18 August 2022
A guide to selecting the right weave of carpet
Although modern flooring products like LVT are increasingly popular, carpet is still the floor covering of choice in many homes and businesses.
It’s a versatile option with products to suit all budgets, tastes, styles and locations. And it adds an extra layer of insulation to your floor, keeping rooms (and bare feet) warmer in winter.
But when it comes to choosing your new carpet, there’s more to consider than just the colour and pattern. How do you know which weave is right for you?
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular carpet weaves on the market.
Woven or tufted
There are two main manufacturing methods for carpets – weaving and tufting. Weaving is the traditional method, and most woven carpets are made with wool or a wool-nylon blend.
Woven carpets can be made by hand or machine using a loom, and the fibres are woven into the backing. The three types of woven carpet are Axminster, Wilton, and flat weave– we’ll look at these in a little more detail shortly.
Tufted carpets make up around 95% of carpet products on the market. As with woven carpets, they can be made by hand or by machine, but the process is slightly different. Rather than the fibres being woven together, they are stitched to a primary backing and then sandwiched in place by a secondary backing.
Of the two methods, woven carpets are slightly ahead in terms of quality and durability
With a woven carpet, the fibres are dyed before the carpet is made, so your carpet is deeper in colour and less likely to fade. Plus, a tufted carpet uses adhesive to join the primary and secondary backing, which can deteriorate over time.
That said, quality tufted carpets are hardwearing and will last for years. There’s also more versatility in the finish of a tufted carpet and unlimited custom design possibilities. For example, embossing and debossing are possible with tufted carpets but not woven. And when it comes to price, woven carpets are more expensive.
Axminster – Axminster carpets are made by weaving together the backing and pile yard. They can be made with multiple colours to create intricate pattern designs. Axminster carpets are usually made of wool, making them very durable – ideal for heavier traffic areas.
Wilton – Wilton woven carpets are made similarly to Axminster carpets but with a continuous strand of yarn, so fewer colours can be used. The process is more intricate, meaning Wilton carpets are more expensive, but they are also resilient, flexible and strong.
Flat weave – Flat weave carpets do not have a backing. They are made by weaving vertical yarn through horizontal yarn, creating a flatter carpet. Because there is no backing, flat weave carpets are reversible.
Loop Pile – the “loop” in loop pile refers to how the yarn is fastened to the backing – the yarn is continuously looped through. Different sized loops create different textures. Loop pile carpets are typically more hardwearing than cut pile carpets, so they are ideal for higher traffic areas such as stairs.
Cut Pile – the yarn is looped through but then cut to length, with different lengths creating different textures. A “velvet” carpet has a shorter pile, while “plush” is longer and softer underfoot.
Sculptured or patterned – sculpted or patterned carpets use both loop and cut pile to create textured designs. They were popular in the 1970s, and although they are less common now, they’re worth considering if you want something a bit different.
Saxony Pile – Saxony pile is a dense, shaggy pile with a textured look. Long pile carpets compress over time, so they are most suited to low-traffic areas, such as a bedroom.
Frieze – also known as hard-twist, a frieze pile is a cut pile with a twist or knot built into the yarn. This helps hide footprints and vacuum marks and is ideal if you want a more casual look to your room.
Berber – Berber carpets were traditionally handwoven by the Berbers of northern Africa, using undyed wool. Nowadays, ‘Berber’ refers to carpets with a similar hand-spun look and natural, earthy tones. They are made with large uncut loops, varying in size. Berber carpets tend to be flecked, making it easier to hide dirt.
How to decide which weave is right for you?
So now you know a little more about the different weaves, how do you choose the right carpet for your home or business?
Location and footfall
The first consideration is the location of the carpet. For higher traffic areas, such as halls and stairs, it makes sense to opt for something practical and hardwearing, whereas you might prefer something more luxurious and plush in bedrooms and living rooms.
Cleaning and maintenance
You’ll want a shorter pile if you’re looking for something easy to clean and maintain. It can be tough to completely remove pet hairs and dirt from deep pile carpets, even with a good vacuum cleaner.
Look and feel
How your carpet looks and feels will always factor into your decision. Some weaves offer more versatility in terms of design – if you’re splashing out for your business, you can have your logo printed on a tufted carpet. And of course, there’s the texture to consider – is there any nicer feeling underfoot than a soft, thick carpet?
Wool and sisal are the most popular choices for natural fibres, while nylon, polyester and polypropylene are all great synthetic options. Wool and sisal tend to be more expensive. Synthetic materials have more stain-resistant properties, and some synthetic carpets are made from recycled materials – ideal if you’re eco-conscious.
Hand woven and hand tufted carpets will always be at the more expensive end of the scale, so if your budget is limited, go for something a little less labour intensive. Carpets made from synthetic fibres and carpets with a shorter pile tend to be better options for the cost-conscious.
Need some inspiration?
There are hundreds of flooring manufacturers, suppliers and installers, so it can be hard to know where to turn.
At Beyond Flooring, our mission is to enhance your home or business with expertly fitted flooring. Not only can we help you select the right products for your space, but we can also take care of installing your new flooring to the highest standards.
We only use quality products, and we offer a two year warranty on all domestic projects.
If you need a little inspiration, check out our customer gallery, or visit our showroom. Our friendly team are always happy to help you select the perfect flooring (and underlay) for your home.