What Makes a Carpet a Carpet
After you answer the four questions above, you’ll be able to narrow down your carpet search to just a few categories: carpet fiber, construction, and pile.
Carpet fiber is just the material used in the carpet’s construction, which comes in either natural or synthetic varieties. Examples of common carpet fiber materials are wool and nylon.
You will often see that a particular carpet fiber is referred to as a loop, because the material is frequently shaped like a literal loop. They do this in order to sew it through the carpet backing (the part underneath that you don’t see). In addition to loop, there are three other ways that carpet can be constructed: texture, twist, and pattern. Here’s a breakdown of all four types:
- Loop carpet (there are several kinds, level loop / “Berber” being a popular choice) is a great option for high-traffic areas because it’s highly durable.
- Texture carpet is usually smooth and traditional in appearance, and works well in high-traffic areas as well.
- Twist carpet looks cozy yet stylish for contemporary homes, so it easily complements bedrooms and bedroom furnishings.
- Pattern carpet is the most customizable of all the styles, and tends to complement formal or upscale interior design settings.
Finally, there’s the carpet pile, which is really two things: 1) how the loops of the carpet material (such as wool) are finished, and 2) how they get attached to the backing of the carpet. In fact, if you were to pull on a single thread in a looped carpet, you could see that both ends are sewn into the backing. (We don’t recommend tugging on your carpet loops, so just take our word for it on this one!)
Finally, the primary difference from one pile to another comes in the way it’s treated and used in the manufacturing process. The main types are:
- Cut — soft
- Twist — soft and durable
- Frieze — soft and shaggy
- Level loop — extra durable
- Multi-level loop — durable, with visual shapes and patterns
- Sisal/cord — very firm, with visual shapes and patterns
- Cut and loop — combination resulting in sculptured patterns
- Level cut and loop — soft and stylish, hides dirt easily
- Textured cut and loop — varying pile length results in a textured finish
These are the most common types of carpet that you’re likely to find in a carpeting warehouse or home improvement store.