- Jeff Dean
Dover Flooring Blog
November 15th, 2014
Best carpet yarn??
Today we explore the heat set in carpet yarn!
With the proliferation of polyester carpet yarns we want to set the record straight today about which carpet yarn is best (in our humble opinion).
While every carpet yarn has pros and cons, there is still a yarn system that we feel outperforms all others. The mainstream carpet yarns are nylon, wool, polyester, triexta (a form of polyester, more on this later) and olefin.
Nylon is still the best wearing yarn out there. It is almost impossible to wear out with normal residential wear and it has great resilience. Most carpets never wear out but they will "ugly" out. The carpet mills consider wear out as carpet fiber worn away. This can only happen with abrasive wear and is the main reason why you should clean your carpets every 12 to 18 months. To get rid of all of the dirt particles which can act like sandpaper to your carpet.
Even though nylon yarn is the hardest to wear out, it's nylon's resiliency that is it's greatest feature. Most carpet yarns are heat set. What is this? When you separate the carpet yarns in your carpet you will see that each individual yarn has been twisted. Kind of like a rope. The carpet mills have determined that the yarns are so much stronger when they are twisted together. This is great as long as they stay twisted together and this is wear nylon yarn shines and heat set comes into play.
To keep the yarns tightly twisted together, the mills have heat set the yarns. As you know, if you cut a rope that is intertwined, it will fray at the ends. The more it frays the more it starts to unwind and pretty soon your rope isn't worth anything. The same with carpet yarns. In a cut pile carpet, each yarn end (like in the rope example) is cut. So the yarn wants to unwind and fray with normal foot traffic. As they unwind and fray, the carpet starts to ugly out. It will look worn and just plain ugly. No way to fix this. You will have to replace the carpet.
Now, with heat set, the mills have "set" the twist in the yarn with heat. The higher the heat, the longer the yarn wants to stay twisted. So the higher the heat, the longer the yarn stays twisted, the longer a carpet holds up to foot traffic, the longer the carpet will look good and longer the carpet will last for you.
As you may have guessed by now, nylon yarn can withstand the highest heat levels and so will keep it's twist level longer than other yarns. If you were to set the heat level the same for a polyester carpet, the yarn would melt. So even though polyester carpet yarns are heat set, they are heat set at a lower heat level than the nylon yarns and hence will not stand up to higher foot traffic when it comes to maintaining it's look. And because nylon carpet yarn stands up better to higher wear (keeps it's look longer, doesn't ugly out as fast) it will last longer than other types of carpet. The longer a carpet wears, the longer it will last for you and the less often you will have to replace it, thus saving you money in the long haul.
So when it comes to longevity and what type of carpet will stand up best to wear and look good the longest, nylon yarn is still king of the heap.
Carpet yarn wear and resiliency rankings:
So if wear and resiliency are the most important factors for you when buying a new carpet then nylon should be your choice!
Next week we discuss stain resistance as another important factor in determining the best carpet yarn.
- Jeff Dean
Dover Flooring Blog
November 8th, 2014
Why are humidity levels important for a wood flooring installation job and for the wood flooring itself going forward?
Wood flooring is made of wood (duh!). The wood in the hardwood flooring was once a living and breathing tree. During the tree's lifespan, the wood constantly had moisture flowing through it to feed the tree. So, while the term "wood flooring and water don't mix" is accurate, the fact is hardwood flooring still needs some moisture to keep from drying out and remaining viable.
|Gapping caused by low humidity levels|
If your home is allowed to become too dry, your hardwood flooring will contract (shrink). If the surrounding air remains too dry for an extended period of time, then the wood flooring (and your furniture and pretty much anything in your home made of wood) could start to crack. When you see cracking in a hardwood floor or in your wood furniture it will almost always be from lack of moisture. Just as your skin will start to crack when it's dry so will your hardwood floor. And just as this is bad for your skin it's also bad for your hardwood flooring. Expansion and contraction in your hardwood flooring is fairly normal but cracking is not and really can't be fixed. A cracked board will remain cracked. Replacement is really the only option to get rid of a cracked floor board.
|Cupping of hardwood flooring|
Now, too much moisture is also bad for wood. Too much moisture can cause the hardwood flooring to expand so much that it can actually cup or buckle. As each individual board making up a hardwood flooring installation absorbs moisture out of the air they will start expanding. Each hardwood flooring job should have adequate expansion gaps around the edge of the room allowing for this normal expansion. Without adequate expansion gaps (and too much moisture in the air) the hardwood flooring will cup (the edges of the boards will raise while the middle stays down). With extreme moisture absorption the flooring will start to buckle.
|Cupping caused from too much moisture|
So you can see that too much moisture or too little moisture can really damage your hardwood flooring. Just the right amount of moisture is ideal. Keeping your home with a relative humidity level between 35% and 55% will keep the wood flooring from gapping in the dry months and cupping or buckling during the humid months. You can purchase a humidistat from your local hardware store to monitor the health (humidity levels) of your home.
If your home is too dry, you may need to purchase a whole house humidification system that attaches to your furnace (as a matter of fact, if you have hardwood floors in your home you should definitely have a whole house humidification system) or smaller 1 room humidifiers set up in or near the areas that you have wood floors. With a humidistat and some type of humidification system you should be able to keep your home within the required humidity levels for optimal hardwood flooring performance. This will minimize the fooring's expansion and contraction cycles. If you kept your home at a constant humidity level of let's say 41%, you really shouldn't have any floor movement at all (theoretically).
Wood and water don't mix but hardwood and some moisture is critical for a healthy hardwood floor that will last for years and years and years......
Next week we'll talk about the differences between an engineered floor and solid hardwood as it pertains to expansion and contraction. How wider width planks also affect performance when it comes to expansion and contraction. Also, dimensional stability. How it's different between solid hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring and how different species are affected by similar moisture levels......