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Many homeowners choose carpet because it is warm and soft underfoot. When you select a carpet you generally buy it with the expectations that your new carpet will look just like the sample in the store for many years. Having some general knowledge about the different characteristics of carpet will help you choose the best carpet to meet your expectations. Carpet is a popular floor fitting, prized for its warmth, versatility, insulation abilities and the protection it provides unfinished floors.


Benefits/Advantages of Carpets


First and foremost, a carpeted floor is a safer floor. The soft surface and cushioned under-padding not only reduce the impact of a fall, but also the likelihood of it happening in the first place. Carpet is inherently slip- resistant, meaning it’s harder to slip and fall.

Sound Reduction

If you live in a busy home with lots of traffic, you know how loud wood or laminate floors can be. Carpet stifles noise and reduces echoes in three ways; absorbing the impact of foot traffic, soaking up room sounds and echoes and finally, by blocking sound from carrying between floors (especially helpful in condo apartments or multi-family homes).

Warmth & Insulation

Carpet provides excellent warmth underfoot, making it a great choice for chilly bedrooms or stark offices. Carpet also acts as an insulator. The combination of the carpet and its under-padding acts as an additional layer of insulation in your home and depending on the weight and grade of your carpet – it can even add to the R-value of your home.

Ease of Care

Most carpets made today are made to be highly stain-resistant, meaning clean up is easy. With just a damp cloth or a quick vacuuming, your floors look as good as new. Because carpets trap dust and allergens, they can also improve the air quality in your home as long they’re properly cleaned and vacuumed on a regular basis.

Flexibility and Style

Carpet isn’t limited to just a few colors or grains. You can get carpet in any style, design, color or pattern that you want. Because of its versatility, carpet fits in well in any design scheme.

Low Cost

Typically, carpet costs significantly less than other types of flooring like tile, marble or hardwood. Even with professional installation, carpet tends to cost much less than other types of flooring options.


Unlike many hard surface flooring, most carpeting comes with an extensive manufacturer’s warranty that covers pile, installation and craftsmanship.

Listed below are some of the advantages of using carpet in your home:

  • Carpet is much quieter than hard surfaces floors.

  • Carpet comes in a wide variety of colour tones and hues.

  • Carpet is easy to decorate with and offers many solid colour tones for rooms with patterned wall coverings.

  • Carpet can hide many subfloor irregularities that would not be permitted with hard surfaces floors.

  • Carpet can go on a variety of substrates and on all grade levels, even concrete slabs in basements.


Parts of Carpets

Major parts of Carpets are

  • Underlay/Padding

  • Backing

  • Pile


Underlay/ padding

It has numerous purposes ranging from making the carpet feel better underfoot, to providing extra insulation against heat loss. It works to protect the carpet backing from the substrate, protecting it from dust, dirt and moisture. It aids in the soundproofing of a room and protects the carpet from premature wear. We look for similar characteristics in underlays or carpet cushions as we do when selecting carpet, strength resilience and durability. Today we have three types of underlay available to choose from: Felt Underlay (cushion), Foam Sheet Underlay (cushion) and Rubber Waffle Underlay (cushion).



The backing is on the underside of the carpet; it secures the tufts of the pile & gives additional strength & stability to the carpet. Most carpers have a double backing; a primary backing, to which the yarn is attached, & an outer backing called the secondary backing. A layer of latex adhesive is sandwiched between the two layers to seal the pile tufts to the primary backing.

Types of backing include jute, polypropylene (a synthetic thermoplastic resin), & foam rubber. For expensive carpeting rubber covered jute is preferred. However, synthetic backing is more resistant to mildew, odor, &dry rot, &is no allergic.



1)  Loop Pile: A pile surface with the looped yarns left uncut. The loop can vary to any height depending on the pattern desired. Loop pile is often referred to as the ground wire.

2)  Two Level Loop Patterns/ sculptured pile: This type is an extension of a single-level loop. The second levels of loops are added to create interest and to make the carpet bulkier and heavier. Level loop pile is made by weaving even loops of yarn into carpet backing at both ends. This type of carpet is very durable and track resistant because of its strong loops. Higher loops create a more luxurious appearance. Level loop piles with short and densely packed loops are easy to clean. They prevent dirt from filtering into carpet. This type of carpet is ideal for high traffic areas.

3)  Cut Pile: Can be simply described as a loop pile that has been cut.They can be of 2 types:

  • Plush Pile: a cut pile which has very dense construction. The yarns are equally packed in so tightly that the yarn ends stand straight up and support each other.

  • Shag Pile: Is a tall, long, loose plush pile with a deep and long surface yarn. This pile ranges from 3⁄4 to 3 inches in height.

4)  Cut and Loop Pile: Is a plush pile with a pattern cut through it and tightly loop yarns. Cut and loop pile combines cut and looped fibers. It provides a variety of surface textures or sculptured effects for medium durability. Cut and loop pile carpets are available in solid or multiple colors. The different levels in this type of carpet can hide dirt and footprints in formal and informal areas.

5)  Twist pile: Also called hard twist or frisé. This style of carpet features yarn that has been tightly twisted to form a pile with an irregular textured surface. This hard-wearing texture minimizes tracking (footprints), shading (irregular light and dark areas in the pile) and fluffing which makes it a very popular and practical carpet.

Types of Yarns

  • Chain Yarn: This is also referred to as the chain binder since it binds all the construction yarns together. It runs alternatively over and under the yarn.

  • Stuffer Yarn: It is a lengthwise yarn added to give the carpet body and extra weight.

  • Carpet Yarn or Surface Yarn: Piles are made from this which forms the weary surface of the carpet.

  • Wrap Yarn: Is the term used for those backing yarns which run lengthwise through the carpet.

  • Weft Yarn: These are also called shots which run through the carpet in a crosswise manner.


Types and Characteristics of Carpets

This falls into two main categories:

1. Woven Carpets

  • Wilton

  • Axminster

  • Oriental


2. Non-Woven Carpets

  • Tufted

  • Pile Bonded

  • Needle Punched

  • Electro Statically Flocked


In woven carpets, the backing and surface pile are produced together during the weaving process but in non-woven carpets, the surface pile is attached to a pre-made backing.

Woven Carpets

These are constructed on three types of looms- velvet, Wilton, & Axminster. They always have yarns in backing called warp & weft. Warp yarns run lengthwise, weft run crosswise.

1. Wilton Carpets

The Wilton carpet is made of a jacquard loom. A traditional woven Wilton carpets have pile threads that run in a continuous fashion into the carpet and are lifted above the surface of the backing with either wires or hooks.

Generally cut or loop pile, it is the different types of yarn that give the Wilton carpet different textures and appearance. Because of this method of construction and the waste yarn produced, the Wilton Carpet is unable to match the Axminster carpets ability to have complex patterns and designs

There are not more than 5 colours. Since the incorporation of more colours will result in very bulky carpets. These can be

  • Patterned Wilton- made on a jacquard loom with jacquard apparatus.

  • Plain Wilton- is plain without pattern thus having extra jute threads called “stuffers”.

  • Cord– these are plain Wilton carpets with an uncut pile.

  • Brussels- these are patterned wilton carpets which have uncut piles.


2. Axminster Carpet

Axminster can accommodate any number of coloured yarns & produce precise complicated patterns. Pile height is always even & the back is heavily ribbed. There the main character is that pattern can be seen on another side. there are three types of Axminster carpets.

  • Spool Axminster- single piece has unlimited colours in the pattern. Its woven in such a way that the pattern is visible on another side too.

  • Gripper Axminster- same as above but the only difference is that only eight colours are used.

  • Chenille Axminster


3. Oriental Carpets

These are available in variety of sizes. Names based on country of origin .e.g. Chinese, Indian, and Persian etc. these are only made as carpet pieces that are standalone rectangles the carpets density is a useful indicator of fineness & durability of the carpets. A fine oriental carpet will have 500-1000 knots per square inch.

Non -Woven Carpets

1. Tufted

In these thousands of needles, threaded with pile yarns & extending 12 to 15 feet across the machine, are forced through the backing material to form loops or tufts. The backing may be woven fabric such as jute & the loops anchored under the jute backing(Hessian) with a hot layer of latex compound. The pile yarn is inserted into a pre-woven backing by a long row of needles and loops are formed. This may be left cut or uncut mixture of high and low piles cut and looped areas may be found in the same carpet. The pile is firmly held to the backing material by the needle as well as by an application of natural or synthetic rubber adhesive. Its main limitation is that intricate, precise, multicolored patterns cannot be produced except for printing, on tufted carpets.

2. Bonded Carpets

These are neither woven nor tufted. They are hardwearing & make economical floor covering with good pile.

a. Pile Bonded/ knitted-Here the pile is made and stuck to PVC. These generally have a pile of nylon or polypropylene which is stuck into a PVC backing. Pile Bonded carpets are also available as tiles.

b. Needle Punched-these carpets are made by a process that compacts & mechanically joins fibers to form a felt like surface. Needles literally ‘punch’ the fiber into a foam or latex backing. Usually these are used for outdoor installations.

c. Electro Statically Flocked-These are produced by projecting electrically charged fibers downwards into an adhesive coated backing material. These are hard wearing easy to clean and quick to dry. They are mostly used in very wet area. Swimming pool and in kitchen area.
The forms that various carpets come in are:

  • Broadloom – rolls 12ft. or 15 ft. wide

  • Rolls – 27 in. wide

  • Squares (“tiles”)-usually 18 in. square with semi rigid backing for easy replacement.


3. Berber Carpets

These carpets have short tufts; pile is dense & lopped, characteristically made of natural un-dyed sheep’s wool. Berber carpets are a modern style of carpet, distinguished by a loop pile construction type, and usually contain small flecks of dark color on lighter shades of background colors. They are typically in a plain color mix with no pattern, and are relatively cheap and durable, so popular for areas with relatively heavy use such as offices.


4. Knitted Carpets

These are produced by interlacing yarns in a series of connected loops. As in woven carpets the pile & the backing are produced simultaneously. Multiple sets of needles interlace the pile, backing, & stitching yarns together in one operation.


Selection of Carpets

Following are the factors that are considered for selection of the appropriate carpet:-


On the basis of size the carpets can be classified as follows.

  • Body/ strip carpeting— best suited for close fitted or wall-to wall carpeting. Width is either 27 inches or 36 inches.

  • Broadloom carpeting— body width is wider than above. Widths available are 9ft , 12ft & 15ft. tufted carpets are available in width of 9ft 101/2 or 13 ft101/2.

  • Carpet squares— usually 6ft 9 in x 4ft, 12 ft squares or 9ftx 12ft rectangles. Carpet tiles — range from 9 in square to 20 in square.

  • Rugs & mats-— can be used in areas of heavy use to save wear & tear of carpets.



Where exactly the carpeting is to be done can be tallied with the manufacturer’s classification i.e.

  • Light domestic use.

  • Medium domestic use, for hotel & home bedrooms.

  • General domestic use for home, hotel bedroom use or public areas that have a medium use.

  • Heavy domestic use for public areas e.g. Banquets, restaurants etc.

  • Heavy contract use for areas like shops etc.

  • luxury



Most commonly used carpets are the tufted carpets. For outdoors needle punched are preferred.



How well a carpet will perform is mainly a matter of density of pile which in turn is a function of many characteristics— the gauge, the pitch, pile height stitches per inch, pile weight, yarn size & so on.

Average pile density is the weight of pile yarn in a cubic yard of carpet.

Average pile density = 36 x face weight / pile height

The density of carpet face fibres is the best indicator of durability. In general, the greater the density, the better grade of carpet. It keeps stain & dirt at the top of fibres, preventing deeply embedded soiling. To determine how dense a carpet is, bend a corner of the carpet & see how much backing shows underneath the pile. The less the backing shows the denser the carpet.

In carpets of equal density, the one with higher pile & tighter twist will generally be a better product. Carpet that is more tightly twisted is more resilient & thus will retain its appearance better.

In tufted carpets, the pile density is expressed in “GAUGE”. A medium carpet would have a gauge of 1/8, a heavy-duty carpet 5/64.” Gauge” is based on the number of needles per widthwise inch. The first of the fraction indicates no. of inches; second half, the number of tufts.


For a woven carpet, the term “PITCH” indicates no. of warp (lengthwise) yarns in a 27-in width of carpet. A standard pitch for Wilton is 256, for Axminster 189 & for velvet 216 the no. of tufts per lengthwise inch I expressed in “rows for Axminsters”, “wires” for Wiltons” & velvets & may vary from 4 in inexpensive carpets to 13 in a densely woven luxury carpets.


Yarn/ face weight is the number of ounces of yarn per square yard. On an average greater the weight more durable is the carpet.



Carpet pile height is how far the carpet extends above the primary backing. It’s simply how tall the carpet is. Obviously, the higher a carpet extends the more material it consists of which in turn bumps up the price. Viewing a carpet’s pile height in addition to its density is critical in determining carpet quality. While you might want a lower carpet pile on your stairs, generally the higher the pile the better. When considering various carpet samples with comparable twist and density, keep in mind that the one with the greater pile height will usually wear better, and feel more comfortable underneath one’s feet. The lower the pile height, the denser the weave should be.


  • Nylon: This is the most popular synthetic carpet fibre used today. It offers tremendous value, performance, and ease of maintenance. Nylon provides brilliant colours and hides soil and traffic well. Today’s most advanced nylon carpet fibres actually reduce dirt and soils ability to stick or transfer onto the surface of the carpet. These specially treated fibres will even bead up liquid spills rather than allowing soaking in. This makes carpets manufactured with these new generation fibres much easier to keep clean and looking like new longer than ever before.

  • Soft Carpet Fibers: Some fibre manufacturers are producing fibres that feel as soft as cotton, yet will outperform many other conventional carpet fibres. The difference is the nylon filaments are really much finer than the typical filaments (finer than a strand of hair) but twice as many fibres are packed into the strands of yarn. This gives these carpets its softness and strength

  • Olefin: This fibre is also called polypropylene. Olefin is extremely popular in Berbers; level loops carpets and outdoor turf products. Olefin carpets are highly stain static, mould, and mildew resistant. They can be used for indoor or outdoor carpets. Olefin’s resistance to matting and crushing is not quite as good as nylon.

  • Polyester: Gives excellent colour clarity with a soft feel to the carpet. But lacks the durability as of a nylon carpet

  • Acrylic: Has a real wool look and appearance, used mainly in level loops, bath mats, and some velvet carpet styles. Offers good mould and mildew resistance with low static levels.

  • Wool: Although somewhat expensive, wool still offers great bulk, performance and an elegant look. Wool is not stain resistant and can smell when it gets wet.




If carpet colours must last in strong sunlight or heavy wear, solution dying is, of course, the most likely to succeed.if more than 600sq. yd, of carpet in same one area is needed, beware of piece dying because there may be a slight variation in colour between different batches.

  • SOLUTION DYING—synthetic fibres spun from a coloured solution, in this the filament is completely impregnated with pigments.

  • STOCK DYING—- fibres are dyed before spinning.

  • YARN DYING—yarns dyed before tufting or weaving.

  • PIECE DYING — fabric dyed in one piece after tufting.600 yards is a maximum length which can be handled in one batch.


Following are some terms associated with carpet colours.

  • Bleeding – loss of colour when wet due to improper dyeing or poor dyestuff.

  • Crocking – colour rubbing off due to improper dye penetration or fixation.

  • Fade-o-meter –standard laboratory device for testing carpets colour fastness to sunlight.

  • Greige goods – goods just of the tufting machine or loom waiting to be dyed or finished.

  • Mordant – chemical used in some textile fibres to increase their affinity for dyes



For aesthetics rules of interior design are to be used.




Suitable methods for Fixing Carpets

  1. Glued: The carpet made stuck to the sub-floor.

  2. Tackless Gripper: Steel pins protrude from plywood or metal strips fixed to the floor or the stairs and hold the carpet in place.

  3. Sunken: The carpet is laid in a sunken area and the edges are covered with brass or wood mostly used as doormats.

  4. Turned and Tacked: The edges of the carpet are turned under and taits put through the double surface.

  5. Pin and Socket, Press Studs, Ring and Pegged: These methods are especially suitable where a carpet needs laying frequently. E.g. banqueting areas.


Cleaning of Carpets

Cleaning is necessary in order to remove dust and soil, remove stains, and prevent damage from insects and to retain the original appearance of carpet as long as possible.

1. Daily Cleaning

Superficial dust and crumbs may be removed daily with a carpet brush but the soil which has gone into the pile must be removed by suction. The longer the pile, the more through the vacuum cleaning must be. In any case, the vacuum cleaner must pass over a surface at least 2 or 3 times. Stains should be removed as soon as possible. Is the stain is in liquid form, blot it up with a clean, dry, absorbent pad. If a semi-solid or greasy material is present, scrape it up. Wipe the area with a damp cloth. If the stain persists use a solution of synthetic detergent or carpet shampoo.

2. Special Or Weekly Cleaning

At frequent intervals, the edges of the carpet require special attention with a damp duster, a brush or a vacuum cleaner and the whole carpet at the ends need a thorough vacuum. Clean. If the pile is very long, it needs to be racked afterwards to make it stand up.

3. Periodic Cleaning

This involves deep cleaning of the carpet and one of the following methods may be used:

1. Shampooing-When shampooing, the detergent solution is released from a tank on the rotary scrubbing machine and the surface of the carpet is lightly scrubbed and then left to dry. Finally, the loosened soiling and detergent resident residue are pushed up by suction.

The following points should be observed:

  • The detergent used should be one which dills to a powder so that a sticky residue is not left on the carpet.

  • Excess water should be avoided so that the backing of the carpet does not become too wet.

  • No metal or legs of furniture should come in contact with the damp carpet.

  • Walking or replacement of furniture on the damp carpet should be avoided.

2. Hot Water Extraction Machine-These are expensive machines with no rotary action. Hot water and detergent are shot into the carpet with high-pressure spray nozzles. The dirt is flushed to the surface and is picked up by suction. It is inbuilt in the same machine. The advantage of this machine over the rotary shampooing machine is that the drying time is cut to a minimum.

3. Deep Foam Extraction-A cylindrical brush type machine lays down moist foam, brushes it in and immediately extracts the soil-laden foam with a built-in vacuum head located behind the power brush.

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