Comprehensive Pocket Guide on Different Carpet Fibers and Pile Cuts

Floor carpet

Do you know your options for carpet fiber and pile cuts?

Carpet fiber and pile cut are two of the main things that you should consider when purchasing a carpet

For carpet fiber, you should know if the carpet you’re purchasing was made using natural or synthetic fiber. For pile cut, you should know how fiber loops were attached to a carpet’s backing. These two essential factors determine how comfortable and soft your carpet would feel. It would also clue you in if your carpet will wear easily.

The most common types of fibers used in carpets are as follows: nylon, polypropylene, polyester, wool, and acrylic. To make carpets, fiber yarns are looped through the backing in a manner that is similar to how one would sew buttons to a shirt. Upon looping, the fibers can be cut at various lengths and angles. They can also be left intact. The kind of loop that a fiber undergoes is called a carpet pile.

To fully inform you of all your possible options, we will enlist the most common carpet fibers and pile choices. 

Carpet Fibers

1. Nylon

Nylon is the most popular material used for carpet fiber. It is durable, soft, and not prone to abrasions and stains. Manufacturers love it because it is very easy to dye and can hold colors well. It is also resistant to mold, wear, rot, and mildew. Nylon is more affordable than wool. But of all synthetic fibers, it is the most expensive. If properly maintained, carpets made of nylon fibers can last up to 15 years. Nylon is simply the most durable synthetic fiber.

2. Polypropylene or Olefin

Polypropylene is the second best-selling fiber that is as soft as nylon. It is a good natural wool substitute. Although stain-resistant, polypropylene fibers tend to soil and can easily hold onto oils. Hence, dirt attaches to it easily. However, it is very easy to clean. Given that it is not as strong as nylon, it is commonly used for loop-styled carpets. Polypropylene is more affordable than nylon.

3. Polyester

Polyester is a non-allergenic fiber that can hold vibrant colors that don’t fade easily. It has a green variant that is made from recycled plastic bottles. It flats easily so it should not be used in areas with high traffic. It is very tough to clean when it has oil stains.

4. Acrylic

Known as “synthetic wool”, this wool alternative is not prone to mildew, staining, fading, and moisture.   It is a very cheap alternative to wool. However, it is not as durable. It also flattens easily and can turn brown if cleaned with alkaline-based detergents. 

5. Wool

Wool is the softest natural fiber. It is a durable fiber that also happens to be a luxury item. Pure wool is organic and perfect for people with allergies and chemical sensitivities. As it is completely natural, wool is prone to mildew and mold. This fiber is not perfect for areas with high humidity and moisture. 

Pile Cuts

1. Loop Pile

This pile is also called the “uncut pile” or “Berber pile” (a kind of knotted pile that originated in North Africa). This pile leaves the yarn loop intact on the surface. Carpets with this pile are stain-resistant, durable, and easy to clean. If your carpet has this kind of pile, it will be perfect for high-traffic areas in your house. Carpets with uncut pile are less soft and can be hazardous to small children and pets.

2. Cut Pile

This pile cut has sheared off fibers exposed. It creates an inviting look that is actually soft and easy-to-clean. It can blend well to different rooms so it is perfect for houses that are entirely carpeted. Carpets with this pile style shows vacuum trails and footmarks. Although easy-to-clean, cut-pile carpets do not last long. 

3. Saxony Cut

This pile cut has dense and extremely soft fibers. Fibers are relatively short and can create quite a fuzzy yet lush surface. Carpets with this pile cut flatten easily. Marks from vacuuming and foot traffic are also easily left. For a pretty expensive kind, Saxony carpets are prone to stains and can wear easily. If you have one, you should place it in areas in your house with very low foot traffic. 

4. Plush Pile

Also known as the velvet-cut pile, this pile cut has fibers that are shorter than that of a Saxony cut. Its densely packed fibers give it an extremely luxurious and rich carpet surface. Plush pile carpets are hard to maintain. Prone to scuffing, wear down, and footprint marks, it’s best to place plush pile carpets at low-traffic areas.

5. Textured Cut

Carpets with a textured cut have fibers that cut in uneven lengths. Using steam, fibers are twisted into spiral strands to have a kinked structure. Also known as “trackless”, carpets of this kind of pile show no vacuum or footprint marks.

6.Frieze-Cut Pile

Carpets with frieze-cut pile have long kinked fibers. Also known as California shag, frieze-cut piles create lasting carpets that are perfect for commercial spaces and areas with high foot traffic.

7. Sculpted Pile

Also known as cut-and-loop or patterned, carpets with a sculptured pile have fibers that are looped and cut-pile. Such a combination creates a textured surface. Its surface has a three-dimensional texture because its fibers are arranged in geometric patterns. Carpets with a sculpted pile can have fibers with same or varying lengths.