Carpet can be grouped into three main constructions of loop pile, cut pile, and cut and loop pile. Each of these types may be used in the home; although cut piles s most popular for residential carpet.
- Berber carpet is fashioned by weaving big, bulked-out, flecked yarns into loops, which range from small and precise to shaggy. The flecking gives the carpet visual interest. The loops in Berber carpet, which can be all one level or multi-leveled, create many of its most important characteristics. The loops make the carpet durable, provide softness and comfort, are resilient to crushing, add to its visual interest, hide vacuum marks and footprints, and make the carpet a better insulator. The loops can be sculpted or cut into basket weave, herringbone and ribbed patterns, or uniform across the surface.
Today American Berber carpet is made of wool and a variety of other fibers including silk, nylon, olefin and PET, which is a material made of recycled plastic bottles. The term Berber refers to the weave of the carpet, not the material from which it is made. American Berber is machine-made. Nylon and wool Berbers are the best quality, easiest to clean and most long-wearing. Wool is a natural fiber that is resistant to the growth of bacteria. Olefin and PET carpets are less expensive than other materials, but they do not last as long and they are more difficult to keep clean. They are also likely to crush more easily and are not as comfortable underfoot.
Buying Berber Carpet
- The most important factor to consider when buying Berber carpet is material. Wool and nylon Berber is much higher quality than olefin or PET. It will look better longer and last longer. Berber carpet comes in a huge range of colors and loop patterns, so you will probably be able to find what you want in any material.
- All carpet actually begins as a loop pile and the loops are cut during manufacturing to provide the cut pile appearance. As the name implies, cut and loops are a combination of cut loops and uncut loops to provide texture or patterns. Most cut and loops are primarily cut piles with some loops left uncut for patterns; although a few styles utilize the opposite effect.
Cut Pile Carpet
Cut pile constructions can be used in both residential and commercial carpet installations. However, cut piles are used far more widely in residential applications and comprise the largest share of the residential market. There are numerous subcategories of cut pile carpet. Each category provides a different appearance or finished look. The following categories of cut pile can be found when shopping for residential carpet.
- This is a cut pile carpet in which two or more plies of yarn have been twisted and heat-set so that the tip of each carpet tuft is distinguishable on the pile surface. Saxonies have the tendency to show footprints and vacuum cleaner sweeper marks. This is based in light reflection of the fiber when pile direction is changed. When brushed in one direction, the pile may assume a darker hue, while adjacent yarns brushed in the opposite direction may present a lighter hue. When viewed in the opposite direction, color hues of darker areas will appear lighter. This is not a defect of any kind, but merely a characteristic of this carpet construction.
- Sometimes called velvet because of the velvet or velour appearance obtained by using staple yarn (see fiber) and high-density construction. Plushes provide a more formal appearance than other cut pile constructions. They are subject to revealing vacuum cleaner sweeper marks and footprints due to light reflection similar to a saxony. Delustred (non-shiny) yarns may reduce this shade variation. Plushes tend to be more subject to pile reversal or water marking. Water marking is the result of permanent pile reversal in localized areas. Watermarking provides the appearance of a wet surface in darker shaded areas. The shape of these areas may appear irregular, which reinforces the appearance of a wet area. This is considered a normal occurrence for Plushes and is not considered a manufacturing defect. The occurrence of water marking may be a result of local conditions or other unknown causes. In previous examinations, products that have been replaced with similar problems develop watermarking in the same areas, suggesting local influences.
- Textured cut piles also may be called “trackless”, “foot-print free”, “stuffer-box”, and mistakenly, “frieze carpet”. These names describe the tendency of this construction to show fewer footprints and sweeper marks than other cut pile constructions. It should be noted that no cut pile can be classified as being completely free of shading. These constructions are obtained by stuffing yarn into a steam box (stuffer box) and providing a kinked or curled yarn. The fiber is exposed to live steam to set yarn memory in this curled position. This curling of the fiber reduces light reflectance, thus reducing the appearance of footprints. Generally, when viewing a texture from the top, kinked yarns may provide a two-tone effect as a result of shade variations from reflected light.
- A true frieze carpet is similar to a texture in that footprints and vacuum cleaner marks are disguised. The textured appearance is acquired by placeing a high twist level on the plied yarns (see fiber). This high twist level causes the tuft to twist back upon itself providing a kinked appearance. In general terms, higher twist levels provide enhanced performance characteristics, when compared to lower twist products with the same construction attributes. True frieze carpet styles tend to be more costly because of higher costs of production and they may not provide the same perceived value as lower twist, textured products.
While other cut pile categories exist, these constitute the most popular styles of residential carpet. These include shag carpet – a low density, high pile height product popular during the 1970s. This construction tends to increase and decrease in popularity depending upon design trends. Also, multi-level cut piles, sometimes called carved saxonies, utilize higher and lower cuts to form patterns.
I know this is a very long post-- but there are a lot of terms being misused out there and it can make things confusing as a shopper! Hope you find it helpful!