Almost all carpet, particularly carpet intended for the commercial market, is either tufted or woven. Beyond that, the consumer is faced with a choice of pile, fibre and denier before even considering colour and pattern. Denier refers to the thickness of the yarn used in the carpet and density is the amount of yarn per inch, so density,denier and carpet quality are closely linked.
Tufted carpets can have either a loop pile, a cut pile or a mixture of the two. Most carpet sold today is tufted, as the speed of construction makes it an affordable choice. The backing material on tufted carpets is bound to a further backing using a chemical adhesive. The yarn may then be heat-treated.
Tufted carpets are created on large sewing machines with hundreds of needles. Each needle pushes a tuft of yarn through the backing material. Every stitch forms a loop when the needle makes its return journey through the backing. These loops can be varied in size and are either left looped to create the kind of resilient low-pile carpet familiar in corridors and hotel lobbies, or cut for a more luxurious finish when less resilience is required.
Weaving creates a more traditional and high-quality carpet, and the technique is associated with intricately patterned, shaded and professionally designed carpets and rugs. Big, traditional carpet brands like Axminster and Wilton produce woven carpets.
As with all weaving, the carpet is created on a loom that interlaces the yarn and backing. As the yarn and backing are combined during the production process, there is no need for an additional backing material; these carpets have a strong and durable finish. A good-quality woven carpet can last 30 years or more when well maintained.
Fibres And Finish
Most carpets are created using yarn made from synthetic fibres. Synthetic materials have numerous benefits and are constantly evolving to be stronger and more attractive, offering a greater choice of pile and density. When choosing the fibre, to ensure you get the best from your cheap carpet and flooring, bear in mind the use of your carpet.
Different fibres offer different strengths, whether that’s improved colour fastness, stain resistance, ease of cleaning or durability. No one synthetic fibre has all of these characteristics, although wool is a great all-rounder. It pays to have a good idea of the demands you will be placing on the carpet’s surface. For mixed use areas, a blend of fibres may well work best.
Berber, plush and shag refer to the type of carpet pile, rather than the method of carpet creation. Berber carpets have a loop-pile, often with loops of varying sizes to resist indentation marks, while plush carpets have a cut pile to create a feeling of warmth and comfort underfoot. Shag carpets have a knotted pile, where an extra weft weaves at right angles to the surface and is then attached to the remaining carpet using a knot.