Once you have started the search for a new carpet, it is very easy to be quickly confused by all the differing styles on offer, and sometimes it can be very hard for you to make the right decision. So below is a brief summary of the key types, and what may or may not make them suitable for your particular needs.
Twist (sometimes referred to as cut pile)
This is by far the most popular form of carpet on sale today. It gets its name from the way the fibre is twisted in production. It is twisted to give the carpet added protection against flattening, and helps to create a number of appealing textures.
Twist carpet is produced in different weights to reflect different room uses. For example, a carpet fitted to a staircase is likely to be subject to harder wear than one fitted in a bedroom, so is traditionally heavier than its bedroom equivalent.
Twist carpet is also available in a number of different looks – Plain, or Solid, where one single colour is dominant, Heather, where a number of colours are blended together to give a multicolour look, and Berber, where the fibre is mixed with small solid pieces of a single colour to give a more rustic look.
Saxony carpets are also produced using twisted yarn, but they differ from twist carpets in that the strands of fibre tend to be tufted closer together to give a less open feel to the surface. In other words, when you run your fingers over the surface of the carpet, the fibres tend not to move left and right, rather they remain fairly upright.
Saxony fibres tend to be less twisty than those used on traditional Twists. As a result, this, combined with the tighter surface, means that, over time, most Saxonies show footprints and vacuum marks. This creates a texture which is appealing to most people, but you should be aware of this aspect before choosing a Saxony carpet.
Loop Pile is the other major carpet type. Again, the clue is in the description. Rather than the fibres being tufted in a linear, vertical way, they are tufted in small loops, which creates a totally different finish. The loops can then be produced as big, chunky loops, or small, tight loops, or a mixture of different dimensions – the options are limitless!
The fibre used in Loop Pile carpets tends not to be twisted to the same degree as that used in Twist carpets. Whilst the fact that it is produced in loops gives it a natural resistance to flattening, most manufacturers give it added resistance by twisting the strands of fibre together before producing the carpet. If 2 strands are twisted together, the fibre is referred to as being 2-ply, 3 strands makes it a 3-ply fibre, and so on. As a rule of thumb, the greater the number of strands twisted together, the harder wearing the carpet will be, although most 2- or 3-ply products will perform perfectly well in a typical domestic environment.
If you have a cat in your home, Loop Pile carpets may not be the ideal choice for you. History has shown that many cats naturally paw at the tufts in the carpet, which can, on occasion, lead to the tufts being pulled out of the carpet, leaving tiny gaps in the flooring.
Hopefully this helps to allay a few myths about different carpet types and will give you a better understanding of the choices that are available to you when selecting your new floor. Happy hunting!