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Here's a helpful list of common carpet-related terms and their definitions.

Here's a helpful list of common carpet-related terms and their definitions.

Antistatic: A carpet's ability to dissipate an electrostatic charge before it reaches a level that a person can feel.


Backing: The fabric and yarns that make up the side of the carpet that lays next to the floor. In tufted carpets, there are two types of backing.


Berber: A loop-pile carpet that offers great durability, a full comfortable texture and a casual, informal look.  Often, these carpets incorporate flecks of color that contrast with the primary hue. The term Berber has expanded to include many level and multi-level loop carpet styles.


Binding: A special stitch, band, or strip sewn over a carpet edge to protect or decorate it.


Bound Carpet: Carpet that is cut and bound (by stitching or serging around all sides) but not attached to the floor.


Bulked Continuous Filament (BCF): Strands of synthetic fiber (such as nylon or olefin) that have been formed into bundles of yarn. The fibers have undergone a texturizing procedure that makes the formerly straight filaments either kinked or curled.


Cable: Carpet with casual, cut-pile construction featuring chunky tufts and long pile height.


Cushion: The material placed under a carpet for softness and support. It helps reduce noise, increase insulation benefits, and contributes to a softer feel underfoot. Purchasing an incorrect type of cushion may invalidate your warranty. Also known as padding or underlay.


Cut Pile: A carpet in which the yarn loops are cut to create a textured look and feel.


Density: This describes the amount of fiber or yarn in a carpet and how close the tufts of fiber are to each other. In general, the denser the pile, the better the performance.


Filament: A single, continuous strand of natural (such as wool) or synthetic (such as nylon) fiber.


Fluffing: Loose fiber fragments remaining from the manufacturing process that appear on a carpet surface. This condition is remedied by vacuuming and carpet use. Also known as "fuzzing" or "shedding”.


Frieze: Tightly curled or twisted yarn that gives carpet a textured appearance good for hiding footprints. Pronounced free-zay.


Fuzzing: Occurs when fibers from the carpet slip out of the yarn with use or sometimes after wet cleaning.


Gauge: The distance between two needle points in knitted or tufted carpet. It is usually expressed in fractions of an inch.


Hand: How a carpet feels.


Heat Setting: A process that sets the twist in a carpet pile with heat or steam. This process allows fibers to hold their twist over time, allowing them to bounce back with great resilience whenever they are stepped on.


Level Loop: The fiber in the carpet is stitched in uncut loops of the same size. It creates a smooth, level surface.


Loop Pile: The fiber in the carpet is looped and uncut. Can be either level loop or multi-level loop.


Pattern Cut Pile: Made from saxony yarn, this carpet features a sophisticated look created by running cut pile and loop pile on a level pile height.


Pile: The visible surface of a carpet, consisting of yarn or fiber tufts in loops that can be either cut or uncut. Also known as the "face" or "nap" of a carpet.


Pilling: A condition, often caused by heavy use, in which fibers from different tufts of carpet become entangled in one another forming hard fiber masses or "pills." These pills can be cut off with scissors.


Plush: A cut-pile carpet in which the individual carpet fibers appear to be cut the same length. The carpet offers a smooth, luxurious surface.


Power Stretcher: A tool used to install residential carpet that prevents wrinkles and ripples.


Primary backing: A woven or nonwoven fabric through which the yarn is inserted by the tufting needles.


Resilience: The ability of carpet pile or cushion to recover its original appearance and thickness after continued use.


Saxony: The carpet fiber loops are cut and twisted to create a relatively dense, consistent look. Saxony carpet presents a smooth, luxurious surface and is generally for formal settings.


Seams: The line formed by joining two pieces of carpet. The pieces can be sewn together or fastened with various seaming tapes or other adhesives.


Secondary backing: Fabric that is laminated to the back of the carpet to reinforce it.


Shading: A change in the appearance of a carpet due to distortions in the orientation of fibers, tufts, or loops that make up the carpet pile. This is not an actual change in the color of the carpet, but a difference in light reflection.


Sisal: A type of woven floor covering originally made of vegetable fibers such as grass and jute. Now synthetic alternatives are available that offer a more comfortable feel as well as interesting textures, patterns, and prints.


Soil Retardant: A chemical finish applied to carpet fibers or surfaces that inhibits the attachment of soil.


Sprouting: The raising up of an individual tuft or fiber above the level of the pile. These may be cut with scissors.


Stitches: The number of yarn tufts per running inch of a single row in a tufted carpet.


Stretch-in: The procedure for installing residential carpet over a separate cushion using a tackless strip with a power-stretcher.


Tackless Trip: Wood or metal strips fastened to the floor near the walls. The strips have 2 or 3 rows of pins angled up toward the walls on which carpet backing is fastened during a stretch-in installation.


Tuft Bind: The force required to pull a tuft from a carpet.


Tufted: A method of manufacturing carpet. Tufts of fiber are inserted through a carpet backing to create a pile of cut or loop ends.


Twist: Winding the fiber around itself to strengthen a fiber's resistance to crushing.


Underlay: The cushion or padding that lays underneath rugs or carpet.


Woven: Carpet that is manufactured on a weaving loom in which the lengthwise yarns and widthwise yarns are interlocked to form a fabric.


Yarn Ply: The number of single fibers twisted together to form a plied yarn.


Tools, products, materials, techniques, building codes and local regulations change; therefore, Lowe's assumes no liability for omissions, errors or the outcome of any project. The reader must always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and is urged to consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. Please read our terms of use.

About This Article

  • Publish Date: 07/19/2010