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Carpet jargon busted: types of pile

When you’re shopping for a new carpet you can suddenly find yourself faced with a confusing set of terms. Unless you work in the carpet industry you might not be au fait with the difference between a twist pile and a velvet pile, and you probably won’t know your Axminster from your Wilton. Don’t get lost in the jargon and end up buying the wrong carpet, read on as we explain what each type of pile actually is...

  • Twist pile: This type of carpet is made from a yarn that has been twisted together tightly, creating a short, dense pile that is resilient to being crushed underfoot.
  • Velvet pile: These carpets have a short, dense pile which is elegantly cut to give a smooth, velvety texture. The short pile also makes them very low maintenance.
  • Cut pile: A cut pile carpet is created by strategically cutting the loops that are created during the weaving process. They are cut to the same height and allowed to tuft slightly, giving a soft, cushiony feel underfoot.
  • Shag pile: This type of carpet is made in the same was a cut pile but the tufts are extra long for a super soft, shaggy look.
  • Saxony: This is another cut pile carpet comprised of twisted tufts. It is dense and luxurious, best suited to bedrooms rather than high traffic areas.
  • Loop pile: Also known as Berber, this type of carpet is made using heavy yarn which is looped to form a uniform height or a textured pile. It maintains its appearance and hides footprints well so is ideal for a high traffic area.
  • Cut and loop: As the name suggests, this is a type of carpet made with both cut pile and loop pile to give a textured, patterned effect.
  • Flatweave: This is a type of carpet which is created by interlocking vertical (warp) and horizontal (weft) threads. The pile is looped but has no height, giving the impression of flatness.
  • Needle felt: A process called electrostatic flocking charges the nylon fibres, making them stand upright. This creates a dense, durable carpet which can’t be achieved via traditional manufacturing techniques.
  • Axminster: This is a machine-woven carpet with a velvet look, created by weaving individual pieces of yarn over the weft. This type of carpet is known for its durability, quality, and longevity.
  • Wilton: This is a high quality carpet woven with up to five colours of yarn per pattern. A Wilton carpet can either have a looped or cut pile; and the main difference between a  Wilton and an Axminster is that the Wilton yarn is a continuous strand woven all the way through the carpet.


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