Carpet comes in a number of different styles each with its own appeal and characteristics. The carpet style you choose is based around a combination of the living environment you want and, of course, what look you are trying to achieve. The most common types of carpet are:
Loop Pile Berbers
Nearly all carpets start out as loop pile, this is where the yarn is stitched into the backing in a continuous run , each stitch forming a loop on the surface of the carpet. In its basic form the loops are all uniform in height and direction. The most common loop pile sold is the traditional Berber look. This carpet style has been around for many decades and is still a very popular choice. Berber carpets have a base colour with flecks of different colours running through the yarn. Because of the Flecks of colour they hide soiling well and do not show tracking or shading like cut pile carpets. They are practical, often inexpensive , are proven performers and are a good choice if you have a busy household as they hide soiling more than plain carpets.
Plain Level Loops
This carpet style consists of loop piles made using a single coloured yarn all at the same height. They give a clean stylish look, a little like a cut pile but with the benefit of not showing tracking or shading as a cut pile will. The nature of the construction means that joins are more visible in this style, they are also less forgiving than two tone or more textured products.
Sisals are loop pile carpets but instead of being uniform heights the tufting machines make one row lower, one row higher to give a linear directional appearance. In their earliest form they tended to be one colour only, so were harder to maintain as plain coloured carpets show soiling quicker than multi coloured ranges.
For some years now they have also been manufactured in two tone colourations with either contrasting or complementary colours. These are more practical and the biggest segment of the sisal market today. They also tend to retain the sisal look longer than the plain colours as even if they flatten a little the linear direction is still visible. With plain sisals, this type of carpet can flatten with traffic over time and they can loose their directional look.
Because sisals are directional, the trade tries to avoid joining them across the width of the roll where possible as these joins are more visible than in some other styles. If you are considering purchasing a sisal you should also consider which direction you want to run the product and discuss this with us.
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Textures are once again loop pile carpets, however the machines raise and lower the height of the the yarn across the roll as well as down the length. By doing this a large number of different textures and looks can be achieved. By adding more than one colour to the mix even more creativity is possible. There are a large number of these ranges in the market, they have a bit more life than a cut pile or plain loop pile and can make the floor more of a feature.
Like sisals cross joins are avoided where practical, however they are generally not as directional in look as sisals. Like sisals the higher tufts can flatten out with traffic and some of the texture can diminish. Again choosing a two tone range can help retain its textured look longer and will hide soiling better, consequently these are the biggest selling carpet styles in the textured market.
These are actually made as a loop pile but the machines cut each loop to allow the yarn to stand up individually. There is a wide choice of colour available, they are more formal and give a more luxurious feel and look than other styles. In NZ 95% or more of sales are in cut pile hardtwists, this is where the yarn has a twist set into it so the pile lies in different directions helping to disguise footprints. Overseas plush pile styles are far more prevalent, these types are like velour fabrics and show footprints and other movements across the floor.
All cut pile carpets track and shade to some extent. This is the natural flattening of the yarn through traffic and appears as light and dark patches depending how the light hits the surface. This can happen quite quickly particularly in heavy traffic areas such as hallways, stairs, doorways in lounge areas etc.
In some cases pile switch or puddling can also occur, this is where the pile in one area changes direction permanently and gives the appearance of a watermark. These are characteristics not flaws, if it is of real concern you should consider an alternative style rather than cut pile.
Cut pile is the single biggest selling carpet style in the market today.