Choosing the correct carpet fiber is invaluable to selecting and caring for your flooring investment.

Fiber is carpet's basic ingredient 
The four basic fibers used in carpets today all have their individual strengths. Even more importantly, our ultimate choice will be determined by the characteristics that are most important to you.

Although some carpets are made of blends, most are made entirely of one of the following four fibers:


Nylon is the most widely used carpet fiber. Though it has many strengths, the greatest is its...strength. Nylon is incredibly durable and resilient. Its resistance to matting and wear make it an excellent choice for the heavy traffic of an active household. Nylon carpet fiber is soft yet strong, shows color brilliantly, and cleans well. Though not inherently stain resistant, most nylons are treated with a stain-resist carpet treatment for protection against household spills and stains.

Polypropylene (also called Olefin)

The use of polypropylene in carpet has grown dramatically over the past ten years due to the popularity of Berber style loop carpets. Polypropylene is extremely resistant to stains, fading, and moisture. Polypropylene, a value-oriented fiber, is also notably colorfast because it is solution dyed, which means the color is added during production and not dyed later. The color is such an inherent part of the fiber that you can even clean polypropylene with bleach.


The appreciation for polyester's versatility as a carpet fiber continues to grow. Polyester offers exceptional softness, making it ideal for thick, cut pile styles. Polyester is also naturally and permanently stain resistant and fade resistant. It has excellent color clarity, color retention, strength, and abrasion resistance. Carpets made from this fiber are easily cleaned and they resist water soluble stains.


The preeminent natural fiber, wool yields a soft, warm, comfortable feel. Although wool does not possess natural resistance to moisture or abrasion, it ages well and is easy to clean. Because it is the most expensive carpet fiber, wool is generally used only in luxury carpets and area rugs.


Cushion or padding is a critical flooring component. It's the foundation for your carpet, responsible for enhancing both comfort and durability.

Padding is constructed of several different materials, including sponge rubber, foam rubber, urethane foam, bonded urethane and felted combinations of hair and jute. Learn more about types of carpet pads from your Luna Carpet Expert.

Most manufacturers' warranties require that you select padding with appropriate thickness and density to handle the traffic on the carpet. In a bedroom, a thick, soft cushion works well, but in a family room with lots of coming and going, a thin cushion is better.

The right padding will:

  • Make carpet feel better by absorbing the constant pressure of foot traffic
  • Keep your room quieter and warmer through sound-absorption and thermal insulation
  • Keep the carpet from matting down and looking worn: no more ugly carpet
  • Keep your carpet cleaner by providing air space allowing the carpet to "breathe".

The wrong padding can:

  • Cause wrinkling and buckling
  • Trigger the carpet to separate from the backing or pull apart at the seams
  • Break down the carpet
  • Invalidate the warranty

Types of Carpet Pad

Carpet cushion, or "pad," is available in three basic types: foam, fiber, and rubber.

Each type of carpet pad has several different varieties and constructions. The type and thickness of cushion you need varies according to traffic levels and carpet patterns. Bedrooms and other areas with light or moderate traffic, for example, can use thicker and softer carpet cushion. Living rooms, family rooms, hallways, stairs and other heavy traffic areas require thinner and firmer cushion.

Consult your Luna Flooring Expert to help you decide the best carpet cushion for you.

The Carpet Cushion Council describes the three different types as follows:

Foam Carpet Cushion

Generally speaking, foam carpet cushion comes in three recognized, clearly different varieties:

Prime polyurethane foam is a firmer version of the same cushioning used in upholstered furniture, mattresses, and automobile seats. Two liquid ingredients are combined to form a large mass of foam, which is then sliced into sheets for use as a carpet cushion.

Bonded polyurethane foam (sometimes called rebond) is quite unique. You cannot mistake it when you see it, because it is formed by combining chopped and shredded pieces of foam, in different sizes and usually different colors, into one solid piece. It frequently has a surface net for ease of installation and improved performance.

Bonded foam is one of the most amazing recycling projects of all time. Nearly all the scrap foam in the U.S., and some from other countries as well, is utilized to make bonded cushion. This recycles waste which would otherwise be thrown out, and it eases the strain on our landfills. Moreover, bonded foam is itself recyclable.

Froth polyurethane foam is made with carpet backing machinery. Liquid ingredients are applied, either directly to the backs of some carpet styles, or to a non-woven material (for making separate cushion). They reach and form a thin, dense foam which is particularly useful in commercial applications with wide expanses of carpet.

Fiber Carpet Cushion

Foam and rubber carpet cushions are produced from new and recycled materials. Fiber carpet cushion, on the other hand, uses existing fibers (both virgin and recycled, and either natural or man-made fibers) which are interlocked into a useful sheet of felt. There are two distinct varieties of fiber carpet cushion:

Natural fibers include felt, animal hair, and jute (the material used to make some kinds of rope and heavy burlap bags). This is one of the oldest types of carpet cushion, dating back to the earliest days of machine-made carpet.

Synthetic fibers include nylon, polyester, polypropylene, and acrylics, which are needle-punched into relatively dense cushions which have a firm feel and, as with other types of carpet cushion, can be made in virtually any weight, to stand up under light, medium, or heavy traffic, which is how they are usually classified.

Rubber Carpet Cushion

There are two basic types of sponge rubber carpet cushion:

Waffled rubber carpet cushion is made by molding natural or synthetic rubber. Heat cures the rubber and forms a waffle pattern. This variety produces a soft, resilient cushion whose luxurious feel is particularly useful for residences.

Flat sponge rubber is a firm, dense carpet cushion which has a flat surface and is normally used in large-scale commercial applications and with loop type (or Berber) carpet.

Rubber carpet cushion manufacturing processes can be varied to produce different levels of density and firmness. The usual measurement is the weight in ounces per square yard.

Special Note

Berber carpet is becoming increasingly popular, and needs a thin, firm carpet cushion. When buying this type of carpet, be sure that the accompanying cushion has been specified by the manufacturer as suitable for Berber carpet.

Radiant heating is becoming more widely used in certain sections of the country. In the case of radiant heating, you do not want a carpet cushion which is an exceptionally effective insulator, but one which allows the heat from the subflooring to penetrate the carpet system and heat the room. A relatively thin, flat cellular sponge rubber or synthetic fiber carpet cushion works well under these circumstances.