Glossary of carpet terms


Primary backing

Usually made of woven polypropylene, primary backing provides a base cloth to hold the yarn in place while the tufting occurs.


A loop style carpet is often referred to as a berber. This style of carpet can come in a level loop or multi-level loop structure.

Bulked continuous filament

These are long strands of synthetic fiber that have been formed into bundles of yarn. These are often popular because they rarely show shredding or pilling.


A style of carpet constructed of thicker (sometimes a combination of thicker and thinner), yarn characterized by a longer pile height.

Carpet cushion

Known more commonly as padding, this is the layer of cushion that lies between the carpet and floor. This is important because this adds comfort and support as well as acts excellent noise reducer. Quality cushion is so crucial to the performance of your carpet that it is required by manufacturer’s warranties.

Carpet dyeing

Color can be added directly to the carpet face through a process of spraying or printing. This can be used for solid colors or as an effect to add a multicolor effect or patterns in the carpet.

Cut pile

This is a style of carpet where the loops of yarn are cut. This creates a level finish on the face of the carpet. Some examples of styles that are cut pile carpeting are textures, saxonies and friezes.


This is a measurement on how tightly the yarn is sewn into the primary backing. The higher the density of the carpet, the better the wear level.

Face weight

This is determined by the physical number of fibers per square yard and is measured in ounces.


The essential make-up of the carpet.


This style of carpet has very tight twist so that the end of each strand of yarn actually curls over slightly.

Loop pile

Loop pile carpets use uncut yarns that are either formed in a level or multi-level loop carpet structure.


This is often seen in high traffic areas and is seen as pressed down carpet from the application of weight.


This is a synthetic fiber that is found in most carpets. Nylon is excellent in exterior retention, fade and heat resistance, soil and stain resistance, and coloration.


The surface of carpeting made from cut or uncut loops of fiber.

Pile height

Also known as the nap, pile height is the length of strand of yarn.


This is a synthetically made material. It is used for its resistance against fade and stains. It also commonly used for its bulkiness and color precision. It is overall not as good as nylon, but does make an excellent second candidate.


Another common synthetic material used in carpet manufacturing, sometimes referred to as olefin. Polypropylene is more often used in commercial carpeting because it is not as strong and is more susceptible to abrasion than nylon. It is naturally stain and fade resistant.

Saxony (Plush)

This carpet is plush to the touch and has a luxurious feel. In the makings of this style, each yarn was created using a uniform twist and finish.


This is an alteration in carpet appearance due to wear and carpet distortion. Shading is not a physical alteration in appearance, but is the way the light source refracts off the top of the carpet.


Shedding is a natural part of a new carpet and is when small pieced of carpet seem to come off the floor. After a few days of frequent vacuuming, this should remove all the loose fibers and should not be a problem.

Staple fiber

It is made up of short strands of fiber that are wound together to create strands of yarn. This style has more of a shedding inclination as opposed to continuous filament fiber.


Man-made using chemical compounds rather than natural materials.


This is a common cut pile carpet that has alternating coils of yarn often creating a toned look.


Carpet yarns are twisted around one another to create textural and performance features. These two even go hand and hand as generally, the higher the twist the better the performance.

Yarn dyeing

Yarn dyeing, also known as pre-dyeing, is when color is applied to the yarn before tufting. All yarn dyeing methods result in great uniformity.