Bulk Continuous Filament (BCF) vs Staple Fiber Carpet

Learning about carpet manufacturing isn’t what most people would call exciting, but there are a few details that are important for the carpet shopper. This information is covered throughout the website, and most of it is end product information, meaning it pertains to the specifications of the carpet once it is finished. However, there is one important detail of how the carpet is made. More specifically, you want to know how the fibers are installed, and there are two options: staple fibers and bulk continuous filament.

Staple Fibers

Staple fibers can be produced more cost-effectively and provide manufacturers with greater flexibility for new designs, but all of this comes at a cost—staple carpets shed. This shedding process requires daily vacuuming for about 2 weeks. If it lasts much longer than 2 weeks, the retailer should be notified. Staple fibers can be composed of different length strands and the longer the strand the better. The range is 3-10 inches and over 7 inches is considered high quality. Greater resistance to shedding is seen with the longer fibers.

Bulk Continuous Filament

Other names: BCF, CNF, Continuous Filament

Bulk continuous filament is made of one long strand and doesn’t shed like its stapled counterpart.  Olefin fibers are almost always BCF. Nylon and polyester are always available in BCF. You won’t find wool available as BCF.

Captain’s parting words!

The shedding of staple fibers is a deterrent to some people, but it doesn’t have to be. The shedding of staple fibers should be very temporary, lasting about 2 weeks. Choosing name brands and longer fibers will nearly guarantee the shedding of your carpet will be minimal and short-lasting. Being open-minded to staple fibers will give you more options and possibly a better deal on your carpet. If you are set on choosing bulk continuous filament carpet, keep in mind it can be designated by “BCF” or “CNF” on the tag.

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3 months ago

what is your opinion of Stainmaster nylon BCF 6,6 pet protect 5 star and it’s longivity? We are planning to do our entire 1st floor with it. we have no pets or small children. Our last carpet was installed in 1994, seriously!

2020 years ago

Hi Julie, it’s good to be worried before the big investment. I think Smartstrand is a pretty good carpet, but I’ve also heard some reports of occasional durability issues. I tend to think it’s not quite as durable as a good nylon but the verdicts still out. I believe dreamweaver cashmere is a newer carpet made of polyester (https://www.carpetcaptain.com/carpet-basics/types/polyester-carpet). I think the carpet has many good qualities, but polyester isn’t the best if durability with kids is your number once concern.

2020 years ago

Hi I just had a pipe break and I am having to recarpet a very large house. Downstairs I have a berber, upstairs a plush. I have been looking at smart strand and the dreamweaver pure soft cashmere. I have seen some bad comments about the smart strand matting down and being hard to vacuum. I love the look and softness of these two products, but I am scared they wont hold up on stairs and with my two teenagers? How long have these two products been out and how are they wearing?

Carpet Captain
7 years ago

Hi Lori — I can see how that would be frustrating. To tell you the truth, I hadn’t thought about this situation a whole lot, so it’s a great question. I may create an article specifically about this post. In the meantime, I’m going to send you an email sometime today with more information that will help you out. As for now, I’d start by checking out commercial grade or low pile height carpets with dense padding.

2020 years ago

Brandon…your site is giving me a lot to think about. My biggest issue is that I’m in a power chair all day long. I realize carpet simply isn’t made to hold up under that. Is there any specific advise you would give for someone in my position? Very frustrating…..I’ve only been confined for about 5 years & I hate what it’s doing to my home. Thanks so much.

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