Nylon Carpet vs Polypropylene Carpet

  • Carpet, Choosing
  • Published: 5 February, 2023
  • Updated: 5 February, 2023
Hero image of carpet in a bedroom.

Nylon Carpet vs Polypropylene Carpet

Two of the most commonly purchased carpet types in Australia are nylon and polypropylene carpets. Both are manufactured from synthetic fibres and are suitable for both residential and commercial usage. Considering all of the similarities that they share at a surface level, how do you decide which one is best for your situation?

Here’s our complete side-by-side comparison of these two popular synthetic carpets. You’ll soon figure out whether you are Team Nylon or Team Polypropylene.

What is Nylon Carpet?

Nylon is a well-known synthetic fibre used beyond simply carpets, often used in clothing and other fabrics. Part of its popularity is due not only to its durability but to its versatility. Nylon is a very easy fabric to dye, meaning that nylon carpets can come in a wide variety of colours and textures.

Nylon carpets are also free of generating static electricity, making it a comfortable option for the Australian climate. Furthermore, nylon carpet is commonly “solution dyed” during manufacturing. This means that the colour is embedded into the fabric, making it harder to wear off and naturally stain resistant.

Hero image with nylon carpet.

What is Polypropylene Carpet?

Polypropylene carpets are known for being the most affordable option of synthetic fibres. That’s not to say that they are necessarily of low quality.

Another notable characteristic of polypropylene is its great resistance to wear and tear. This makes it suitable for higher traffic areas around the house, including living rooms, hallways and even dining rooms. However this type of carpet fibre will be less soft and luxurious compared to nylon carpet.

Sable carpet

Direct Comparison – Nylon Carpet vs Polypropylene Carpet

With that overview of our two main carpets out of the way, here’s some direct comparisons of these carpet fibres. We will cover the key characteristics that people look for in carpets.

Comfort & Softness

The most important factor when choosing a carpet is how it feels underfoot. Our showrooms are designed to be hands-on… or should I say feet-on because everyone loves running their hands through the soft fibres. But which is softer?

A nylon carpet will almost always be softer than a polypropylene one. If you walked barefoot across a polypropylene carpet and then immediately did the same thing on a nylon carpet, you would definitely feel the difference. Polypropylene is known to be a little scratchier to the skin, whereas nylon tends to give the soft luxurious feel.

Keep in mind that a thicker pile height will also make a carpet softer, not just the material.

Winner: Nylon fibres are almost always softer than polypropylene.

Durability and Resilience

As far as synthetic carpets go, it’s pretty hard to beat nylon carpets when it comes to durability. Nylon is well-known to have great retention over the years, which is why it’s commonly installed in areas with a lot of foot traffic. Nylon is very crush resistant as well, meaning that it will retain its original height and shape even after a long time.

Polypropylene fairs well in this category, but not as well. It’s definitely a practical carpet fibre but it can’t take as much of a beating as nylon. It will also have a much harder time still looking new after a decade, whereas nylon can still look fantastic after a long time with proper maintenance.

Winner: Nylon carpet is more durable and resilient to crushing compared to polypropylene carpet.

Stain Resistance and Absorption

The good news is that no matter which of these carpet fibres you end up with, you will be privy to some of the best stain resistance the carpeting industry can provide. Nylon and polypropylene both have excellent stain resistance.

When it comes to moisture or water absorption, polypropylene actually has the edge. However it is much more prone to absorbing oil-based stains. Nylon carpets on the otherhand have colour dye injected into the fibre at high temperatures and offer the “solution dyed” feature. This makes them a lot more resistant to staining and fading.

Winner: Nylon is harder to stain and oil repelling, however polypropylene is less moisture absorbent.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Once again, you’re in for a treat here no matter which carpet fibre you choose. Like most synthetic carpets, nylon and polypropylene are very easy to clean. All it takes is weekly vacuuming and the occasional scrubbing with soap and water whenever something gets spilled.

As far as long-term maintenance is concerned, nylon carpets will probably have the edge here. This is because polypropylene, while it lasts l0ng, won’t retain the highest fibre quality over the years. This means it might fray or tear easier than nylon, especially if there are cats or dogs around. Furthermore, nylon fibres are more resistant to oil-based stains.

With that said though, both options are easy to clean when compared to some of the other options out on the market.

Winner: Nylon carpet is easier to clean and maintain than polypropylene.

Cleaning carpet with a spray and cloth.

Cost and Budgeting

Nylon is typically known as one of the most expensive synthetic carpet options, only second to triexta and wool carpet. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unaffordable for most, but it isn’t a friendly option for those who are working on a tight budget.

The cost of laying nylon carpet in Sydney averages around $60 – $120 per square metre, depending largely on the quality of the carpet you choose. Nylon options come in many different thicknesses and densities.

Conversely, polypropylene is by far the cheapest of the carpeting options. This makes it very common for investment and rental properties where the budget isn’t unlimited. The cost of laying polypropylene carpet goes for as low as $35 – $60 per square metre making it by far the most affordable floor covering available.

Winner: If saving cash is a priority of yours, there is simply no better option than to pick a polypropylene carpet.

Environmental Friendliness

If you’re searching for an environmentally friendly option, you may have no choice but to go with polypropylene in this case.

Polypropylene is generally considered a safe and sustainable material. Meanwhile, the manufacturing process to create nylon products takes up a lot of energy and resources, making it a far less sustainable process and product.

It also must be noted that nylon is much more likely to be chemically treated. In fact, low quality cuts of nylon have been known to contain volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde. The same applies to very cheap polypropylene carpets.

Winner: Polypropylene is a more environmentally friendly material than nylon.

Conclusion – Is Nylon or Polypropylene the Ideal Carpet Choice?

Despite being synthetic fibres, nylon and polypropylene aren’t as similar as they may appear at first glance.

If a cheap carpet that is both not absorbent and environmentally friendly sounds appealing to you, you will be better off going for a polypropylene purchase and installation.

But if you want a synthetic carpet that offers a lot of value, especially when it comes to stain resistance, colourful designs, a softer feel and superior long-term durability, a nylon carpet will be unbeatable.

If you are looking to discover more about each type of carpet, we have constructed the ultimate guide to both polypropylene carpets and nylon carpets.

Coonawarra coloured carpet in living room.

Contact FloorVenue for Further Help

If you have any more concerns or inquiries about synthetic carpeting, the carpet industry or the nature of nylon and polypropylene materials, contact us at FloorVenue any time. We’ll help you figure out what the ideal installation plan should be for you home, balancing practicality, budget, and comfort.

FloorVenue has been covering Sydney and NSW’s homes, apartments and commercial floors for over two decades. Whether you are after natural wool carpet, the softest polyester carpets or the innovative triexta fibre, FloorVenue stocks over a thousand different carpet colours and over a popular hundred brands.

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