Polyester or polypropylene carpet in a rental / investment property

Some models of polyester carpets

When it comes to choosing a carpet for a rental or investment property, it is really important to select the right carpet material which guarantees the durability, affordability, and satisfaction. There are two popular carpet materials, polyester and polypropylene, each offering their specific advantages and possible drawbacks. This article tries to provide you with the useful information containing pros and cons of each carpet material in comfort, cost, and maintenance in order to help you better compare these two carpet material types and better decide about the right carpet which best suits your rental or investment property.

Durability and resilience of polyester and polypropylene carpets

Both Polyester and Polypropylene are susceptible to flattening over the long run. Polypropylene is commonly sold in a low pile height loop style such as a berber rather than a cut pile to counteract the crushing effect of the fibre. However, you will see polyester carpets sold more often as a cut pile carpet, especially in a twist pile carpet rather than in a berber style. Polyester carpets durability has increased over the last decade to become a rival of nylon carpets. It is now common to see polyester carpets offering a better wear warranty to consumers. It is common to find polyester carpets offering a 15-year wear warranty to even upwards of 20 years warranty but that does come with a higher cost compared to polypropylene which is generally common for having a 7-year wear warranty and lower.

If you are marketing your property to people with pets, then a low pile twist is preferable to a berber as pets’ claws can get into the loops.  Over time the polyester’s fibres can un-twirl themselves, making the carpet look frayed and is prone to matting compared to polypropylene. However, compared to polyester, polypropylene carpet is more is vulnerable to heat, so hot stains, such as hot drinks, can mark the carpet.

Winner ~ Polyester carpet ranks in strength between nylon and polypropylene.

Comfort and softness in polyester vs. polypropylene carpets

Polypropylene is known as a cheap synthetic carpet option, so there is only so much comfort and luxury you can expect from this fibre. Polypropylene isn’t known for its softness and is known to be scratchy on the skin. Polyester Carpet is generally prized for its exceptional softness and vibrant colour retention capabilities. For the same standard of softness and plushness, you would be paying double the price for nylon carpet. Polyester such as Kingston carpet with its soft touch provides a comfortable underfoot experience, and it is a suitable option for spaces such as bedrooms and living rooms.

Winner ~ Polyester Carpet 

Cost and budget in polyester vs. polypropylene carpets

Polypropylene is considered an entry level budget friendly carpet as the manufacturing process is less resource intensive which helps keep the costs down. You will hear the name ‘Landlord Carpet’ which is a tight short loop pile typically made from polypropylene. It wears better than a cheaper cut pile carpet. Avoid polypropylene as a cut pile carpet as it can lead to crushing / matting sooner. So, with budget being the factor, choose a polypropylene carpet that has a tighter and shorter loop pile to ensure better longevity for your money. Your second cheapest option is Polyester. Choose a high-density version and it is best reserved to install it in smaller rental properties and ideally in non-high traffic areas such as bedrooms in order to keep replacement costs down.

Bear in mind that cheap doesn’t mean longevity. Even though you may be saving money, you’ll likely spend more money in the long run because of cleaning and replacement needs.

Winner ~ For those operating with tight budgets, there is no other carpet that beats polypropylene’s prices.

Polyester-based carpet products

Polyester- and polypropylene-based carpet products in different colours

Stain resistance and maintenance in polyester and polypropylene carpets

Polyester carpets:

✔️ Naturally resistant to water-based stains —doesn’t absorb water easily (mould/ mildew resistant), meaning you can wipe spills right off the carpet.

✔️ Quick drying.

✔️ Resistant to most acids and solvents.

✔️ Chemically treated for stain resistance- Solution dyed yarns mean polyester is very stain-resistant and fade-resistant.

✔️ The moisture and stain resistance make inevitable situations like messy accidents and muddy paws easy to clean. Not to mention, polyester fibres are nonallergenic and won’t retain odours.

✘ Polyester is made from PET – recycled plastic containers which is not abrasion resistant. Over time with recycled plastic bottles, you will notice the bottle is scuffed or stained and loses its transparency. It becomes dull and looks whiter/grey. This can happen with polyester carpet. You will see grey or dark patterns in the carpet’s traffic lanes. Professional cleaning cannot reverse or repair this damage.

✘ Heat Sensitivity – Environments with high-temperature variations, direct sunlight, or proximity to heating elements may not be suited to polyester carpeting.

✘ Oil- Staining- As polyester base material is oil, it can also attract oil easily. So, it is difficult to get rid of the oil stains, and you will need needs of professional cleaning companies to remove them completely.

✘ Polyester carpets take much more upkeep compared to other carpet types as the fibres will lie flat and traffic lanes will look worn. It can lose the battle appearance wise and it requires regular vacuuming to fluff up any areas that have been crushed or pressed down from people walking on them. It also requires regular vacuuming due to their nature to attract oil, which in turn attracts dust and dirt. Periodic steam cleaning / shampooing is required to boost the appearance and longevity.

✘ Highly susceptible to matting and requires special brushing regularly as well.

Salsa Atlantic Carpet

Salsa Atlantic Carpet

Polypropylene carpets:

✔️ Stain Resistant- the man-made fibres resist almost all typical stains.

✔️ Bleach-cleanable- almost any tough stain can be cleaned up with a bleach solution.

✔️ Chemically treated for stain resistance- Solution dyed yarns mean polypropylene is very stain-resistant and fade-resistant

✔️ Polypropylene is quick drying and less water absorbent than polyester and a better choice for installation in areas that have more moisture such as basements. It also means, it’s better off at fighting mildew build up.

✔️ Pet- Friendly- thanks to its resistance to water and staining, polypropylene carpet is excellent for pet owners who may need to deal with the occasional accident. Synthetic Polypropylene carpet fibres also do not retain odours as natural fibre carpets do.

✘ Vulnerable to heat- hot liquid stains can mark it. As the fibres in the polypropylene carpets can melt easily, it is strongly recommended not to use this type of carpet material in places like kitchens or living rooms where fireplace or high heat may exist.

 Oil staining—Like polyester, one of the polypropylene carpet basic materials is oil. This type of carpet can also attract oils and you cannot easily remove oil stains from it. Again, you will need the help of professionals in the cleaning industry,

✘ Prone to Wicking – Residential polypropylene berbers , presents some additional challenges when cleaning. Berber loop piles create an uneven surface. Traditional hot water extraction or steam cleaning wands may not sufficiently perform extraction. As polypropylene resists water (it’s not absorbent), the cleaning solution follows the yarn shaft right down to the backing of the carpet, resulting in over-wetting. By carpet getting dried, the dirty water comes to the surface of the carpet and makes it look unattractive.

✘ Flash burns- Polypropylene has a low melting point and it will burn with little heat, so little that the friction of moving furniture can burn streaks into the carpet. Never drag furniture across a polypropylene carpet- Lift it.

✘ Polypropylene’s low melting point means caution in using hot water extraction methods. Dry or low temperature steam cleaning is required to prevent fibre distortion or colour fading.

Winner ~ Tie- Each with its pros and cons

Hastings Street Seagrass Carpet

Hastings Street Seagrass Carpet


Overall winner: Polypropylene or polyester carpet?

Polypropylene (Olefin): Colour Fast, Naturally Stain Resistant, Economical

Polyester: Exceptionally Stain & Fade-Resistant, Soft, & Budget-Friendly

The type of carpet you should choose really depends on your priorities and needs and the tenants you are marketing your property to.

Polypropylene carpets like Salsa carpet work well anywhere you need fade and stain resistance – in rooms with strong sunlight, indoor/outdoor rooms, bedrooms & playrooms, and basements.

Polyester carpets are a great choice for bedrooms and playrooms. A tenant will appreciate the comfort and softness it brings to a bedroom. A high-density polyester carpet is also a great choice for the high traffic areas based on their long-term resistance, especially when it benefits from multi colors which can help in hiding the effects of high traffic and other stains.

No two fibres have as much in common as polypropylene and polyester. If your priorities are superior water resistance and a cheaper budget, then polypropylene will be the logical choice. If you don’t mind spending a little bit more money to get durability and softness, then polyester will end up being the better choice. To find detailed information about best carpet material options based on your need, you can always contact our professional flooring experts in Melbourne before making any decision for your rental or investment property flooring option.

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