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Indoor Outdoor Carpet

By Michael Hilton

Indoor outdoor carpet has come a long way since the early days when grass carpet was the only indoor outdoor carpet a consumer could find. Today, indoor outdoor carpet looks pretty much the same as indoor carpet, except indoor outdoor carpet typically uses olefin fiber (see polypropylene fibers).

Olefin fibers are extremely moisture resistant and is the only carpet fiber that does not absorb a significant amount of water-based moisture. This does not mean that olefin fiber is not susceptible to mold and mildew growth. However, olefin fiber is dyed using a solution dye method in which the fibers are melted in the color of choice. This allows the use of diluted bleach to be used for cleaning. Diluted bleach will not remove color of 100% olefin fibers, but sodium hypochlorite (Chlorox®) will kill most molds. However, bleach solutions can be harmful to some backing adhesives. (In most cases, consumers use a bleach solution that is too strong to accomplish their purpose.)

Olefin fiber is the only carpet fiber that floats on water. While other fibers may float for a while; once they begin to absorb water they sink.

Indoor Outdoor Carpet

Indoor outdoor carpet typically uses an olefin fiber with built-in UV stabilizers, which limits fading, however, the solution dye process (color through and through) typically improves the fade resistance of these products.

All indoor outdoor carpet styles should be glued directly to the surface in which they are applied. Most indoor outdoor carpet styles utilize a rubber coating or marine backing rather than a laminated jute or woven polypropylene backing. This limits delamination or separation of the backing material from the primary backing. Marine coatings are glued (coated) directly to the primary backing.

Most indoor outdoor carpet styles are used on concrete or wood decks, but they are suitable for most substrates.

Indoor outdoor carpet color choices have come a long way since the early years when green, blue, and gray were the primary color choices. Additionally, the quality of these products has improved significantly. In years past, the manufacture of indoor outdoor carpet was relegated (by carpet manufacturers) to slower, outdated machinery. Carpet density was low and these products were not expected to last.

Today, entire golf courses are being carpeted with indoor outdoor carpet. In desert areas, where water shortages limit the grooming of fairways and greens, many golf courses have installed indoor outdoor carpet. If you've never played on a synthetic turf course, you've never played golf. Of course, Tiger Woods may not enjoy playing on these courses because it helps "equal the playing field".

While most indoor out door carpet styles are not purchased for golf courses, they are much more durable than plain old grass carpets of the past. High density construction, fiber improvements, and back coating adhesives have helped to prolong the life of current styles.

Indoor outdoor carpet styles have become very popular for poolside installations and patios and slip resistance has become a popular selling feature. For wet areas, where slip hazards are always a concerns, carpet tends to enhance the appearance and add value to the area. The same holds true for stairs and steps where slips and falls occur frequently.

About the Author
Michael Hilton was the original creator of Carpet Buyers Handbook. Having owned and operated a carpet wholesale company, Hilton has a vast knowledge about all-things carpet related as well as other types of flooring.

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