Carpet Terminology

Carpet Terms You Should Know

In this article we are going to go over some common carpet terminology - nothing related to actual carpet cleaning - but just the terms used when describing carpet.

It is important to know some of these terms when you are buying carpet, as they can be really important when it comes to the quality of the carpet you are purchasing.

We would all like to believe that our local carpet sales people have OUR best interest in mind, but like any other type of sales people that is not always the case.

So knowing these terms can be a good idea before you go shopping for carpet.

Some of these terms are easy to figure out and know,but others are not so well-known and just as important.

Ok, Common Carpet Terms You Should Know

We are not going to go over every carpet term, but we will go over many of the most common and the carpet terms that are good to know.

Let's start with the easy terms and the terms you should pay the most attention to when buying carpet:

1. Synthetic Carpet - Most carpet in homes and businesses, a vast majority, are synthetic. Meaning the carpet fiber is not made of a natural fiber. The fiber is made from polymers.

Synthetic Grey Carpet

The most common types of synthetic carpet are nylon, polypropylene,
and polyester. One way to tell if a carpet is synthetic or not, and the easiest way, is to simply burn a tuft of the carpet (pull a tuft our around the edge of the carpet in a closet). If the tuft melts, it is synthetic. 

2. Natural Fiber Carpet - This is exactly what it sounds like. The fibers are made of natural fibers, either plant based or animal basesd. A plant based natural fiber would be cotton.

A animal based natural fiber would be wool.

3. Cut Pile - A cut pile carpet is a carpet that has the tufted fibers cut. There are no loops. Examples of cut piles carpets are frieze's and saxony's.

4. Loop Carpet - A loop carpet is where the tufted fibers are NOT CUT and they are in a loop. Berber carpets are a good example of loop carpets.

5. Carpet Face Weight - This can be a very important term when shopping for carpet. The face weight of a carpet is the weight of the carpet FIBERS, in ounces, per square yard of carpet.

Face weight is usually a sign of higher quality and durability - but not always.

But a carpet with higher face weight, all other factors being equal, would be
considered a better carpet than a lower face weight carpet.

But be careful when just considering a carpet based on face weight.

Heavy Face Weight Carpet

The carpet above is a pretty good example of what would be a heavy face-weight carpet. There is a lot of fiber per square yard in this carpet.

Picture from: https://www.faithfloors.com/tag/carpet-face-weight/

6. Frieze Carpet - You can check out our article here on Frieze carpet. But
basically a frieze carpet is a cut pile carpet with long tight twist of the fiber.
The fibers are usually longer than a normal cut pile carpet but not as long as
a shag carpet. 

Light Brown Frieze Carpet

The above picture is a frieze carpet. These carpets have longer fibers and a very tight twist. The fiber DOES NOT stand straight but falls slightly to the side. Frieze carpets are very popular and we like them a lot.

Picture From: Frieze Carpet

7. Saxony Carpet - You can check out our article here on Saxony Carpet. There are different types of saxony carpet but basically what you see in a saxony carpet are cut pile fibers that stand straight up. Take a look at our saxony carpet article to find out more.

Very common saxony carpet

As you can see in the picture above - the fibers stand up straighter than in a frieze and seem to have a little "nub" at the tip of the fiber. This is a very common style of saxony and also very popular.

Picture From: TheSpruce.com

8. Berber Carpet - Traditional berber carpet is a loop carpet made out of wool. But since wool fiber can cause so many issues - with most wall-to-wall carpet - berber is now mostly seen with the fiber being polypropylene. 

Polypropylene is a synthetic fiber that is light in weight and absorbs a very low percentage of water.

Common Types of Berber Carpet

In the picture above you seem very common examples of synthetic berber carpet. Berber carpet can take a beating and is also found in many commercial buildings. There are drawbacks to it and you can read more about berber carpet here.

9. Backing - The backing of a carpet is basically what is sounds like. It is the back of the carpet where the tufts or loops are tufted into the carpet.

There are two parts to the backing of a carpet. The first part is the primary backing, which the fibers are attached to. And there is the secondary backing that attaches to the primary backing.

The secondary backing has two purposes:

A. To provide additional stability to the primary backing.

B. To provide a barrier from the backing of the carpet to the carpet padding.

Carpet Backing Illustration

In the above picture you see an illustration of carpet backing. In this illustration you see a carpet with LOOPS - like a berber - but the same type of backing is used for cut pile carpets.

Picture From: Floorwise

10. Carpet Padding - The carpet padding is a foam like material that is placed between the carpet itself and the floor. The purpose of carpet padding is to protect the carpet itself from rubbing on the floor and prematurely wearing the carpet out and/or damaging the flooring surface below.

There are other types of padding but the most common type is the padding in the picture shown below.

A carpet with padding underneath it just doesn't wear out as fast. The padding also has additional benefits such as sound dampening and extra "cushion" in case of falls.

Typical Common Carpet Padding or Cushion

In the picture above you see a very common type of carpet padding. This type of carpet padding/cushion is seen in almost every residential installation there is. There are different types of padding/cushion, and different qualities. But this is the most common type of padding/cushion under carpets.

Picture From: Carpet Express

11. Carpet Protector - Carpet protector is designed to do exactly as it's name suggest: Protect your carpet.

There are two parts to a carpet protector.

A. The Fuorochemical - This  lowers the surface tension of the fiber.

This makes it difficult for anything with a higher surface tension like oil, water, and other substances from penetrating the fiber.

A carpet protector, the fluorochemical part, is not a physical barrier such as a floor finish or wax. It is a chemical barrier that just lowers the surface tension of anything it comes into contact with. Fluorochemical carpet protectors work really well in helping protect your carpet from every day soil and stains.

B. Acid Dye Resistors - The other part of a good carpet protector are acid dye resistors. These are clear dyes that penetrate any open dye sites of the fiber. They basically "plug" dye sites that did not receive the dye when the carpet was post dyed.

These acid dye resistors make it extremely difficult to stain a carpet. A stain is not a spot. A stain is a dye that has gotten into a dye site.

Carpet protectors are critical to helping keep your carpet resist stains and soil and should be applied after
every cleaning.

Carpet Protectors Protect Carpets

The spill in the carpet above is almost a nightmare scenario. This type of spill on a post-dyed carpet that is NOT WELL PROTECTED could lead to a very serious stain. 

A carpet that is well protected could easily resist staining from this spill. It is so important to have your carpets protected on a regular basis.

Picture From: TidyHouse

12. Seams - It is important to understand that almost all carpet is manufactured in 12ft widths. Why is this important? Because if you have a room that is wider than 12 feet you are going to have a seam in your carpet.

There is nothing wrong with seams - if they are done the right way - but it is
just good to know that seams are an important thing to consider. Hiring a good carpet installer that knows how to install carpet properly, and seam carpets the right way, is very important.

Also, hiring a carpet cleaning company that does seem repair, like we do here at Linton's Carpet Cleaning, is also very important. At some point your carpet is probably going to need some work done to the seams.

Noticeable carpet seem in berber carpet

**The seam might not be easily recognizable at first glance - but take a closer look. It is there and needs to be dealt with.**

This is a good example of a seam in a berber carpet that is ONLY GOING TO GET WORSE. These seams can be difficult on certain carpets to hide, but most good carpet installers can make seams that are virtually undetectable.

However, over time most seams become noticeable and detract from the carpet appearance. It is important to understand you are going to have seams in your carpet if the room is wider than 12ft (unless the carpet was custom ordered and manufactured) and they will have to be dealt with. So plan accordingly.

Picture From: Flooring-Inspections.com

So There You Have Some Common Carpet Terms

As we said earlier in this article; we are just going over basic carpet cleaning terms. It is important to understand some of these terms so when you go to buy a carpet you can be prepared. Again, not all carpet salespeople have YOUR best interest in mind.

Let's give you a quick example: You have family room in your home that you want to buy carpet for. Your family consist of you, your spouse, three children, and a dog and a cat - and you have plenty of company. 

You actually use the carpet and "live on it."  Now what type of carpet do YOU think would be HORRIBLE for that situation?

Without a doubt buying a white wool carpet and having it installed in that family room would be a horrible mistake. Sure, the carpet would look beautiful - for about three days - and then you would start to see that carpet ugly out so fast it would shock you.

But there are still people that would recommend that carpet because it has a higher sales price.

It is important to understand what your home really needs as far as carpet - not what a commissioned sales person needs!

The best type of carpet you could put in that room - no matter the colors - would be a synthetic carpet. Why is that? Because a synthetic carpet is going to be much more stain resistant and easier to clean than a white wool carpet.

The synthetic carpet is not going to cost as much as the wool carpet to purchase, the synthetic carpet will not cost as much to clean, and it will hold up visually so much better between cleanings.

Whether that carpet is a synthetic cut pile carpet, or a berber style carpet, the synthetic carpet is going to be the wise choice for a family with pets.

If you have any questions about carpet terms, or the type of carpet you should consider when buying for your home, or place of business, give us a call. We will be more than happy to let you know what we think is a good choice for a particular house or business.

Remember, professional carpet cleaners clean thousands of carpets (of all types) a year and we have seen, and know, what holds up best in particular situations.

For The Finest Carpet Cleaning In Vancouver, Wa - Contact Us Today

If you have any need for carpet cleaning in Vancouver, Wa., and the surrounding areas, please give us a call today. We will be more than happy to answer any questions about our carpet cleaning service.

We can also schedule a FREE NO OBLIGATION QUOTE on any cleaning you might need done. We can assure you that we deliver high quality cleaning at fair and honest prices (We never play pricing games) and we offer GREAT customer service.

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