Bulk Continuous Filament (BCF) vs Staple Fiber Carpet
Bulk continuous filament and staple fiber describe how a carpet is manufactured.
Before you run away (I get it… there’s not much less exciting to read about than carpet manufacturing), there are a few details that important to the carpet shopper.
Those details will be the focus of this article. Here’s what you’ll learn:
- what is BCF carpet?
- what is staple fiber carpet?
- how durable are variations such as BCF nylon, BCF polyester, and BCF triexta?
What is BCF carpet?
BCF carpet stands for bulk continuous filament. This means the carpet is manufactured with one continuous strand of carpet fiber. The advantage of BCF carpet is it doesn’t shed like staple carpet will. The drawback is certain fibers, namely wool, are not an option with BCF. Also, staple fibers have a little bit more flexibility in design options.
Synthetic carpet fibers are almost always BCF carpet. I don’t believe you’ll find olefin in anything but BCF and nylon and
Other names: Continuous Filament, CNF
What is staple fiber carpet?
Staple fibers are manufactured with multiple individual strands of carpet. Most fibers are around 7.5 inches, but they can range from 3-10″. Most carpet shoppers should avoid shorter cuts (eg. less than 5″).
The most common stape fiber you’ll find is wool carpet because it only is available as a staple fiber. Staple fibers advantage is more luxurious designs can be created, but its drawback is it sheds for about two weeks requiring frequent vacuuming (and sometimes a little panic by the homeowner).
BCF nylon carpet
BCF nylon carpet is possibly the most durable carpet you can buy. Nylon is a very resilient fiber that stands up to foot traffic, and it can also have great stain resistance (some of this depends on the brand of nylon). The advantage of nylon being BCF is that it will not shed early on, but a staple fiber nylon will be just as durable.
I’d generally buy a BCF nylon over staple nylon just so I didn’t have to deal with the shedding. However, there are times when the best looking designs can only be made as a staple fiber. In these cases, I have no issues going with staple nylon.
BCF polyester carpet
BCF polyester carpet might be the most popular carpet around. You take the most popular manufacturing technique in BCF and combine it with (what I think is) the most popular carpet fiber in polyester. The big disadvantage of polyester is it is not as durable as nylon, but it is usually cheaper. You can read more on my nylon vs polyester carpet page. Just like nylon, you might consider a staple polyester carpet if there is a certain design that really catches your eye (because it is not able to made in that design as a BCF carpet).
BCF triexta carpet
BCF triexta is the newest carpet material. Triexta is commonly sold under the brand name Smartstrand carpet. It’s one of the most controversial carpets I write about. Some people love it and others hate it. You can read my full opinion and breakdown on my triexta carpet.
Captain’s tips on what to do next before carpet shopping:
Now you know what it means when your carpet says “BCF nylon,” “staple wool,” “BCF polyester,” etc.
And you can confidently make a decision, or at least not be surprised how your carpet performs. Here what you should do next as a smart carpet shopper:
- Go through my free step-by-step course on how to buy carpet.
- Shameless advertisement I think will help you: A good carpet installer can not only make or break your carpet purchase, but they can also help you decide what type of carpet would be best for your home. Get 3 free quotes from pre-qualified installers in your area with HomeAdvisor by clicking here.
Any questions on BCF carpet or staple fibers? Let me know in the comments below.