There are many different styles, colours and textures of carpet to choose from, each creating a different feel in the home, and conveying a different message about the homeowner’s personal style. The Design Consultant’s job is to help the homeowner select the carpet that is right for them. Carpet is made through one of two processes called either “tufting” or “woven”. With tufted carpet, the yarn is stitched through a backing material by gigantic sewing machines with hundreds of rows of sewing needles, creating thousands of tufts made of “looped” yarn. The backing material is then coated with an adhesive or latex to lock the tufts in place and give strength to the carpet.
Woven carpet can be used for both wool and nylon carpet. Pile yarns and backings are woven at the same time from a system of warp (length) and weft (width) yarns, which means there is no secondary backing. Pile yarns are always part of the warp system on the loom. More versatile patterns and textures are available.
Carpet is generally categorized as:
- Cut Pile – created by cutting the looped yarn;
- Berber – the looped yarn is left intact; or
- Patterned – combining looped yarn with cut yarn, or using different heights of looped yarn, to create a pattern.
Cut Pile Carpet
Cut pile carpet, the most popular style of carpet in the residential market, is available in a number of different styles.
Saxony is produced by cutting the tufts of yarn to a smooth, uniform height with consistent colour, creating a relatively formal look.
Saxony, sometimes referred to as “Plush”, is noted for its luxurious elegance and soft, dense carpet pile and is available in a wide array of solid hues.
“Nap” refers to the direction in which the tufts of yarn lay. If the nap runs in one direction, as it does with Saxony carpet, light reflects the same off each tuft. If you change the direction of “some” tufts (by walking on the carpet, for example), light will reflect differently off that section of the carpet, creating a mark. That’s why Saxony carpet tends to show footprints and vacuum cleaner marks.
Sculptured Saxony is a form of Saxony in which the tufts are cut at various heights to create a pattern or design.
Textured carpet also offers a level finish, but the yarns have more twist than Saxony, causing the tufts to bend over just slightly, producing a more casual style.
The yarn used to make textured carpet is steamed, causing the yarn to curl. As a result, the tufts face in different directions, creating the appearance of multi-coloured yarn and producing a “textured” look. In addition, because the tufts already face in different directions, walking on the tufts does NOT create a visible path. That’s why textured carpet is less likely than Saxony to show footprints or vacuum cleaner marks.
Frieze (“Free Zay”) is made with a tightly twisted, longer yarn that tends to “curl” or “bend over” on itself (more so than even textured carpet). This produces a distinctive look and creates a soft, comfortable, casual feel. Coloured flecks are often added to increase the “visual” texture.
The high twist level of Frieze increases the carpet’s durability because the yarn:
- Is less likely to unravel over time; and
- Tends to lie on its side, so you walk on the side of the yarn, instead of the top of the yarn, so it wears longer.
Buyer’s Tip: The durability of Frieze carpet, coupled with it’s ability to hide seams, makes it ideal for high traffic areas of the home.
Friezes are made in a variety of densities and styles, including:
- Shag, an exceptionally long yarn, even more casual in appearance; and
- Cable, a higher weight frieze (a “fat” yarn) twisted to look like tightly woven cable, producing a bold, strong look.
Loop Carpet - Berber
Customers often refer to loop carpet as “Berber” (because of the fleck colouring and woven appearance of many loop carpets).
Berbers are made with both level loops and multi-level loops.
Level Loop carpet has looped tufts that are all the same height. This makes the carpet easier to clean because soil doesn’t penetrate deep into the carpet. Loops are typically short and densely situated, making the carpet crush resistant. Consequently, level loop carpets are popular for high traffic areas in the home, such as family rooms, stairways or hallways.
Multi-level Loop has loops at two or more different heights. The different heights can be arranged to create an array of patterns and textures providing visual interest, such as straight rows, geometric patterns or random textures. Adding a touch of colour adds dimension to the design.
Multi-level loop carpets are harder to clean than level loop carpets because the soil tends to migrate to the lower loops.
Berber carpet can be:
- Made with colour sprinkled against a neutral background to add more dimension (which also helps to hide spills and spots); or
- Flecked with different colours to create a tweed-like appearance that is practical yet stylish.
Cut and Loop Carpet (“Patterned”)
Patterned carpets blend cuts and loops in varying heights for dramatic, unique patterns, ranging from floral to geometric designs. The shading created by the variety of heights and/or textures also helps to hide dirt.
Patterned carpets can also be created using multi-level loops or printing a design directly onto the carpet for a stylish, often dramatic look.
Buyer’s Tip: Berber and Patterned carpets tend to show seams more than Saxony, Textured or Frieze.