The Best Carpet Choice For Stairs
by Alan Fletcher - 30+ year Carpet Expert and Consumer Advocate
installed on Stairs endures the most abuse. It’s because stairs are narrow and
receive a constant pounding from heavy foot-traffic focused in the center and on
the leading-edge of every step.
children, dogs and cats and especially teenage boys and their friends are the main reason why
carpets installed on stairs tend to wear out faster than carpets installed
in other areas of your home.
Kids and pets love to run up and down the stairs as fast as they
can which is very damaging to the pile surface. Abrasion is the number one cause of
carpet wear and tear.
to Reduce Carpet Wear & Tear on Stairs?
start with, you can choose a more durable "Grade of Carpet" that can
handle moderate to heavy foot-traffic, and select a padding with a higher-density rating to
provide better support for your carpet installed on stairs. Here are
a few options that may
help you choose the right grade and style of carpet and padding for your stairs and other high-traffic areas.
Carpet Fiber for Stairs?
stairs, you can choose almost any carpet style you like as long as the
"grade of carpet" is designed to handle your level of foot traffic, but the most durable
residential carpets are made from 100% Nylon. There are various types of Nylon
fibers available and some are more durable than others. The “soft” Nylon
styles are not quite as durable as the standard Nylon carpet styles.
do I mean by "Grade of Carpet?" Carpet specifications determine the
grade of the carpet you select. That means fiber type, tuft twist, pile height,
pile density and face weight. All this information is available on another page
on my website, but I highly suggest you take the time to Learn
More About Carpet Specifications
the Right Carpet Fiber for Stairs
type of Carpet Fiber you select will determine how long it lasts, how soft it
feels, what colors are available, how easily it cleans and
how much it costs. This is one of the most critical factors homeowners face when
choosing and comparing carpet. There are several carpet fibers available
today and they all have their own unique benefits and pitfalls:
- Two main versions are Stainmaster 6.6 and Anso 6.0 and available in
various "soft" styles.
- also known as Triexta; Smartstrand; and PTT.
Polyester - This is a soft and stain resistant fiber made from recycled
- A soft and yet inexpensive fiber to manufacture which makes it popular for
homeowners who are on a budget.
- Also known as polypropylene. A durable fiber that is inexpensive to
manufacture but difficult to clean.
- A soft and natural fiber derived from sheep, is naturally fire-resistant but very
expensive to buy and more costly to install and maintain.
must compare apples to apples. For example, you cannot compare a NYLON carpet to
a POLYESTER carpet, or a WOOL carpet to an OLEFIN carpet. This would be like
comparing apples to oranges. You have to compare similar carpets and narrow
it down to the one that best meets your needs and lifestyle as well as your
matter what, don't trust any salesperson that says a Polyester carpet is just
as durable as a Nylon carpet. Nylon is the most durable fiber and most
resilient carpet fiber available today. So if you want your new carpet to tolerate
heavy foot-traffic and continue to look like-new for years to come, then nylon
is the fiber you need to select.
You Should Consider a Nylon Carpet for Your Stairs
is a generic name or designation for a family of synthetic polymers first
produced in 1935 by the DuPont Company. As far as fibers go, Nylon is the most
durable and the most resilient of all fibers.
resists matting and crushing of the pile because it is very resilient. A
"Resilient" fiber is
defined as having the ability to return to its original form or position after
being bent, compressed, or stretched. Nylon is the most resilient fiber used to
make carpet today. Resiliency is what keeps a Nylon carpet looking like-new longer than any
costs more than other fibers. Nylon is one of the more expensive fibers second only to wool. I
would consider choosing a Nylon carpet if you have a lot of foot traffic and
longevity was my biggest concern.
Do Tactesse, Caress, Lisse' and other "softer" Nylons hold up as well
as the "standard, non-soft" nylon fibers do?
This is an excellent CARPET question. From my experience, I have found that the
"softer" Nylon fibers are not NEARLY as resilient as a standard denier
Nylon fiber. The thicker the fiber denier, the heavier the filament, the
more durable the carpet will be!
The way they make
a standard nylon fiber softer is to make the strand thinner. By doing so, I
firmly believe that a lot of the fiber resiliency is compromised. This thinner strand creates a
carpet that is much more softer to the touch but as a result may be more susceptible to matting and
crushing of the pile.
Don't take this the wrong way, I'm not steering you away from buying a
soft nylon, but if you want to have the absolute most durable and most resilient
nylon for the money, I suggest you buy a carpet made with a standard denier
Nylon fiber, and steer away from a softer product.
is Carpet Fiber Denier?
is a unit of measurement that is used to determine fiber thickness. Fibers with
a high-denier rating tend to be thicker and more durable. Fibers with a
low-denier rating tend to feel softer.
give you some perspective, a typical soft-nylon fiber is usually rated between 8
and 12 denier, A typical human air is approximately 20 denier. Standard weight
non-soft nylon fibers are usually rated between 40d and 80d.
Fiber Denier is easiest understood if you have ever gone fishing and used a
nylon-filament fishing line. The thicker the
fishing line is, the stronger it is.
fishing for Trout, most fishermen use a thin 4 to 6-pound test fishing line. For
catching bigger fish
like Steelhead or Salmon, a thicker 8 to 10-pound nylon test fishing line may be
used. The thicker the nylon fishing line, the stronger it is and the more durable it is.
same holds true with carpet fibers. Some
Nylon carpet fibers are manufactured (extruded) thinner to make a carpet style that
feels much softer to the touch, but in doing so, some of the strength, durability or
resiliency may be sacrificed. Therefore I believe a carpet made with a (standard
or non-soft) denier Nylon fiber will be more durable and be more resilient than a carpet made
with a thinner strand as used in today's branded "Soft Nylons".
My Article: Lifestyle Often
Dictates Best Carpet Choice
PTT (AKA Smartstrand® by Mohawk™)
you want a carpet that is durable, soft and resist stains, Sorona®
may be the fiber you are looking for. Sorona
has permanent stain resistance that is engineered into the fiber and will
never wear or wash off. But remember, no
carpet is completely
also known as Triexta or PTT was developed by DuPont™.
It is a polymer derived from corn. It is said to have the best anti-stain
properties and cleans easier than any other fiber. They also say it is very
durable. Sorona™ is clearly more durable
than PET or Polyester, but is it as durable as Nylon? I don't think so.
I do believe that Sorona
may resists stains and clean a little bit easier than Nylon, but the durability
and resiliency of Nylon is hard to beat. Either way, Sorona may be the fiber you
need for your busy home and lifestyle when stain resistance is the utmost
is not a new fiber, it was invented back in the 1940's and was deemed too
expensive to manufacture at that time to be able to compete with other carpet
fibers like Nylon. Carpet prices have increased enough over the past 20 years to
allow Sorona™ to be manufactured at a
has a line of carpet styles using the Sorona fiber and they have branded it and
call it Smartstrand®TM.
and Sorona® are a trademark and a registered trademark of E.I. DuPont de
Nemours and Company.
made of Polyester or PET Polyester!
is one of the least-costly fibers to manufacture...
thick polyester carpet may look nice and feel super soft to your hand, but the
polyester fiber is not very resilient and it does not a make a long-lasting
tend to mat down quickly, and that has always been the main problem with carpets made from this fiber.
When you walk on a carpet, with each and every footstep you bend, stretch and compress the
and with polyester, the tufts soon begin to fall over. Once Polyester fibers are crushed, they
don't spring back to their original upright position.
This is why most new carpet warranties for polyester carpets do not cover ANY claims against matting
or crushing of the pile.
of false claims about Polyester!
be fooled by carpet salespeople who recommend carpets made from polyester and
say it is just as durable as nylon. It may be
acceptable for you to buy a carpet made of polyester as long as you know EXACTLY
expect and not pay a lot of money for it.
I wouldn't expect to get a life-span of more than 5 years on any residential
grade polyester carpet, regardless of its
specifications or warranty claims. I might consider choosing a carpet made of
polyester if I wanted to spend as little as possible on a carpet that looks nice
for a very short amount of time, less than 7 years at best in a low-traffic
made of Olefin (also called
is a very strong fiber. It is often used to make Berber carpets, commercial
carpets and outdoor grass carpets. Olefin wears well and has good stain
resistance when an anti-stain treatment is applied. Olefin also has good
anti-static properties. However, Olefin is not easy to keep clean and tends to
look dingy when soiled. Olefin also has poor resiliency so smaller-looped Berber styles
tend to wear much better than do larger-looped Berber styles.
looped carpets wear very well, as the loops tend to be very small which leaves
little room for the loops to become matted or crushed. Wheelchairs roll easily
over commercial level-loop Olefin carpets that are glued-down without padding,
and may be a good choice for handicapped areas, hospitals and retirement home
applications. When comparing Berber carpets made of Olefin, choosing a style
with smaller loops and a
tighter weave will provide a much more durable carpet.
Most Popular Carpet Styles?