Carpets and area rugs are a cosy and versatile flooring option that comes in a variety of colours, shapes, sizes, and materials. When considering carpet as a flooring option, it’s essential to understand the different carpet terms used by salespeople. Here is a glossary of commonly used carpet terms.

Choosing the right carpet can be a daunting task. Knowing the terminology used by salespeople can make the process easier and help you make an informed decision. Some of the important factors to consider include fibre type, backing, weight, pile, and pattern.

Carpet Fibres

Carpets are made from a variety of fibres, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Natural fibres such as wool, silk, jute, coir, and flax offer good looks and hard wear. In contrast, synthetic fibres such as nylon, polyester, polypropylene, acrylic, and viscose are more stain-resistant and easy to clean. Different blends of fibres can offer a compromise between the two types.

Natural fibres

  • Wool is a popular natural fibre for carpets and rugs, as it combines good looks with hard wear. It also possesses low combustibility and produces no static electricity. Wool area rugs and carpets are very durable and warm, making them perfect for homes in cooler climates.
  • Jute is a rough fabric mainly used in backing materials but sometimes in surface fibres for flat woven rugs. It is made from the stems of a tropical Old World plant. Hessians are made from the same fibre too.
  • Coir is a yarn extracted from coconut husk fibre. Coir can be woven or made into more flat cut-pile carpeting and rugs, making it a popular choice for homeowners who prefer a natural, eco-friendly flooring option.
  • Flax is occasionally used in loop piles and flat weave rugs and carpets. It is known for its durability and longevity, making it an ideal choice for high-traffic areas in the home.
  • Silk is the most expensive carpet fibre. It is high maintenance and unsuitable for high-traffic areas, as it is prone to stains and damage from moisture.

Synthetic fibres

  • Nylon is a popular synthetic fibre used in carpets and rugs. It is more resistant to stains than other fibres because its fibres are more resistant to soiling. It compares favourably to all other varieties, despite being more combustible. Wool is frequently added to nylon carpets to increase durability and counteract static electricity. Carpets made of synthetic fibres, such as nylon, can be readily steam cleaned by professionals.
  • Acrylic is a synthetic fibre that is less resilient than nylon but more resistant and bulky. As a result, it is excellent for use in areas with limited foot traffic, such as bedrooms and home offices.
  • Polyester is a popular synthetic fibre that has a lower resistance to flattening than other synthetic fibres but endures well. It is frequently incorporated with nylon or other filaments to make carpets more durable.
  • Polypropylene is a durable and simple-to-clean fibre frequently used in outdoor carpets and rugs. It is stain- and moisture-resistant, making it a popular option for homes with pets or young children.
  • Viscose is low-cost, versatile, and somewhat more susceptible to flattening than other synthetic fibres. It is frequently used in carpets and rugs with light foot traffic.

Carpet Backing

Carpet backing refers to the material used to secure the fibres to the carpet. It’s crucial to consider backing when selecting a carpet, as it can affect the carpet’s durability, insulation, and soundproofing. Common types of backing include jute, foam, and latex.

  • Jute backing is a natural fibre that is commonly used as carpet backing. It is eco-friendly and biodegradable, making it an excellent choice for homeowners prioritising sustainability.
  • Foam backing is a type of synthetic material that is commonly used in residential carpets. It provides cushioning and soundproofing but is not as durable as other types of backing.
  • Latex backing is a popular choice for commercial carpets, as it provides a durable and long-lasting carpet. It is resistant to wear and tear and can withstand heavy foot traffic.

Carpet Weight

Carpet weight is what professionals call the amount of carpet fibre per square yard. It is essential to consider carpet weight when selecting a carpet, as it can affect the carpet’s durability and lifespan.

  • Lightweight carpets, also known as area rugs, are appropriate for light use in bedrooms and other low-traffic areas of the home.
  • Medium-weight carpets are suitable for medium use, such as in dining rooms and family rooms.
  • Heavy-weight carpets are ideal for high-traffic areas such as hallways, living rooms, and stairs. They can cover a room from wall to wall, providing a soft and comfortable surface for walking and lounging.

Carpet Pile

“Pile” refers to the way the carpet is constructed, including the height and density of the fibres. Different pile types can affect the carpet’s texture, durability, and maintenance needs.

  • Cut pile is a popular type of carpet pile that features fibres that are cut to form a flat, level surface. Cut pile carpets and rugs are perfect for high-traffic areas of the home, as they are durable and easy to maintain.
  • Loop pile carpets and rugs feature a series of small loops that create a unique texture and pattern. They are harder to clean and easier to soil than cut pile carpets but are appropriate for bedrooms, home offices, and other low-traffic areas.
  • A velvet pile is a short and dense pile that provides a luxurious feel to the carpet. The downside of velvet pile is that it is prone to shading and marking, so it is best suited for formal living rooms and bedrooms.
  • Berber carpets have flecks of contrasting colours throughout, creating a unique and textured appearance. They can be both cut and in loop piles, making them a versatile choice for homeowners who want a durable and stylish carpet.
  • Cut and loop pile is a type of carpet that combines both cut and loop pile fibres to create a unique and textured appearance. It is an excellent choice for homeowners who want to add texture and interest to a room.
  • Cord carpets are made from a mixture of yarns and are a durable and hard-wearing type of carpeting. They may not be as soft and cosy to the touch as other types of carpets, but they are ideal for high-traffic areas of the home.
  • Twist pile carpets feature fibres that are tightly twisted and resistant to flattening. They are a hard-wearing type of carpet that will last for many years with proper maintenance.

Final words

Choosing the right carpet for your home involves many factors, including fibre type, backing, weight, pile, and pattern. By understanding the different carpet terms used by salespeople, you can make an informed decision and choose a carpet that meets your needs and suits your style.