The pile is the surface layer of a carpet, so it is the part you see and feel daily. The carpet weaving process involves looping the fibers back and forth through the backing, so the pile is determined by whether these fibers have been clipped or left in their looped form. Your carpet's pile significantly impacts its appearance, comfort, durability, and ease of maintenance.
What is cut pile?
Cut pile is the most popular carpet style and is created when the fiber loops are cut, hence the name. When cut, the result is an upright pile, and the ends of the carpet fibers are exposed. Cut pile carpets come in various lengths, thicknesses, and colors and are typically made out of polyester and wool.
Cut pile also contains a twist that helps it stand up and resist matting and crushing, which is one of its advantages. Another advantage is that they're softer underfoot than loop carpets, making them an excellent choice for most of your home. However, cut pile can be more challenging to clean and maintain since the loose fibers allow dirt and liquids to spread into the carpet.
The most popular cut pile styles are Frieze, sometimes called the “modern-day shag carpet," and Saxony, the most traditional cut pile carpet. Cut pile is less resistant to crushing than other types of carpet.
Saxony comes to mind for most people when they think of carpet. It's the most traditional cut-pile carpet, with fibers standing straight up and cut into even lengths.
Saxonies consist of two or more fibers twisted together in a yarn. The soft texture works well in both formal and informal areas but will show every footprint and vacuum-cleaner mark. These carpets have medium durability.
Texture and textured saxonies
Textures are very popular carpets and work especially well in informal areas (such as family rooms and children’s bedrooms) because of their soft feel and multi-colored look that disguises tracks and footprints. Textures are tightly twisted and offer medium durability.
Softer and more level than textures, velvets/plushes are lightly twisted and have a uniform color. Ideal for formal areas such as formal living rooms and master bedrooms because of its luxurious appearance, velvets/plush pile carpeting shows every footprint and vacuum-cleaner mark.
What is cut and loop pile?
As the name suggests, cut and loop pile combines cut and looped fibers, providing a variety of surface textures or sculptured effects with medium durability. Available in solid or multiple colors, this type of carpet can hide dirt and footprints in formal and informal areas.
What is level loop pile?
Level loop pile is made by weaving even loops of yarn into the carpet backing at both ends. Higher loops create a more luxurious appearance yet offer durability and track resistance because of the strong loops. Level loop piles with short and densely packed loops prevent dirt from filtering into the carpet. They are easy to clean, making them ideal for high-traffic areas.
Berbers limit footprints and vacuum tracks in informal areas and are rapidly increasing in popularity. They can have thicker yarns than other level loop pile carpets for high durability. However, these loops also retain dirt and are susceptible to damage from snags. Berbers come in expensive wool or less expensive nylon, olefin, or nylon-olefin.
What is multi-level loop pile?
Multi-level loop pile is like level loop pile except that the loop heights vary (usually two to three different loop heights). This carpet creates an appearance of random texture. This type of carpet is suitable for high-traffic areas, but the smaller loops can sometimes hold more dirt.
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