Pick Your Pile


There’s a lot to learn about the softer side of flooring. While patterns and colors may be the first to cross your mind, there are also paddings, fibers and many other options to choose from. However, one of the most important decisions homeowners will make regarding their new carpets is which pile to pick.

“Pile” is simply the yarn which makes up the carpet and the surface walked on and seen every day. It is made by weaving and looping the yarn through a backing then cut, tufted or twisted into the style of your choice. Homeowners will want to carefully consider what kind of pile to choose based on the needs of their families since some styles hold up to heavy traffic better than others.

 Cut pile

According to the World Floor Covering Association, cut pile is the most widely used residential carpet. It is created by looping the yarn through the backing and then clipped, creating a flat, even surface. Because of the density of the tufts, the materials used, and how much the yarn is twisted, which causes it to keep its shape longer, the cut pile s extremely durable.

There are three basic types of cut piles:

  • Plush – Smooth finish, luxurious feel and uniform appearance. Shows footprints and vacuum marks easily. Tend to be difficult to clean because individual fibers trap stains beneath the surface of the carpet. Best for formal rooms with little traffic.
  • Frieze – Twisted very tight to create a curl at the end of each yarn. Textured surface but slightly more informal appearance. Hides dirt and stains well. Best for high traffic areas, like hallways.
  • Textured plush – Decoratively versatile. Casually beautiful. Textured surface helps hide footprints and vacuum lines. Preferred choice for busy households for any or all rooms.

Loop pile

Also known as “berber,” this style of carpet is made when the yarn weaved through the backing is looped through but never cut. The intact loops make it a heavy-duty and wear-resistant option. Loop pile carpets are not generally as soft as cut piles and are often used in commercial or very high traffic areas, like schools, churches, and businesses.

There are also three main types of loop piles:

  • Level loop – All loops are the same height, creating a flat, smooth surface. Extremely durable. Short loop levels make it difficult to conceal dirt, but it is easy to clean.
  • Multi-level or Pattern loop – Loops remain uncut but are different heights, creating easily discernable patterns with or without color enhancements. More of a casual look.
  • Cut and loop – Utilizes both cut and loop pile yarns to create level and multi-level patterns.

Homeowners with children or pets may want to avoid loop pile carpets as they are prone to snagging and could cause unraveling. If it is the preferred choice, smaller loops are advised.

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