Ask Ken: Are There Footprint-Free Carpets?
Ken's Quick Answer:
"If you don't like footprints or vacuum marks across your carpet, consider a nice stapled wool carpet. If you're going to choose a synthetic carpet, a loop pile will hide marks better than fuzzy carpets."
Ken's In-Depth Answer:
Today, I want to discuss something that people stopped talking about a long time ago: Footprint-free carpet. About 30 years ago, carpets that wouldn't show footprints were a hot commodity. Why? Because the industry found a way to take plastic bottles, recycle them, and turn them into a fiber that was made up of little short pieces.
Those little short pieces (when they were mushed together and tufted into a carpet) created a product that resisted shading. As an example, when you ran a vacuum cleaner over the surface of the carpet, you wouldn't get those light and dark streaks. (For the record: Not everyone hates these streaks!)
Anyway, about 30 years ago there was a significant market for this fiber (aka the PET recycled staple fiber) which led to a variety of synthetic footprint-free carpets. At some point, the powers that be decided that it was no longer economical. PET recycled staple fibers were replaced with continuous filament fibers. It's all very boring stuff. But, importantly, when you walk across or vacuum a continuous filament fiber, it shades.
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"About 30 years ago there was a significant market for the PET recycled staple fiber and you had a variety of synthetic footprint-free fibers. Unfortunately, that's not how they make them anymore."
So, what's a carpet shading hater to do? Well, the one synthetic carpet that still resists shading (most of the time) is looped or berber carpets. When the 'loop' of the carpet gets walked on its appearance remains largely the same. On the other hand, cut-pile or fuzzy synthetic carpets do shade.
To be honest, though, there's only one good footprint-free solution: Wool carpet. We've talked about the benefits of wool carpet in the past and you can add this to the list. Wool carpet is made by twisting small pieces of sheep hair together into yarn. Because it's made up of those small twisted pieces, you're going to wind up with a surface that is almost always footprint-free. (I'm reluctant to ever use the word 'always.')
So, in short, if you don't like those footprints or vacuum marks across your carpet, consider a nice stapled wool carpet. If you're going to choose a synthetic carpet, a loop pile will hide shading better than fuzzy carpets.
If you have any questions about shading and footprint-free carpets, please give us a call at 401-214-0285 or visit our showroom."
About Ken: Ken Fain is the co-owner of Island Carpet in Middletown, RI and a floorcovering veteran of more than 40 years. His popular 'Ask Ken' video series answers common flooring questions on a variety of topics. It has reached thousands of viewers on both YouTube and Facebook.