How to Buy Carpet for Your Family Home

Carpet Lingo

Like many other specialized products, carpet has its own language. Following are some common terms you'll see when shopping:

  • Pile -- the vertical yarn fibers that make the carpet's surface
  • Cut pile -- the equal or unequal height that carpet fibers are cut to
  • Loop pile -- carpet fibers that are looped over and attached to the carpet backing. Loops can have equal or unequal heights.
  • Cut and Loop -- carpet that contains both cut and looped fibers. The shadowed effect helps hide dirt.
  • Density -- how tightly fibers are packed in the carpet. Higher density carpets look newer longer than lower density carpets.
  • Pad or cushion -- polyurethane foam laid under carpet to protect it from wear and tear. It also provides comfort and insulation.
  • Tufted -- carpet fibers that looped into a premade woven backing that is coated and covered to keep fibers in place.
  • Twist -- the number of turns in an inch of yarn. Fibers with lots of turns hold up under heavy traffic.