Synthetic Poly– Polyester, P-E-T, and polypropylene (olefin) are the least expensive materials you can put on your floor. There are some positive and negative attributes to this choice. Synthetic materials do not collect mold or mildew. For this reason, many indoor/outdoor carpets and rugs are made from poly products. These are also the most economical products to use for basement carpets. Because of the rising cost of nylon, most manufacturers are finding ways to utilize these less expensive options in more decorative ways. Unfortunately, the negatives are that they are the shortest lasting, least resilient, and can emit an odor when first installed.
Nylon– When it comes to synthetics, nylon is king. It is softer, more durable, more recyclable, and holds color better than any poly. Used in most areas of your home or office, nylons are even rated higher in terms of fire resistance. Many manufacturers will treat their nylon products with Stainmaster to resist stains or Magic Fresh to reduce odor. However, with the rising cost of oil (nylon is petroleum based), nylon is now near the cost of wool. Manufacturers are almost pricing nylon out of a lot of homes.
Wool– Every attempt at improving synthetic materials is meant to mimic wool, but there is no match to this natural wonder. Wool is organic, sustainable, and reusable. Environmental responsibility aside, it is also the longest lasting, softest, most resilient type of carpet you can put on your floor. The undyed wools are actually priced very similarly to nylons and provide a natural alternative for your home. Most manufacturers also save their most decorative designs and unique colors for their wool lines making these materials not only pleasing to the touch but also the eye.