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About Carpet

Carpet is an ancient but beautiful idea. Modern carpet traces its roots to ancient times, when cultures passed hand-tying and knotting skills from generation to generation.

The Sixteenth Century brought merchant adventurers and explorers home to Europe and with them the awareness and desire for rich textiles and rugs from the East. It wasn't long before the appreciation of textile floor coverings took off, came to America, and became one of the most fundamental and beautiful parts of our modern home interior. Carpet continues to be popular for many reasons.

Primary flooring choice

  • relatively inexpensive
  • comfortable underfoot
  • easier to install and replace
  • fashion options to meet every style and decor
  • warmer, softer and quieter

Carpet advantages

  • soft under foot
  • easy on kids knees
  • quieter than hard surfaces floors
  • wide variety of colors, tones and hues
  • easy to decorate with
  • hides sub-floor irregularities
  • can go over a variety of substrates
  • can go on all grade levels
  • economical and installation costs less than hard surface

How It's Made

Knowing how carpet is made can be very advantageous. Knowing the different materials that make up various carpets also helps you understand and evaluate their performance aspects: why certain carpets are easier to install, why some wear better, longer, and why others are easier to care for and clean. It can also make you a smarter shopper.

Selections:

  • thicker is not always better
  • tight twist in each yarn is better than loose and frayed
  • firm and dense pile means quality
  • the more backing seen, the less dense and durable
  • high traffic areas need lower profiles to avoid matting and crushing

Step 1: Fiber

  • basic material of makeup
  • 90% is synthetic fiber
  • rest is natural fiber, mostly wool

Synthetic Fibers

  • made up of 1 of 3 materials: nylon, polypropylene or polyester
  • created by chemical processes from oil and natural gas

Nylon

  • 75% is made of nylon
  • performs the best overall
  • leader in: appearance retention, fade and heat resistance, soil and stain resistance, color and styling
  • highest performance nylon is Type 6.6 for more resistant to stain penetration

Polypropylene

  • next most common material is polypropylene
  • introduced in the late 1950's in Italy
  • BCF represents more than 35% of all fibers
  • not as resilient or resistant to abrasion as nylon
  • naturally stain and fade resistant
  • naturally resistance to moisture
  • more limited range of color options
  • most often used in loop pile constructions

Polyester

  • third type of material is polyester
  • introduced to the carpet industry in the mid 1960's
  • well accepted for bulkiness, color clarity, and good stain and fade resistance
  • not as resilient as nylon
  • can be a good performer

PET

  • Mohawk makes from plastic bottles
  • plastic is collected, separated by color, and then ground and melted
  • used to manufacture the PET carpet fiber
  • carpets made by Mohawk of PET staple fiber made from 100% recycled material
  • great color clarity, stain resistance, durability
  • keeps over 3 billion bottles out of landfills

SmartStrand

  • made with DuPont Sonora polymer
  • DuPont and Mohawk make this fiber into carpet
  • SmartStrand with DuPont Sorona is continuous filament fiber
  • eliminates shedding
  • highly stain resistant and durable
  • 40% of the fiber made from corn by products

Wool

  • The above three materials make up the majority of synthetic fibers.
  • The other type of fiber used in carpet construction is staple fiber.
  • While some synthetics are used in the creation of staple fibers, the original staple fiber used in the making of carpet is wool.
  • The wool used in today's carpet comes primarily from New Zealand, Argentina, and the United Kingdom.
  • Since wool is a natural fiber, it ranges in color from off-white to black, with many earthen tones between.
  • Wool doesn't stand up to abrasion and moisture as well as synthetics, it cleans well and is known to age gracefully.
  • Wool is the most expensive carpet fiber, and represents less than one percent of the U.S. carpet market.

Berber

  • considered a type of carpet construction
  • actually comes from the name of a group of North African sheepherders called the Berbers
  • Berbers produced coarse wool, with color flecks in their yarns

Carpet is made in a 3-part process.

#1 Tufting

  • begins with weaving the synthetic or staple fiber into a primary backing material
  • usually made of woven polypropylene
  • main value is to provide a base cloth to hold the yarn while tufting happens
  • tufting machine has 800 to 2000 needles like a sewing machine to pull the yarn through the primary backing material
  • tufting machine is 12 feet wide, its needles penetrate the backing and a small hook (looper) grabs the yarn and holds it in place

Loop pile construction

  • holds appearance well
  • no exposed yarn tips
  • only sides of the yarn are exposed to wear and stress
  • known to hold up the best

Alternative step

  • sometimes the looper cuts small loops creating a cut pile
  • length of these pieces called pile height, or distance between the looper and primary backing
  • cuts are controlled by a computer, and can be programmed to cut only some of the loops
  • this cutting is called cut and loop construction and creates pattern on the surface

#2 Application of dye

Two dyeing processes

  • yarn dyeing / pre-dyeing - color is applied to the yarn prior to tufting
  • advantages are good side-by-side color consistency, large lot sizes, uniformity
  • carpet dyeing - applying color to the yarn after tufting
  • benefits - greater color flexibility

Carpet dyeing methods

  • Beck / batch dyeing - stitching the ends together, then running the tufted carpet loop through large vats of dye and water for several hours.
  • Beck process ideal for small runs, heavier face weight products
  • continuous dyeing - similar to Beck dyeing - carpet is also run through processes other than dyeing
  • continuous dyeing - applies color to the face by spraying or printing, also to create multicolor or patterned effects
  • screen printing - color is applied through anywhere from 1-8 silk-screens.

#3 Manufacturing the carpet

  • finishing process- single production line that completes the final construction stages
    • coating of latex applied to dyed carpet's primary and secondary backing
    • secondary backing - made of woven synthetic polypropylene
    • two parts are squeezed together in a large heated press and held firmly to preserve shape
  • shearing- removing loose ends and projecting fibers created during the tufting process
  • also helps the yarn's tip definition
  • inspection - for color uniformity and defects before it is rolled, wrapped, and shipped

Terms and construction variables

Pile height, or nap

  • length of the tuft measured from the primary backing to the yarn tips
  • shown as a fraction, or decimal equivalent
  • shorter pile is more durable than longer pile
  • stitch rate - measure of how close the yarns are together
  • stitch rate is measured in penetrations, or tufts, in a given length of carpet, usually an inch.
  • stitch rate is controlled by the speed the carpet is moved through the tufting machine
  • good number is seven to eight tufts per inch
  • face weight-actual amount of fiber per square yard, measured in ounces
  • typical carpet may have a face weight of 35 to 45 oz
  • density- how tightly the yarn is stitched into the primary backing
  • higher density will wear better than low density

Carpet | Styles

Choosing the ideal carpet style is all about knowing the right combination of aesthetics, performance and budget that meets the needs of your lifestyle.

Six basic styles of carpet

  • Textured, Saxony or plush, frieze, cable, looped, and cut & loop.
  • Each style has its own characteristics and performance capabilities.
  • Carefully consider all of each style's features, qualities and conditions in making your buying decision.

Click on a swatch below for more information

Textured


Textured
  • textured carpet if you want casual
  • very popular cut pile carpet
  • alternating twists of yarn
  • two-tone appearance.
  • hides footprints and vacuum marks
  • great for all areas in the home, especially for active families
  • available in a broad range of prices

Saxony


Saxony
  • formal, traditional and elegant look
  • smooth, soft, velvet plush look
  • luxurious feel
  • yarn has uniform twist and finish
  • good for master bedrooms, dining room or a formal living room
  • not a good choice for high traffic areas or active kids
  • shows footprints and vacuum marks

Frieze


Frieze
  • cut pile style with a high twist level
  • each strand of yarn is twisted so tightly that it curls over at the end
  • for active areas
  • has a textured surface with a knobby appearance
  • durable and wears well
  • performers well in high-traffic areas
  • can go anywhere in your home
  • hides footprints
  • available in various pile heights for different looks

Cable


Cable
  • constructed of thicker, typically longer yarn
  • very comfortable underfoot
  • beautiful in a bedroom or living room
  • better suited for rooms without a lot of activity
  • can matte and crush with heavy foot traffic
  • not recommended for stairs, hallways

Looped

Looped
  • referred to as a Berber
  • big bulky yarns produced in a level loop or multi-level loop
  • made out of olefin fiber
  • some made with nylon, or a blend of various fibers
  • very durable because of not cutting the yarn tips
  • you can see each individual loop
  • ideal for casual, active family rooms
  • come in solid colors, Berber fleck, patterns with varying levels of loops
  • hides traffic patterns well
  • may make seams more apparent
  • backing is more visible on stairs

Cut & Loop

Cut & Loop
  • combination of cut and looped yarns that create pattern effects by the variation in surface textures
  • also referred to as patterned carpet
  • low profile and thus perform well
  • sometimes seams are visible
  • very fashionable
  • used in casual and traditional rooms
  • available in many patterns like fun geometrics and formal botanicals
  • distinctive carved appearance and multiple colors
  • hides stains
  • stands up to traffic

Carpet | Before You Buy

Choosing the best carpet is really about knowing the right combination of characteristics, aesthetics, performance and budget to best meet the needs of your lifestyle. For example, looped Berbers and high twist friezes perform wonderfully in high traffic areas in your home, but an elegant Saxony in the same area may show footprints.

Seams

  • available in 12', 15' and sometimes 13' widths
  • carpet will be seamed unless room is narrower than above widths
  • seams visible with looped or low-profile patterned carpets
  • degree of visibility depends on texture, color, lighting and furniture

Backing and Loops

  • backing may show when carpet bends over stairs depending on texture, color and density.
  • looped carpet can snag at a seam or transition

Carpet Nap

  • pile reversal, or shading, is a normal
  • consider window treatments and furniture placement to minimize

Durability

  • higher quality carpet = greater pile density
  • tighter twist construction results in better durability
  • easier to replace or update décor with carpet rather than hard surface products
  • adds value to any home
  • feels warm underfoot
  • reduces household noise

Color

  • once installed it will often look lighter than the sample
  • color affects the apparent size of the room
  • lighter colored carpet visually expands the size of the room
  • darker carpeting brings the walls closer together, creating intimate feelings
  • neutral colors are best for frequently changing the decorating schemes
  • neutrals are good for rooms with a lot of existing furniture
  • neutral colored, good carpet is good for resale

Warranty

  • check warranty for stains
  • stain protection is an important consideration
  • carpet products have with different stain protection levels
  • warranties help guard against stains
  • with quality comes increased stain protection and warranty coverage
  • it is important to understand what is covered by the warranty

Carpet cushion

  • determines how a carpet feels underfoot
  • not just about feel
  • quality helps preserve the look
  • can extend the life and comfort
  • provides protection against wear and tear
  • sold using quality specifications, not color specifications
  • color of the sample in the store may not be the same as installed

Reading the label

  • become familiar with product specs warranties on the labels
  • protect your investment today and tomorrow

Know the entire cost of ownership

  • this is one component of the entire project cost
  • ensure there are no budget surprises with final cost
  • ask for the total cost of the project to be calculated

Potential additional expenses:

  1. Furniture removal/replacement
  2. Demolition/disposal of old floor covering
  3. Sub-floor preparation
  4. Product delivery
  5. Carpet installation
  6. Materials required to complete the installation

In addition to the total project cost, be sure to also consult the manufacturer's warranty and care guide for directions on how frequently the carpet should be cleaned and the cost to clean it.

Carpet | Installation

Being knowledgeable and prepared for the big day when the new carpeting will transform your home is very important. Being ready for the installation of your carpet will make the entire process go faster and more efficiently. Knowing what to expect and being prepared will also be a lot less stressful on you, your family and your home.

Use a professional - some of these basics follow:

Seams

  • seaming diagram is the installers' "blueprint" for overall layout, seam placement and transition
  • professionals know how to deal with seams best
  • seams are inevitable
  • professionals excel at minimizing and hiding seams
  • professionals insure seams are placed away from pivoting traffic, and not perpendicular to doorway openings
  • some styles show seam tape more than others, called telegraphing or peaking
  • peaking is seen more in low cut pile and looped carpets
  • a tight seam can still be seen
  • sometimes extra carpet is ordered to better match patterns at the seams

Transitions

  • when two different flooring products meet like carpet to wood
  • professional installers will try to match the surface heights to minimize transitions.

What to know and do before installation day

Furniture is step one

  • remove all furniture
  • additional charges occur for moving furniture
  • empty the contents of china cabinets, closets

Know what to do with your present floor covering

  • consider removal of old floor covering, sometimes messy and time consuming
  • if you remove it, do it at least one day before for cleanup and floor preparation
  • leave tack strips in place
  • pull the staples out of the floor from the original pad
  • painted baseboards, woodwork and paint may need retouching; this is your responsibility

Subflooring

  • may need preparation for new carpet - leave this to the pros

Doors

  • doors may not clear the new carpet and swing freely
  • a professional can remove doors and re-hang, if possible
  • occasionally doors will need to be trimmed, this will be your responsibility

Clean-up

  • installing new carpet will produce waste
  • materials are usually collected by your installer and left at your trash collection site
  • hauling away is usually an additional cost

What to know and do during installation day

Installation day

Be prepared to be at home the day of installation and be available in case the installation crew has questions. Your presence will insure that the correct carpet is installed in the right areas.

  • some installers may not be able to give you an exact time of arrival
  • be flexible and keep in touch with your retailer/installer

Safety

  • installers use tools and techniques that can make the work area hazardous
  • make sure that children and pets are kept out of the work area

The walk-through

  • prior to the completion of the installation, walk-through the job with the chief installer
  • this gives you the opportunity to ask questions about final details

What to know and do after installation day

  • for odor sensitivity, good ventilation is important
  • some of the chemicals and adhesives in carpet can smell for 48 to 72 hours
  • be prepared to provide the room with adequate ventilation

Fixing post-installation problems

  • shedding is a natural part of a new carpet
  • frequent vacuuming for the first few days should help
  • sprouting is the small tufts or loops that are visible afterwards
  • use small scissors to trim the loose fibers flush with the carpet's surface
  • for wrinkles or ripples, a re-stretch maybe needed

Find Stair Runners at A.J Rose Carpets and Flooring!

If you’re ready to give your home a refreshing new look with an additional touch of comfort in the atmosphere, it may be time to invest in stair runners. Runners are perfect for increasing your house’s congenial feel and can even protect your family by covering the stairs’ smooth and slippery surface.

You don’t have to add or replace carpets in every room to create a more comfortable atmosphere – simply opt for a runner! Visit our flooring center near Boston, MA, to explore the vast selection of stair runners we offer. Our expert installation staff is ready to upgrade your living space.

Here at A.J. Rose Carpets and Flooring, we offer runners from six companies:

With our staff of carpet experts, we’ll create custom runners for your home and install them flawlessly. We use two different methods of installation – Hollywood and waterfall. The Hollywood arrangement involves tacking the runner to each stair, which requires more attention to detail but looks neater. If you choose the waterfall installation, the carpet edges are overlaid and folded over.

Hollywood vs. Waterfall Stair Installation

There are two simple procedures for installing carpet on your stairs. These methods are called the Hollywood and Waterfall approaches. Before we begin discussing the installation methods, you may need to know these terms: treads and risers. Treads are the portion of the stairs your feet step one. The risers are the back of the stairs that are perpendicular to the treads.

Hollywood Installation

This installation method involved tacking down the carpet directly to the staircase. You will be able to see the outline and detail of the treads and risers. This particular approach tends to require more detailed work than the Waterfall installation, but ends up looking clean and more tailored.

Waterfall Installation

This is the more common approach for stair installation, especially if the carpet material being installed is a thicker product. This involves laying the carpet over the edge of the tread and straight down the riser so it meets the next tread.

Carpet | Maintenance

New carpeting can be elaborate and elegant, cool and contemporary or tasteful and traditional. It's one of America's most popular floor covering choices, enhances virtually any room and it can add value to your residence. Keeping that feeling, and your carpet in beautiful condition, is a challenge if you don't know the proper steps of maintenance.

We want you to know that with the care guidelines below, your new carpet can stay attractive for many years, and many bare-foot crossings to come.

  • place walk-off mats wherever there are entrances to your home
  • buy a quality vacuum and use it regularly
  • use a machine with a good beater bar and maximum suction
  • if your vacuum uses bags, be sure to change them frequently
  • Carpet cushion plays an important role in preserving the look and feel of your carpet
  • don't vacuum over loose yarn or try to pull out the snag
  • rearrange your furniture periodically
  • treat stains as soon as possible
  • cleaning by a reputable, professional cleaner is suggested approximately once a year to protect your investment
  • read the care and maintenance literature provided by the manufacturer because different fibers, styles and finishes can each have their own unique guidelines

 

Glossary of Carpet Terms

For definitions of other terms not listed here, please go to these sections: Carpet, How It’s Made, Styles, Before You Buy, Before Installation, and Maintenance.

Backing/Primary Backing
The primary backing material of carpeting is usually made of woven polypropylene and its main value is to provide a base cloth to hold the yarn in place while the tufting happens.

Berber
A looped style carpet is often referred to as a Berber. Berbers are big bulky yarns with characteristic color flecks that are either produced in a level loop or multi-level loop carpet construction. Although many Berbers are made out of olefin fiber, some are made with nylon, or a blend of various carpet fibers.

Cable
A style of carpet constructed of thicker, typically longer yarn that is better suited for rooms without a lot of activity. It can matte and crush with heavy foot traffic so it is not recommended for stairs, hallways and other busy areas in your home.

Carpet Cushion
Commonly called padding, this is the layer of material that lies between the carpet and floor. It’s carpet cushion, not the carpet itself, that determines how a carpet feels beneath your feet and helps preserve the look while providing it with tougher protection against wear and tear.

Carpet Dyeing (Continuous Dyeing)
Also called Continuous Dyeing, color is applied directly to the carpet face by spraying or printing. This process is also used to create multicolor or patterned effects in the carpet.

Cut Pile
Small loops of yarn are cut, creating what we call a cut pile carpet. The length of these cut pieces of yarn is referred to as the pile height, and is basically the distance between the looper and the primary backing. Selectively cutting, called cut and loop construction, creates a recognizable pattern on the surface of the carpet.

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

Face Weight
Is determined by the actual amount of fiber per square yard, and is measured in ounces. A typical carpet may have a face weight of 35 to 45 ounces for example.

Fiber
Fiber is the basic material that a carpet is made of. Over ninety percent of all of the carpet made today is made up of synthetic fiber. The rest is natural fiber, most commonly wool.

Frieze
This is a cut pile style that has a very high twist level, meaning each strand of yarn is twisted so tightly that they actually curl over at the end. This creates a textured surface with a knobby appearance, and a carpet of high durability and very good wear-ability.

Loop Pile
A small hook called a looper grabs the yarn and holds it in place. This process results in what is called loop pile construction. Loop pile products hold their appearance very well. Since there are no exposed yarn tips, only the sides of the yarn are exposed to wear and stress. Generally speaking, low profile loop carpet stands up to heavy traffic best.

Matte/Crush
The application of weight (like a high traffic area) on an installed carpet produces this visual effect. See Cable.

Nap
(See Pile Height)

Nylon
A synthetic fiber. Almost 75% of carpet today is made of nylon. Nylon is the leader in: appearance retention, fade and heat resistance, soil and stain resistance, and color and styling.

Olefin
See Polypropylene.

Pile
Cut or uncut loops of yarn that create the surface of carpeting.

Pile Height
Also called the nap, pile height is the length of the tuft measured from the primary backing to the yarn tips. It’s usually shown as a fraction, or sometimes its decimal equivalent. Usually shorter pile heights are more durable than longer pile heights.

Plush
See Saxony.

Polyester
A common synthetic material well accepted for its bulkiness, color clarity, and good stain and fade resistance. While not as resilient as nylon, Polyester fiber carpet constructed with today’s new technologies can be a good performer.

Polypropylene
Another common synthetic material used in carpet manufacturing, sometimes referred to as olefin. Today it represents more than thirty-five percent of the total fibers used in the carpet industry. While polypropylene is not as resilient or resistant to abrasion as nylon, it is naturally stain and fade resistant. Polypropylene is most often used in loop pile carpet constructions.

Saxony
Saxony has a smooth, soft, velvet plush look and a luxurious feel with a uniform twist and finish. This style is not a good choice for high traffic areas or rooms with active kids. Also be aware that this style does show footprints and vacuum marks.

Screen Printing
Another common method of carpet coloring, screen printing is where color is applied through anywhere from one to as many as eight silk-screens.

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

Shedding
Shedding is a natural part of a new carpet. Frequent vacuuming for the first few days should remove any loose fibers from the carpet’s surface.

Sprouting
Refers to small tufts or loops of carpet that become visible after the installation. Use a small pair of scissors to carefully trim the loose fibers flush with the surface of the carpet.

Stitch Rate
The measure of how close the yarns are together. Stitch rate is measured in penetrations, or tufts, in a given length of carpet, usually an inch. The stitch rate is controlled by how fast the carpet is moved through the tufting machine. Seven to eight tufts per inch is a good number, while three or four is pretty poor.

Synthetic
Man-made, using chemical compounds versus natural materials. Over ninety percent of all of the carpet is made up of synthetic fiber – usually one of three materials: nylon, polypropylene or polyester. All three are created by similar chemical processes using oil and natural gas.

Textured
A very popular cut pile carpet that has alternating twists of yarn creating a two-tone appearance. This carpet creates a more casual atmosphere in the room and is available in a broad range of prices.

Transition
When two different flooring products meet – say, carpeting and a hardwood floor – it’s called a transition. Professional installers try to match the surface heights of various flooring products to minimize transitions.

Tuft/Tufting
The first step in the manufacturing of carpet. Tufting begins with the process of weaving the synthetic or staple fiber into a primary backing material.

Twist
When selecting carpet, you want a tight twist in each yarn, not loose and frayed at the end.

Wool
The coat of sheep and the original staple fiber used in the making of carpet. Since wool is a natural fiber, it ranges in color from off-white to black, with many earthen tones between. Although wool doesn’t stand up to abrasion and moisture as well as synthetics, it cleans well and is known to age gracefully. Wool is the most expensive carpet fiber, and represents less than one percent of the U.S. carpet market.

Yarn Dyeing
One of two dyeing methods used in the manufacturing of carpet. Yarn dyeing, also called pre-dyeing, is where the color is applied to the yarn prior to tufting. The advantages of all yarn dyeing methods include good side-by-side color consistency, large lot sizes, and uniformity.

Yarn Dyeing-Beck
A second dyeing method used in the manufacturing of carpet involves applying color to the yarn after the carpet has been tufted.