. But there is NO Olefin Berber that can compete
at all against a medium to high grade quality 100% nylon for wear, diversity
of color choices, pattern selection, texture selection, ease of care, stain
resistance, stain correction, creature comfort and durability
-whether Berber weave style or cut plush style . To that end, I also know
that the majority of nylon installations are replaced overall in the 7th
to 9th year residentially. I reiterate and echo the Carpet and Rug Institute
statement that "annually more than 70% of carpet replacement is for reasons
other than wear".
So if it's not wear, it can only be the color - either the carpet suffers
from discoloration (missing color, faded or bleached, and excess unwanted
color like stains or traffic lanes) or it's the wrong color (outdated, ugly
or just plain unacceptable for personal taste) for decorating reasons. In
90% of these cases, our dyeing technology correct the color problems. We
can take a Grade E or F discoloration (on solid or patterned) to a grade
B+ or even an A, restoring the original color leaving the carpet in an almost
new appearance state, we do it every day -residentially and commercially.
Likewise, in the case of a "wrong" color, we can produce a brand new custom
color with virtually millions of color choices. We can, with our unique onsite
dyeing technology, virtually at least double the current useful life cycle
of every nylon carpet. And we have for every one of our clients - residential
Progressive and caring carpet professionals are quite pleased
with our services and our position on carpet. They know what we say is true.
They also know that our endorsement is strictly limited to 100% nylon or
100% wool carpet or a blend of JUST those two. In the USA, the most predominant
carpet sales is still nylon and a scant amount is wool. The numbers released
annually that claim that polypropylene, polyester and P.E.T has a 20% to
35% total market share (depending on whose survey you read) fails to disclose
that a great amount of that polypropylene is actually the backing material
used in almost all carpets today. Further, since we stand firmly in the endorsement
of high quality nylon, we are helping carpet sales against it's competitor
- resilient flooring. We receive referrals from these carpet retailers
for many reasons such as:
1. A customer has a
new carpet and gets bleach or some other stain that a carpet cleaner cannot
"fix". We can. This instills good faith and loyalty to the carpet retailer
if the customer has a viable, affordable solution with our spot dyeing services.
2. The customer can't
find just the right shade or color, we can alter the color before or after
installation. This broadens the carpet retailers customer base potential.
The customer doesn't have to "shop around' and can remain loyal to the retailer.
3. Factory defects found
before or after installation or side matching problems that occur, we can
color correct to perfection, even in patterned carpet. This really saves
the retailer a lot of grief and money. This also is a great service for retailers.
4. A customer wants
or needs very high quality carpet throughout their home and cannot afford
or justify it in the moment. We can dye just one or two rooms of carpet,
say the bedrooms and they can afford and justify buying the new luxurious
carpet for the downstairs. The retailer can sell his top-of-the-line to
this customer (usually higher margins than cheaper carpet) and remain within
the customer's budget and keep the customer from delaying purchase. Obviously,
the retailer is a hero to the customer and will retain loyalty for future
5. A customer finds
out that the "warranty" they thought covered stains, fading or discoloration
mishaps is not covered under the "fine print" exclusions. The customer always
blames the retailer, whether it is verbalized or not. If the retailer refers
the customer to us, we correct the problem, retailer benefits as above,
customer reacts again as above in a favorable light on the retailer for
finding a solution and we have a happy customer, a happy retailer and we
continue to endorse high quality carpet to consumers.
6. A retailer finds
he has a lot of "old stock" on hand or has a big cancellation on hand and
it's a weird color, an outdated color and just won't sell without dramatically
reducing the price. We can change the color, add a border, pattern or custom
color and the problem carpet can be sold.
7. The retailer can
actually gain a competitive edge on other retailers in his area by offering
millions of custom color or custom designs. We provide this service either
before the carpet is installed or after.
In all cases carpet retailers benefit from our services and our position
on buying better quality carpet - namely nylon!
The next argument I hear from the low end carpet retailers while interviewing
them, is that the only reason we (CYC) like nylon is because they suffer
from the misinformation that Olefin cannot be re-dyed. They think our agenda
is to only promote our dyeing services. Simply put, neither statement simply
is true. Especially now
that most Olefins contain at least 5% nylon (an effort on the part of the
manufacturers to "make this fiber more durable" - I think to create a "newer"
sales pitch and make it sound like a "newer and improved" Olefin), we can
dye it. With or without nylon in it. It is more difficult to dye and normally
will only "tint" but we do it successfully. We have side-matched polyester
and Olefin for Beaulieu and other mills many times. So the argument that
we are being "self-serving" doesn't hold water. We get far more calls for
help from Olefin owners than any other carpet owners. We just cannot
do as much for Olefin carpet.
We are NOT carpet cleaners! Although we are the best carpet cleaners
in the world, we refer straight cleaning jobs to ethical carpet cleaners.
All of the carpet cleaners who have seen our work, refer customers to us.
Even the few carpet cleaning franchise systems who claim to perform dyeing
have called on us numerous times from every system to correct their work
and bail them out of an otherwise failed attempt at onsite dyeing. If what
we do to such a degree of success were easy, every carpet cleaner in the
world would be doing it. There's a tremendous need for onsite dyeing and color
restoration. Fully half our business is word-of-mouth and referrals from
existing customers and carpet cleaners.
Our ONLY BUSINESS IS DYEING! Our
training and standards far exceed The IICRC or ASCR. Our least educated
new technician on a job undergoes 400+ hours intense training. Our dye masters
have more than 1,100 hours of academic, field training and testing. This
includes all aspects of carpet from fiber content to manufacturing to chemistry
to care and extensive color training. They are not janitor or maintenance
types and do not engage in cut throat pricing or high pressure sales pitches
or "up pricing". Our dye masters have very soft sales tactics. Mostly by
demonstration. That way there's no doubt on our side or from a potential
customer that we can deliver what we promise and that we really know our
I will add that I have had 2 associates who have a collective carpet retail
career background of 60+ years between them. As well, we have franchisees
who were property managers, home builders, facility directors, property managers,
science and math professors (PhD, MBA and masters degree), textile engineers,
chemical engineers, mortgage bankers, and many more well educated and informed
professionals who all concur and can also substantiate my findings.
Initially most customers are skeptical about carpet re-dyeing. And carpet
cleaners or retailers are not only skeptical but defensive as well. But
after our presentation of facts, explanation of our training programs, live
demonstration, testing, comparisons to nylon or wool and actual experience
in the field with various inferior fiber content like Olefin, especially Olefin
Berber, there's no doubt in their mind anymore. My experience so far proves
that no one buys Olefin a second time. It's pretty shocking that carpet related
professionals don't have this degree of knowledge about fibers and real carpet
performance. If they do have the knowledge, they're not providing it
Finally, if Olefin Berber didn't have the problems I freely post on
my website, I'm sure some executive in the industry would tactfully and
diplomatically contact me with scientific evidence of equality or superiority
of Olefin compared to nylon. I know from my programmers that many IP addresses
stem from the whole of the industry including the carpet mills. So why aren't
they contesting my content? Because if the truth comes out, every claim I've
made will be substantiated by their own internal records. So why do they continue
to sell it? Because it looks great on the showroom floor and the buyers equate
it to the great nylon Berber or even to the very high quality wool Berber.
Maybe the carpet salespeople really don't know the whole story. But
I'll give you my version. Wool is very expensive, more than the average
person can afford, but well worth the investment. Wool carpet last
for decades. But wool is more expensive to produce and is usually imported
which also drives the price up. If your lifestyle and resources permit,
by all means invest in a good wool carpet someday. Be aware, there
are major differences in wool quality as well. We recommend New Zealand
wool or wools of the Western European variety.
In the USA, Nylon carpet is the best choice of floor covering for
all properties, but as far as the manufacturers are concerned, it's
also turned out to be too good. It doesn't ever really "wear out".
It lasts too long and thus impedes re-sales for retailers. Since people aren't
getting proper cleaning and the "Billy-Bob" type (shoddy) carpet cleaners
refuse to learn and provide proper cleaning, even nylon carpet seems to
"wear out" or get too ugly to live with. Hence, all this restorable (by
our dyeing methods) nylon carpet winding up needlessly in our precious landfill
space. Now there's a statistic I'd like to see, nylon and wool carpet
versus polypropylene (Olefin), polyester & P.E.T. carpet that goes
to dump every year. Read about the statistics of carpet needlessly dumped
in our precious landfills and the whole truth about carpet recycling at:
Many of the people who write to me want to form a class action suit
against the manufacturers for the hyped sales talks of the retailers who
sold it to them. I'm not interested in playing carpet police. But I do hope
someone takes up this cause to get Olefin off of the floors. In the least,
accurate disclosure from manufacturers about every carpet should be provided
to salespeople and they in turn should be required to provide it to consumers
BEFORE they buy.
For the record, fiber content isn't the only issue I have with the
carpet industry. I'm just as offended by the sales pitches and advertising
claims about the value and performance of StainMaster and Scotchguard type
treatments. The warranties are not disclosed properly and when read (which
should be done BEFORE a customer buys) exclude everything imaginable that
a reasonable person would assume should be covered. Have you ever read one
through? Have you ever known anyone who tried to get StainMaster or Scotchguard
warranty coverage? Stain resist treatment, applied outside the fiber or as
part of the dyeing or manufacturing process simply do not meet the advertised
or sales claims. In any traffic area, the treatment is gone within three
months to six months. Factory
applied stain resisters are acceptable as it is nearly impossible to buy a
carpet without it. But don't buy a carpet based on the claims of the stain
resist "warranty". Read the warranty online at their websites and you'll understand
It's even worse for
installed carpets, the carpet cleaner sales pitches for after market applied
stain resist treatments aren't worth anything! In fact they can ruin your
carpet. Yet many carpet cleaners "up sell" this gimmick while cleaning your
carpet. They charge as much or more for this treatment as they do the actual
cleaning job. Don't fall for "renewed stain protector" treatments as sold
by carpet cleaners. DON"T BUY IT - IT DOESN'T WORK!!!
There's much more to this
story, but I'll save for another day.
I have personally conducted comparison testing on all carpets and treatments
stated above. I continue to document research. I'd be glad to speak with
you personally. I do require your complete contact details if you want a
question answered. My door is open to any challenge on this subject at any
academic level. Thank you for taking the time to ask for advice and reading