Glossary of Terms Used in the Carpet Industry


Glossary of Terms Used in the Carpet Industry

Installing CarpetHere is a list of common terms used in the carpeting industry. For definitions of other terms that are not listed in this glossary, please consult our carpeting experts.

Backing/Primary Backing

The primary backing material of carpeting is typically made of woven polypropylene, and its principal value is to offer a base cloth to hold the yarn in place while the tufting happens.

Beck Dyeing

A second dyeing method used in the manufacturing of carpet comprises applying color to the yarn after the carpet has been tufted.


A loop style carpet is commonly called Berber and can be either produced in a level loop or multi-level loop construction. Often, Berber carpets are accented with a color fleck.

Bulked Continuous Filament

Continuous long threads of synthetic fiber that have been gathered to form bundles of yarn. Products made from a continuous filament yarn hardly display any shedding or pilling.


A style of a carpet made of thicker (at times a combination of thicker and thinner), yarn characterized by a longer pile height.

Carpet Cushion

Often referred to as carpet pad, this is the layer of material that lies between the carpet and floor. Carpet cushion assists in providing comfort and support, along with excellent noise reduction. A quality cushion is vital to the performance of a carpet and is required by manufacturers’ warranties.

Carpet Dyeing (Continuous Dyeing)

Also called continuous dyeing, color is applied straight to the carpet face by spraying or printing. This process is also used to create multi-colored or patterned effects on the carpet.

Cut Pile

The loops of yarn are cut, making a more level finish on the face of the carpet. Textured, Saxony, and frieze are all considered cut pile carpets.


A measure of how firmly the yarn is stitched into the primary backing. Higher density carpet will wear better than lower density carpet.

Face Weight

This is determined by the definite amount of fiber per square yard and is measured in ounces.


Fiber is the material that a carpet is made of. Over 99% percent of all of the carpet made today consists of synthetic fiber. The rest is a natural fiber and mostly wool.


This is a cut pile style that has a very high twist level. That means that each strand of yarn is so tightly twisted that it curls over at the end. This produces a textured surface with a casual appearance, and a carpet of high durability and very good wear-ability.

Loop Pile

Uncut yarns create this. Loop pile carpet can be level loop or multi-level. Loop pile products hold their appearance. Since there are no exposed yarn tips, only the sides of the yarn are exposed to wear and stress.


This is the application of weight on an installed carpet that produces the visual effect of carpet “laying down.”


This is a synthetic fiber. Today, most quality residential carpets are made of nylon. Nylon is the best in appearance retention, fade and heat resistance, soil and stain resistance, and color and styling.


Cut or uncut loops of yarn that make the surface of carpeting.

Pile Height

It is also called the nap. Pile height is the length of the tuft measured from the primary backing to the yarn tips.


A common synthetic material renowned for its bulkiness, color clarity, and good stain and fade resistance. While not as hardy as nylon, polyester fiber carpet constructed with modern, new technologies can be a good performer.


Another common synthetic material used in carpet manufacturing and at times referred to as olefin. Most commonly used in commercial carpeting, polypropylene is not as durable or resistant to abrasion as nylon, yet it is naturally stained and fade resistant.


Saxony has a smooth, soft, velvet plush appearance and a luxurious feel with a uniform twist and finish. Note that this style will show footprints and vacuum marks.

Screen Printing

Another common technique of carpet coloring is screen printing, where color is applied from one to as many as eight silk-screens.


A change in carpet appearance caused by a combination of wear and carpet tuft alteration. Shading is not an actual modification in color but is a difference in how the light source refracts off the face of the carpet.


One of the last stages in the manufacturing of carpet, shearing is the removal of all the little loose ends and projecting fibers that might have been formed during the tufting process. It also helps attain the yarn’s tip definition of the finished carpet.


Shedding is a natural characteristic of a new carpet. Regular vacuuming for the first few days should eliminate any loose fibers from the carpet’s surface.


Buying the best CarpetRefers to small tufts or loops of carpet that become noticeable after the installation. You should use a small pair of scissors to carefully trim the loose fibers flush with the surface of the carpet.

Staple Fiber

Staple fiber is made up of short strands of fiber that are approximately 7 inches long. They are spun together to form strands of yarn. Staple fiber is more likely to “shed” than continuous filament fiber.

Stitch Rate

This is the measure of how close the yarns are to each other. Stitch rate is measured in penetrations, or tufts, in a given length of the carpet. It is usually an inch. The stitch rate is controlled by how quickly the carpet is moved through the tufting machine.


Synthetic yarns are man-made, using chemical compounds and natural materials. Over ninety percent of all of carpet is made up of synthetic fibers, including nylon, polypropylene, or polyester. All three are made through similar chemical processes using oil and natural gas.


A very common cut pile carpet that has alternating twists of yarn, creating a tonal look. This carpet creates a more casual atmosphere in the room and is available in a broad range of colors and densities.


When two unlike flooring products meet, for example, carpeting and a hardwood floor, it’s called a transition. Professional installers attempt to match the surface heights of various flooring products to reduce transitions.


This is the first step in the manufacturing of carpet. Tufting starts with the process of weaving the synthetic or staple fiber into a primary backing material.


Carpet yarns are twisted around each other to create both textural and performance characteristics. Typically, the higher the twist, the better the performance.

Yarn Dyeing

Yarn dyeing is also called pre-dyeing. This is where the color is applied to the yarn prior to tufting. The advantages of all yarn dyeing techniques include good side-by-side color consistency, large lot sizes, and uniformity.

References and Resources

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    Carpet’s Advantages

    • Carpet adds warmth and is soft under feet and easier on children’s knees.
    • Carpet is much quieter than hard surface floors.
    • Carpet comes in a wide variety of colors, tones and hues.
    • Carpet is easy to decorate with and offers many patterns and textures allowing it to be the focus of the room or the perfect foundation for your furniture and accessories.
    • Carpet can be installed in any room in your home, and requires little or no subfloor prep, unlike many hard surface installations.
    • Carpet is an excellent value.

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