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Understanding Carpet Pile

Carpeting can be a major purchase for your home. You want it to have a long life, look good, and be comfortable to walk on. Before you choose your carpet, it is important to understand the different types of carpet piles (Figure 1) that are available and their advantages and disadvantages.

wall to wall carpeting textures
Figure 1 - Deep carpet pile

Carpeting pile can be divided into four primary categories:

Cut Pile: This category includes Saxony, Texture, Velvet/Plush and Frieze carpets.

Cut and Loop Pile: This category includes Berber carpets.

Level Loop Pile:

Multi-Level Loop Pile:


Cut Pile

Cut pile carpet is the most popular of all the carpeting, with textured cut pile outselling all the others. A cut pile carpet is manufactured by cutting all of the looped fibers at the top of the bundles. This creates a carpet with yarn bundles that stand straight. To create a luxurious appearance the cut pile is pre-sheared several times. Cut pile carpet, as compared to other styles is the least resistant to crushing.

wall to wall saxony carpet
  • Saxony:
  • In order to manufacture a Saxony carpet, the fibers are twisted tightly, cut and then straightened using heat. A Saxony carpet consists of two or more fibers twisted together to produce a yarn. The soft texture of a Saxony carpet works well in both formal and informal rooms. If you do not want to see foot prints on your carpet, then do not use a Saxony, as it will show all foot prints and tracks from a vacuum cleaner. Saxony carpets have a medium level of durability.

wall to wall texture carpet
  • Texture & Textured Saxony:
  • The best selling carpets are Textures. Textures work very well in family rooms, children’s bedrooms, and other informal areas within a home, primarily because of their soft feel under foot. Textures are produced with tightly twisted fibers and are set with heat creating a medium durability carpet. Texture carpets have a multi-color appearance that hides any footprints and other tracks.

  • Velvet & Plush:
  • Velvets and Plush carpeting are manufactured with a uniform color and a light twist. Because of the light twist, they are softer than Texture carpet. Because of its visual luxury and feel, Velvet and Plush carpeting is perfect for living rooms, master bedrooms, and other formal areas within the home. These carpets will show all traffic marks.

wall to wall frieze carpet
  • Frieze:
  • For high traffic areas, a Frieze carpet is recommended. Perfect for informal areas the fibers are made of a highly twisted cut pile carpet. Frieze carpets have short fibers that curl in all directions at the surface, which has the effect of hiding all footprints and vacuum cleaner tracks. It is made with short fibers that tend to curl in different directions at the surface to hide footprints and vacuum marks.

wall to wall loop carpet

Cut & Loop Pile

Both cut and looped fibers are combined in order to produce a Cut and Loop pile carpet. With a medium density, it provides a vast array of textures and/or sculptured effects available in solid and colored patterns. One of the advantages of the cut and loop carpet is that because of the different levels of yarn the carpet hides dirt, stains and footprints exceptionally well. The carpet is used in both formal and informal areas in the home.

wall to wall berber carpet
  • Berber:
  • The carpet with the highest growth in popularity is the Berber. In an informal area, Berbers limit footprints and vacuum tracks. Berbers have a very high durability because they can have thicker yarns than other level loop pile carpet. Two negatives with respect to Berber carpets are, they retain dirt and are easily damaged by snags to the loops. Berbers are made of natural fibers such as wool and man made fibers such as nylon, olefin, or nylon-olefin fibers.

Level Loop Pile

For the best carpet in durability, ideal for high traffic areas and resistance to marks you should choose a carpet made with Level Loop pile techniques. These types of carpets are made by weaving even loops of yarn through both ends of the carpet’s backing. By using higher loops the carpet has a much more luxurious appearance. For easy cleaning a Level Loop carpet utilizing short and densely packed loops is easy to clean as they prevent dirt from filtering into carpet.

Multi-Level Loop Pile

The difference between Multi-Level Loop pile and Level Loop pile is that with Level Loop Pile all of the loops of yarn are at the same height and with the Multi-Level Loop the heights of the yarn varies. The Multi-Level Loop creates a random texture making it a good choice for high traffic areas. The primary negative of this type of carpet is that the small loops have a tendency to hold more dirt and dust.