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Carpet Pile Types Explained

Posted September 19, 2023

When selecting carpet for your home, it sure can be hard to choose! With so many options in colour, style, fibre and pile type – where does one begin? We previously explored fibre type and now we’re going to delve into pile type – what’s the difference between them all?

When it comes to carpet, there is quite the variety of pile types! However, in most residential settings, cut pile or loop pile carpets are usually installed, there are a number of variations within these two pile types too. With that in mind, we’ll stick to these two pile types in this blog.

Cut Pile

Cut pile carpet is the most commonly found carpet in homes throughout New Zealand. Chosen for its comfort and aesthetics, cut pile carpet is created by the fibre loops firstly being tufted into the backing and then sheared off to expose the ends of the carpet fibre. Cut pile-hard twist is a popular choice. The pile is highly twisted which results in a luxurious feel underfoot that is still hardwearing and offers excellent appearance retention, making it an excellent choice for high traffic areas. Most cut pile twist carpets have a medium pile height (this is how low or high the pile is cut). Typically, this is the type of carpet installed in residential settings as it offers style, comfort and durability at a range of price points from entry level right through to mid and high end.


Domain by Belgotex is a cut pile solution dyed nylon carpet offering excellent performance and comfort as well as contemporary style.


Shorter and longer cut piles are also an option with each offering their own unique appearance and performance. Plush pile is a variation of cut pile, also known as velvet or velour carpet; has a low pile height and creates a very formal look. Although very durable, this type of carpet is prone to show tracking and footprints so isn’t ideal for high traffic areas. It is more often used in guest bedrooms, formal lounges or dining areas to create a sense of luxury and elegance. Frieze pile carpet has a deeper pile creating a more relaxed and informal look, reminiscent of the shag pile rugs of the 1970’s. Because of its longer pile it tends not to show tracking or footprints however it can be more expensive and harder to clean. Frieze pile carpet can be used as a feature in media rooms to create a cosy and relaxed environment.


Velluto (images 1 & 2 above) by Bremworth is a plush pile wool carpet that can be used in guest bedrooms, formal dining rooms and lounges to create a sense of luxury.  Amore (images 3 & 4 above) by Belgotex is a frieze pile solution dyed nylon carpet that offers a relaxed and informal aesthetic and feel.


Loop Pile

Loop pile carpet has had somewhat of a revival in recent years with interior design trends seeing a desire for layers and texture.  Loop pile carpet is essentially cut pile carpet that hasn’t been cut – the fibres are tufted through the backing but instead of being sheared off are left as they are. This makes a series of loops; these can be low and tight to create a level loop pile carpet, or a mixture of two different loop heights to create a multi-level loop pile carpet. Loop pile carpets offer many benefits but like anything there are some trade-offs. They are extremely durable and offer excellent appearance retention due to the fact that it is the side of the fibre being walked on, instead of the top of it, squashing it down as with cut pile carpet. Loop pile carpets are also far less likely to show tracking or footprints. As mentioned earlier, these carpets have come back into style recently as many homeowners want to incorporate texture and depth into their homes and spaces and loop pile offers a timeless aesthetic.  Additionally, loop pile carpets allow for a greater array of designs with variations in loop height and different combinations of these available. The first trade off with loop pile carpet is that it isn’t usually as soft and comfortable when compared to cut pile carpet. The other is that typically the highly textured – high quality loop pile carpets can be more expensive. These will often sit in the mid to high end area of the market rather than entry level.


Langhorne Hut by Jacobsen is a multi level loop pile carpet that offers excellent durability and appearance retention.


So, which is better – cut pile or loop pile carpet?

This depends entirely on what you need and want in a carpet as well as your expectations. If softness and comfort are paramount and most important to you, you’re probably best to begin with looking at cut pile carpets. If you’re after a carpet that is extremely hardwearing and offers excellent appearance retention, than a loop pile could be your best bet. Your lifestyle as well as practicality and personal style are all things that need to be considered when choosing carpet for your home. If you’re unsure or have questions, our team of flooring experts are here to help – pop in and see us, or get in touch – we’d love to chat all things flooring with you!

147 Blenheim Road, Christchurch

0800 4 CARPET

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