types of carpet
There is a wide variety of carpets available, with many different surface appearances and textures to choose from. But based on their construction, carpets should be divided into two main types, loop pile and cut pile.
what is loop pile carpet?
Loop pile carpet is made by looping the yarn and leaving it uncut. The loops can take either a level-loop shape, where the loops are the same height in a uniform appearance (pictured right), or a multi-level-loop shape, where more of a textured effect will happen with the loops at different heights. Loop pile carpets are durable and hard wearing, making them good for high traffic areas. Note that pets with long claws and loop pile carpets are not a good match.
what is cut pile carpet?
Cut pile carpet is made by cutting the yarn so that they are left standing up straight (pictured right). They come in both hard-twist where the yarns are tightly twisted, or plush where the yarns are loosely twisted. Cut pile carpets are luxurious in appearance although they can need lots of upkeep and maintenance. Therefore they are better suited in rooms where low traffic flows.
cut and loop pile
Note that it is possible for carpets to be made using a mixture of both cut and loop pile (pictured right). Carpets made this way come in a wide variety of patterns and textures, and due to their colour range and durability, are suitable for a variety of rooms.
There are two kinds of Woven carpet, Wilton and Axminster. They are regarded as being the best quality carpet available. Woven carpet is produced the traditional way, weaving simultaneously the pile yarn and the backing fabric of the carpet. Yarns of unlimited different colours are used for the predominantly patterned Axminster carpet, so intricate high quality carpet designs can be produced. Wilton on the other hand tends towards plain textures with a maximum of five colours. The advantages of Woven carpets include great appearance retention and very high tuft definition.
Tufted carpet is usually aimed towards the lower end of the flooring market, and is made on a tufting machine with either a single coloured yarn or a non-coloured yarn (which is then either dyed or printed afterwards). The yarns are punched into a woven backing fabric with needles. Then a secondary backing fabric is applied with latex. A tufting machine can produce far more carpet than a weaving method, and can be either loop pile, cut pile or a combination of both.
A highly twisted cut pile carpet well suited to high traffic areas, with short fibres that tend on the surface to curl in multiple directions.
flat weave carpet
Popular in Japan and the orient but not so well known in North America or Europe, flat weave carpet is made by interlocking warp and weft threads. Tapestry weave, plain weave and soumak are types of oriental flat weave.
Known as handicraft, it takes a basic rug construction, handmade by pulling cotton or wool strips through sturdy fabric meshes.
Weft threads alternate with supplementary weft that rise from the weave surface at an angle.
Technologically advanced, you tend to find needlefelt carpet in the contract marketplace, such as in offices, hotels and traffic hotspots. It is made by electrostatic attraction of individual fibres. This forms a unique and highly durable carpet.
Ideal in low traffic areas like bedrooms with its luxury carpet finish, saxony is made using tightly twisted cut piles, consisting of multiple fibres twisted together in a yarn, that are heat set straight.
Tightly twisted with texture headset for a medium durability, textured saxony carpet offers a multi-coloured look which hides footprints. Textured carpet sells well due to its soft feel.
Shaggy style carpet uses a long pile which creates a deep and luxurious feel. It also hides marks from wear and tear and demands less maintenance.
twist pile carpet
The UK flooring industry is flooded with twist pile carpets. They are very popular. These carpets are tightly twisted giving a more coarse and rugged finish. They are hard wearing and should hide footprints.
The main factors that affect the durability of a carpet are:
- Fibre weight – The heavier the fibre weight, the harder wearing the carpet will be.
- Pile density – The higher the density, which depends on the tightness of the yarn twist, the better.
- Yarn stitches per inch – The more the better, improving the crush resistance of the carpet.