Carpet Terminology – CARPET IMAGE

When you’re shopping for carpet, it’s common and understandable to be confused by the terminology used to describe carpets by the sales expert. And if you’re uncertain about the information you’re reading or being told, then how will you know if that’s the right carpet for you?

So, in this post we’ll define the most common used carpet terms so you can better understand, because the first step in getting the best carpet for your home, is speaking the language.

Backing: Simply, this is the back of the carpet which can be divided into two parts: primary and secondary backing. Primary backing provides the structure for the tufts of carpet. The secondary backing provides a barrier from the carpet padding and floor. The backing, also sometimes referred to as the underside, provides strength and durability. Carpet backing may be made from natural materials like jute, or sustainable materials like polypropylene.

Berber: Berber is a naturally undyed looking carpet that’s originally made by North African Berber tribes from undyed wool.

Broadloom: Broadloom is carpet that’s wider than 6 feet.

Felt/Padding: The underlay that’s installed between the floor board and the carpet. Carpet underlay will not only determine how soft and comfortable your carpet is to walk on, but it’s also a very important part of your purchase. To learn more about choosing the right carpet underlay, check out our other post here.

Crush: This means the bending down of the carpet fibers. This usually happens because of high traffic or even heavy furniture. Crushing is often irreparable. Crushed carpet sometimes looks like it’s soiled and worn out, but this could be fixed. For tips on how to clean and maintain your carpet, check out our other blog here.

Fiber: Fiber is the basic material that the carpet is made out of. Since it’s the actual building block of carpeting, the fiber is very important.

Indentations: Indentations are marks left by furniture or other heavy objects. Shifting the location of furniture from time to time will help. Also, spraying a small amount of water on the indented area and brush with a grooming tool available.

Pile: The pile is the visible part of the carpet. It consists of yarn tufts and is the part of the carpet that’s walked on. There are two types of carpet pile, cut and loop. Cut pile is a common style of carpet where the loops are cut in a way that leaves straight tufts of carpet. Loop pile is a carpet style where the loops are left uncut. Many Berber carpets have loop pile.

Pile Height: This is simply the height from the carpet backing to the top of the surface of the carpet.

Pilling: Pilling is a condition where carpet fibers from different tufts entangle with one another forming a hard mass called “pills.” This can occur in heavy traffic areas. Good new is, is that pills can be safely clipped off with scissors.

Resilience: This is the ability of a carpet to resist crushing.

Seam: The seam of a carpet is the line where two pieces join. Most carpet is produced in 12-foot wide. Any room wider than the width of the carpet will need a seam. Because of this reason, avoiding seams is rarely possible.

Synthetic: This is a man-made material that most carpets are made out of.

Twist: Twist is a type of carpet that has a very tightly twisted piling, this can be up to 4 ply.

Tufts: Tufts are a group of carpet fibers wound together to make individual groups of fibers. One of the initial parts of the manufacturing process is to weave yarn into tufts. These tufts are then installed into the carpet. Visualize each tuft as an individual piece of the carpet.

Watermarking/Pooling: Watermarking or pooling is a color change effect that arises from the reversal or bending of the carpet pile fibers, so that light is either absorbed or reflected from the pile. This is a common condition and it’s not related to the construction of the carpet or the fiber type.

We know this might have sounded like a class in school—but it’s a helpful one that’s worth not missing. Understanding carpet terminology is something you need for an enjoyable and successful shopping experience for your home. That’s why all of us here at Carpet Image are here to help every step of the way.


At Carpet Image, we want to make sure you’re happy from your first step in our showroom to your first step on your new flooring.

Our staff are equipped with the knowledge to guide you through the wide selection of products we offer, and our expert installation team is professionally trained to make sure everything gets installed the way you envision. We know your home is an expression of your sense of style, and we’re here to make sure you’ll be proud of it for years to come.

If you have any questions, please email us.