Carpet Glossary

Although consumers may not always need to know all the terms associated with carpeting, the more knowledge the better. After all, purchasing new carpet is a big investment. Therefore, the more knowledge a buyer has, the better able the buyer will be to ask the right questions when shopping for carpet. This glossary is designed to define the terms and to take the mystery out of the jargon.

Antimicrobial - Carpet treated with a special chemical to reduce growth of various types of yeast, mold, mildew, fungi, and bacteria

Antistatic - Carpeting that has been developed so electrostatic charge is dissipated prior to being stepped on.

Attached Cushion - Material to include urethane, rubber, foam, and so on that has been attached to the backside of carpeting for increased thickness helping with comfort, wear, and stability.

Average Pile Weight - Reference to a mass of yarn weight specific to an area based on ounces per square yard

Backing - Yarn and/or fabric that is the construction of carpeting baking defined as either Primary (Woven or non-woven fabric where tufting needles are used to insert the yarn) or Secondary (Fabric that has been laminated to the back of the carpet rather than with a needle, helping with overall stability).

Berber - A type of loop pile carpet with thick, tufted yarn. Typically, Berber is made from olefin, wool, or nylon and is made in solid or specked color and intended for a more casual, comfortable look.

Binding - Strip of band that is actually sewn onto the edge of carpeting to prevent fraying, as well as to create a clean edge and strengthen the wear of the carpet.

Broadloom - Carpeting made in widths more than six feet, most often 12 although it can be up to 15 feet

Bulked Continuous Filament - Also referred to as BCF, this consists of synthetic fiber strands made into bundles of yard to help increase bulk

Construction - Method in which carpet is manufactured to include woven, tufted, etc

Cushion - Reference to any type of material used under carpeting to increase support, comfort, softness, and stability

Cut Pile - Fiber face made from cut ends of pile yarn

Cut Loop Pile - Fiber used in carpet made from a variety of cut ends of both pile yarns and loops

Delamination - This refers to a separation that can occur to secondary backing or attached cushion from the primary backing

Density - Amount of pile yarn, as well as the closeness of the carpet tufts

Dimensional Stability - The ability of carpeting to retain its new and original shape and size

Direct Glue Down - Method of installation for gluing carpet to the subfloor

Double Glue Down - Method is which carpet is glued down first to the subfloor, followed by it being glued to the cushion

Filament - Single and continuous strand of synthetic or natural fiber

Fluffing - A characteristic of new carpet where loose fiber filaments are found on the carpet surface also known as shedding, which is not a defect

Frieze - Twisted yarn that is very tight to create a nubby and rough look

Fuzzing - Loose fibers on the surface of carpeting often the result of using wet carpet cleaning machines or from normal wear and tear

Gauge - Distance of two needle points defined in fractions of an inch

Hand - Tactile aesthetic qualities of textiles and carpet and the way it feels to the touch of the hand

Heat Setting - Special process in which steam or heat is used to set yarn twist

Indoor/Outdoor - Carpet made to be used in outdoor settings

Level Loop - Pile loops of the same height and uncut so the carpet surface is level and smooth

Loop Pile - Type of styling where the carpet surface is made from uncut loops

Luster - Sheen of carpet, yarns, and fibers

Miter Joint - This is a reference to a meeting of two pieces of carpeting at an angle, which typically involves pieces of carpet at right angles to each other and with end cuts at 45 degrees

Pile - Seen surface of carpeting that is made from tufts of yarn that is in a loop or cut configuration. Pile is also referred to as nap or face depending on the manufacturer and seller.

Pile Crush - Due to tufts bending or compression, pile thickness begins to diminish. In most cases, this would be the result of daily wear and tear known as traffic or the placement of heavier furniture pieces. Depending on the type and quality of the carpet, this could be a permanent problem.

Piling - When the carpet is made from a variety of fibers and different tufts that become entangled, the surface becomes piled. The good news is that in most cases piling can be corrected by cutting the pile with scissors

Plush - High-end carpeting that has a gorgeous, smooth, and textured carpet face. This is done by making individual tufts barely visible. Manufacturers create this look by usually using on-cut pile carpet made from yarn that has been spun and then brushed or sheared.

Ply - Single end characteristic of plied yarn, as well as the number of single ends that have been ply-twisted to create plied yarn. In other words, carpeting known as Ply 2 has had two single ends twisted to create the final look.

Power Stretcher - Professional carpet installers use this unique tool to help stretch the carpet tight using a tackless strip so there are no wrinkles, bubbles, or ripples in the final installation process

Resilience - Carpet cushion or pile that is capable of returning to its original thickness or look after being walked on, vacuumed, or having heavy furniture pieces placed on it

Saxony - This is cut pile carpet texture made with yarn that has been twisted to create a defined, erect, and dense appearance

Seams - Top carpet installers will know the best way to install carpet to avoid as many noticeable seams as possible but there are usually one or more seams depending on the size and/or configuration of the room, which is where two pieces of carpet meet to create a fluid look

Seam Sealing - To ensure the two pieces of carpeting being installed are secure at the seam, a continuous bead of special adhesive is applied to the trimmed edges, thus eliminating the problem of unraveling or fraying at the location of the seam

Serging - Technique where finished edges are created specific to area rugs. This is done for colored and/or heavy yarn using an overcast stitch

Shading - Based on orientation of tufts, fibers, or loops, carpeting can change in appearance, which is only a light reflection and not fading

Sisal - Carpet style that is very similar to woven carpeting that comes from natural plant fiber

Soil Retardant - Chemical that is applied to the surface of the carpet or fibers to help inhibit soil from becoming embedded

Sprouting - This occurs when yarn ends or even an individual tuft of carpeting is higher than the surface of other fibers, easily fixed by clipping it off with scissors

Staple - Fiber made of shorter lengths that have been made into spun yarn through a special spin process, also known as staple yarns

Stitches - Reference to the number of yarn tufts for every running inch of a single tuft row specific to tufted carpeting

Stretched In - Method of installation where the carpeting goes over a separate cushion and tackless strip

Tackless Strip - Strip made from wood or metal that has been attached to the subfloor close to the wall. Typically, this tackless strip will be made with two or three rows of pins that lean toward the wall the help secure carpeting during the installation process

Tuft Band - A reference to force needed for a tuft to be pulled from the carpet

Tufted - Carpet made by yarn tufts being pulled through the backing material so the outcome is a surface of loop or cut ends

Twist - The way in which carpet yarn winds around itself, creating a clean and defined look

Underlay - Cushion that is used under rugs

Woven - Carpet made on an actual weaving look so the yarns going long and wide are interlaced to create both face and back of the carpet

Yarn Ply - Number of individual yarns that have been twisted together, forming plied yarn