24 Types of Carpet Materials, Piles, and Features That You Should Know

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Are you looking for a new carpet? There are a lot of different options and features to consider, if you want a carpet that suits your needs. In this guide you will learn about 24 different types of materials, piles, and important features.

Types of carpet fiber materials

Before you purchase your carpet, it’s best to find out what type of fiber materials they are made out of and what is the difference between the different kinds of materials.

1. Acrylic

Acrylic carpets have a wool-like body and are often resistant to stain and wear and tear. If you want your carpet to last a long time, you should get one made of acrylic, as it does not fade as much as other materials. It also offers good resistance against static electricity, moisture, and mildew. Nevertheless, acrylic carpets don’t do very well in high-traffic areas as they aren’t made of very durable material.

2. Nylon

Nylon carpets are soft and durable, making them a very popular carpet option. Even after a few years, nylon carpets can still retain the same shape without warping. It is also resistant to wear and tear, mold, mildew, and rot. If you’re on a budget, nylon carpets are a lot cheaper and can last for 12-15 years. However, it’s important to keep in mind that it can produce static electricity due to friction, so if this is something that concerns you, you might want to spray it regularly with anti-static sprays.

3. Olefin (polypropylene)

Olefin was originally used in outdoor settings because of its resistance to moisture. Today, it is often used indoors as well and if you have a carpet made of olefin (polypropylene), you can be sure that it will be strong, though perhaps not as resilient as nylon. It offers a wool-like texture, but must be dyed to look aesthetically pleasing. It is stain resistant, but easily holds oil and collects dirt. The good news about it is that it’s easy to clean.

4. Polyester

Polyester carpets are known for their ability to stay true to their color and to keep from fading over time. If you’re looking for a tough and durable carpet but don’t want to compromise on style, go for a polyester carpet. It is resistant to stains and moisture and is easy to clean. You need to maintain it well, however, so it doesn’t clump up into unattractive piles in various spots. Because it is prone to flattening under weight, you might want to think twice before you put it in a high-traffic area.

5. Triexta

Triexta is a popular, synthetic carpet in homes full of pets and kids. The material is strong and won’t tear as easily as carpets made of other materials. Nevertheless, triexta carpets can be pretty expensive, so if you’re trying to stick to your budget, this may not be the best buy for you.

6. Wool

Wool is another great carpet option because of how the woven fibers resist dirt and stains. If you’re looking for a natural, luxurious carpet that will last a long time, go for wool. The only downside, however, is that high-grade wool is very expensive, and because it is a natural material, it can be prone to damage from mold and mildew. Nevertheless, it is the softest type of carpet that you can find, though it’s best not to put it in areas where there is high humidity and a lot of moisture.

Also worth reading: How to Identify Most Common Carpet Types

Types of carpet piles

After finding out the different types of fiber materials, you should also familiarize yourself with the type of carpet pile—meaning, how the fiber is attached to the carpet backing. Sometimes, manufacturers will just leave them in loops while at other times, they will be cut at various lengths and into various angles. The type of pile often determines how comfy it is and how easily it can wear out.

1. Berber

Berber carpet piles are also known as the “uncut pile” because it isn’t cut at all and the yarn is left intact on the surface of the carpet. Whether you buy one made of wool or nylon or olefin, they will give your carpet a cushioned feel underfoot.

2. Frieze-cut pile

Frieze-cut piles are made of tightly twisted fibers on a dense, low-pile surface. They give off a coarse texture to your carpet, making it extremely durable and suitable for high-traffic areas. The short fibers tend to curl in different directions and do a good job at hiding footprints, vacuum marks, dust, and more.

3. Level loop pile

Level loop piles are distinct but simple loops attached to the carpet backing. They are durable and resistant to dirt and footprints and give your carpet a natural, casual appearance even if it is made of synthetic material. It’s great for heavy-traffic areas and does not show footprints.

4. Multi level loop pile

Multi level loop piles are made of textured finish lops of various heights and are sometimes called the high-low loop pile. Sometimes they are designed to follow a certain sequence to create a design or can be set randomly. If they have higher loops, they often create a more luxurious feel. You need to be careful if you have pets though, as the high loops can be easily pulled with their claws.

5. Pattern arrangement

Some carpets combine cute and loop piles of different heights to create a different kind of texture or a geometrical design. This is usually done on a single-color carpet where the patterns or designs become visible from a bird’s eye view.

6. Plush pile

Plush piles are sometimes called velvet-cut piles because of the smooth, soft, luxurious finish the sheared surface gives. With plush piles, the yarn is twisted a little, allowing the ends to blend together. Nevertheless, these types of carpets are susceptible to wear and tear and the color can look different in places, especially if the fibers lie in different directions. If you are thinking of placing it in a high-traffic room, you might want to get another kind of carpet that’s more durable and won’t fade so much.

7. Saxony cut

Saxony cut piles have a lush, fuzzy surface because their fibers are very soft and dense. They are made of tightly twisted cut piles that have been set straight by heat, which gives the carpet a soft, elegant texture and finish. They aren’t as durable as the loop pile carpets and can also be more expensive than other cut pile carpets.

8. Sculpted pile

Sculpted piles have two different kinds of fibers—looped and cut. Thus you have a carpet with varying heights and textures which can create a three-dimensional texture for your carpet. It is great to have this kind of carpet in high-traffic areas because it hides footprints and stains very well.

9. Sisal pile

Sisal pile carpets are made of loops, sometimes in different colors and different heights, that are arranged to create a textured, patterned surface. They are durable and can hide footprints and stains. You do have to be careful with pets though as their claws can snag on the loops and pull them out.

10. Textured cut

Textured cut piles come with fibers of uneven length. They can be twisted into spiral cuts with the help of a special steam treatment so that the strands don’t’ become kinked. They don’t show footprints and other marks, unlike other cut piles. They are good for mid- to high-level traffic areas because of their durability.

Carpet pile heights

Carpet pile heights refer to how tall or how high a carpet’s fibers are. Keep in mind, though, that this does not include the carpet backing, so if you want to measure the fibers on your own, you mustn’t include the carpet backing. Also, there’s a huge difference between them, so before you buy, make sure you’re getting the right one.

1. Low pile carpets

Low pile carpets tend to be stronger and hold better than high pile carpets. They are usually under ¼ inch which makes it easier to vacuum and clean them. If you’re looking for something cozy and soft, however, you might want to try the medium or high pile carpet because they aren’t as soft to the touch or as nice to walk on.

2. Medium pile carpets

Medium pile carpets are between ¼ – ½ inches  and are a good choice overall, depending on whether they’re nearer to low pile carpets or high pile carpets in terms of fiber height.

3. High pile carpets

Because of the height of the fibers (between ½ – ¾ inches), high pile carpets tend to be extremely soft, which adds to the warmth and coziness of the room. They also have a cushioning effect, which is helpful if you have kids. Nevertheless, they can be more challenging to vacuum and clean and might not be good if you or someone in your household has allergies as longer piles mean more allergens can get trapped between the fibers.

Carpet features

Below are some additional features worth considering, before getting a new carpet.

1. Durability

People typically get carpets that are soft underfoot because they feel more cozy, cushiony, and comfortable. Nylon is one such fiber that is known to be both soft and durable while being resistant to stains as well. If this is something you’re going for, you might want to try out this type of carpet.

2. Outdoor use

Not all carpets were made for outdoor spots. They have to be more durable to withstand the weather extremities, from extreme heat to rain and even snow, depending on where you live. Not all carpet fibers can manage that, so you have to look for one that can, such as olefin or polypropylene, because it doesn’t absorb moisture.

3. Softness

A carpet’s softness depends on its material as well as the type of pile. Generally, soft carpets are finer and have a denser fiber count which gives them a plush, luxurious feel against the skin. If you’re looking for soft carpets for your bedroom, you can go with one that is made of nylon or polyester or triexta. Pile cuts like friezes, saxonies, and berbers are sure to add to its plushness.

4. Stain resistance

Some carpets are more resistant to wear and tear and stains. If you’re looking for a carpet to put in a high-traffic area or if you have kids and pets at home, you’ll want a carpet that resists stains so it doesn’t look bad after some time. Carpets made of polyester and wool fibers or a mix of both are known to be more stain-resistant than other materials. You can also try triexta carpets, which are popular in homes with kids and pets due to their durability, although they are a lot more expensive.

5. Warranty

Different manufacturers have different types of warranties for their carpets. Some of them prevent you from having to pay for all the repairs or even offer a full replacement for items that are found to have a manufacturer’s defect. It’s best to review each item in detail and ask the manufacturer any questions you might have before buying the carpet. Ideally, you want to choose a manufacturer with a warranty that will last for at least a few years. The longer the warranty lasts, the longer you’ll be protected from expensive repairs.