As everyone knows, there are different carpet styles. Construction varies as well as the fiber used. Many times a certain material and construction is better suited in a particular situation than another. Below are some of the constructions and fiber types.


Tufted Cut Pile

This has a mesh or backing, much like you would use when doing needlepoint. Yarn is pushed, or tufted, through each open square and you now have a loop. Each loop pushed through the squares, in the backing, is “cut”, to make 2 tufts.


Face Weight

The face weight is usually the weight of one square yard of the yarn, from the backing to the tip. This is how you would end up with a 30oz. face weight. Thirty ounces of yarn per sq yd., if you shaved the face fiber off the backing of 1 sq yd and weighed it. Density and height determine face weight. Higher face weight is almost always more expensive.


The height from the backing to the tip.Shag, not used as much lately, is a taller fiber.


The number of yarns in each sq yd. More per inch; greater density. Greater density; more face weight....unless the yarn has been made shorter.



Saxony is one of the more popular carpet styles and is generally about ¾” tall, has a fair amount of “twist” and is heat set to keep all the bending and twisting in place. It is usually medium density. A large percentage of cut pile is “Saxony”.

Velvet Plush

A velvet plush can have little to no twist and possibly no heat set. This is because there are so many yarns that they literally hold themselves up without the help of “processing”. These are the ones that show every vacuum mark and footprint. Because of their high density, they are usually more expensive than Saxony.


This, also, has loops pushed through the openings in the backing, during construction. The difference is that this is not cut, leaving a tufted “loop” instead of 2 pieces of “cut pile”. Loop construction is often used for commercial carpet. A tight loop tends to hold up better, to traffic.


Nylon Pile Yarn

Nylon is still the largest % used, today. It is relatively inexpensive and with stain resist chemicals (fruit & food dyes) and soil repellent (good old fashioned dirt) they clean up well.

Nylon can be tufted loop or tufted cut pile carpet styles.


Tufted Olefin Berber

Olefin is often found in a tufted loop Berber. It’s tufted into the backing squares and left un cut to form a loop. “Berber” is the name given to the salt and pepper look that this loop has, after manufacturing.

Olefin is not the only material used in “berber”. There can be nylon berber, wool berber as well as olefin. Berber is simply a name used to indicate the “look” or style.


There are variations, but these are the main fibers, carpet styles and construction, of carpet, a cleaner will encounter.


              Dennis Klager
              IICRC Instructor


Copyright 2012 by Dennis Klager