We often have homeowners come to us and tell them they need commercial carpet. While we sell this type of carpet, it piques our interest when residential customers ask for it. With a little bit of digging, we often discover that what the customer is really looking for is carpet suitable for their screened-in porch, patio or three season room.
While indoor/outdoor carpet (also known as marine-backed carpet) looks similar to commercial carpet, there are actually some pretty key differences.
Both indoor/outdoor carpet and commercial carpet have low profiles, tight loops and a somewhat coarse texture which allows it to stand up to wear-and-tear and gives it high durability.
The whole purpose of commercial carpet is to stand up to heavy foot traffic. Let’s take the example of a restaurant. Not only does a restaurant have to deal with hundreds of people tramping in every day, it also has to handle the repeated steps of a server moving from a table to the drink machine to the POS system to the kitchen and back. Not to mention all the drink and food spills!
It’s a lot more wear-and-tear than your living room sees on an average day, so a more plush carpet just won’t stand up to the job. That’s why we don’t recommend installing thick carpet in commercial or heavy use spaces—it’s a bad investment in the long-run.
Indoor/outdoor carpet, on the other hand, is specifically treated to stand up to sun and rain. Usually made of olefin/polypropylene – which helps give it it’s high durability and stain resistance – the carpet is dyed so it’s resistant to the sun’s UV rays. The fibers also are less prone to mold or mildew than indoor carpet, which is important when it’s installed outdoors or in a room that has some shelter but can still get wet, like on porches.
The essential difference is that indoor/outdoor carpet is built for sunshine and moisture and commercial carpet is built for abrasive traffic lanes. If you install indoor/outdoor carpet in a commercial space, you might wind up with an underperforming carpet, while if you install traditional commercial carpet outdoors you could wind up with a squishy, possibly moldy mess.
And no one wants that!
If you’re in doubt about which carpet you need, ask your flooring professional. At Tish Flooring, we help both homeowners and businesses find the right carpets to meet their needs. If you live or work in Indianapolis, Carmel, Westfield, Zionsville or Noblesville, give us a call and let us help you get what you need.