Carpeting 101: Terms and Types You Should Know

By January 8, 2018 3,492 Comments
contemporary living room with area rug

If you’re shopping for new carpet for your home, you’ll need to choose more than just a color. With so many types available, making a decision isn’t easy. Carpeting professionals like the ones at Malkin’s Flooring are your best resource and can guide you through the selection process, but knowing the terminology below is a smart start.

Pile on the Options

The two main types of carpet—loop pile and cut pile—are differentiated by how the fibers are attached to their backing.

Loop pile means the fibers are folded over into small loops and both ends are fixed. Variations are:

  • Level loop, or Berber, has short loops that stand up well in high traffic areas.
  • Multi-level loop means the tops of these loops vary in height to create patterns or textures in the carpeting.

This kind of carpeting is generally very durable, stain resistant, comfortable underfoot, and versatile. One downside is that the loops can catch on high heels or pet nails and snag, but a quick trim is all it takes to restore its appearance.

Cut pile carpeting has similar construction, but the fiber tips are cut to eliminate the loops. It tends to be denser and softer than loop pile, but all varieties of cut pile carpet will show footprints and vacuum marks. That said, there are several types to choose from:

  • Plush and Saxony have a smooth, luxurious texture and are commonly used in formal areas. They offer classic style, plus the added comfort and cushion of extra padding. Most brands are treated to be highly stain resistant and easy to care for.
  • Frieze/twist is the modern, really cool, but shorter version of shag. It has a textured finish, because the fibers are longer and twisted to give each one more body. The long, loose fibers lay sideways—not up and down—so they wear better and also are better at hiding footprints, dirt, and best of all, seams.
  • Textured cut pile has fibers of uneven lengths to create an irregular surface texture and dimensional color. This carpeting will look and feel great for years to come, all with minimal care.
  • Cut and loop is a hybrid carpet, with patterns of loop piles that create a distinctive carved appearance among smooth cut pile.

Now That You Know, Go!

Even with a good understanding of the types of carpeting available, the best way to find the one that’s right for your home and lifestyle is to go to the Malkin’s Flooring showroom—you really should see and feel all your options before making a purchase you’ll live with for many years.

Carpeting is easily the most popular type of flooring in the U.S., and for good reason—it’s inexpensive, easy to install, warm and comfortable, and even buffers sound in busy homes. Let a professional show you samples and answer your questions about styles, textures, and colors. If, for any reason, you’re still not sure about carpet, consider tile, vinyl, laminate, and wood options for a look you’ll rave about.