Carpet Terms

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Abraded Yarns
Continuous filament yarns in which filaments have been cut or abraded at intervals and given additional twist to produce a certain degree of hairiness, so as to stimulate the character of yarns spun from staple. Abraded yarns are usually plied or twisted with other yarns before using.

The property of a fiber, yarn or fabric which enables it to attract and hold gasses or liquids within its pores.

A traditional method of manufacturing cut pile carpet. The yarn and backing are woven at the same time to produce highly patterned designs of many colors.



A term that originally referred to the traditional handweaving of North African tribes people who had handspun yarns made from the undyed wool of local sheep. This homespun, natural colored look has been developed on a commercial basis by carpet manufacturers.

Binding Yarn
Synthetic or natural yarn running lengthwise of the woven fabric, used to "bind" the pile tufts firmly; often called crimp warp or binder warp.

A carpet containing a mixture of two or more fibers.

A heavily textured loop pile.

Carpet manufactured in at least 12-foot widths.

A carpet or rug in which a raised pattern or engraved effect is formed using heavy twisted yarns tufts on a ground of straight fibers.

An inspection process following carpet construction to correct loose tufts, etc.; also the process of replacing missing tufts with hand held tools.



Designation for a soft floor covering fabric. The word carpet has been used interchangeably to describe a wall-to-wall installed product or a rug, which is not fastened to the floor. Today, however, it is most often used to describe installed broadloom.

A soft, silk cotton or worsted yarn fabric with a thick pile.

A curliness or crimpiness appearing in the cut face pile as a result of yarn or machine condition. Depending on the style, may be an intentional effect.

A heavily textured loop pile.

Cut Pile
Carpet in which the tops of loops are cut to a uniform length.



Dead Yarn
The pile yarn in a Wilton carpet that remains hidden in the backing structure when not forming a pile tuft.

Unit of weight for the size of a single filament. The higher the denier, the heavier the yarn.

Closeness of pile; amount of pile packed into a given area of carpet, usually measured in ounces per square yard.

Dirty Back
Excess face yarn showing on the back of carpet. The usual causes are poor timing, insufficient tension on the face yarn, excessively bulky face yarns, or insufficient stuffers.

Drop Match
When the design in a carpet is dropped in the next combining width of carpet to maintain the pattern.



In carpet, the type of pattern formed when heavy twisted tufts are used in a ground of straight yarns to create an engraved appearance. Both the straight and twisted yarns are often the same color.



A final process through which fabrics are put; such as shearing, steaming, application of secondary back or cushion, application of soil retardant, anti-static material, stain-resistance, etc.

Frieze/Hard Twist
Also called hard twist, this carpet pile uses highly twisted yarn for a more textured cut pile effect.

Full Roll/ Shipping Roll
A length of carpet; roll goods usually approximately 100 feet long. Shipping roll standards vary and may be as short as 30 feet, depending upon carpet thickness and manufacturers.



The number of ends of surface yarn counting across the width of carpet. In woven carpet, pitch is the number of ends of yarn in 27quote width, e.g. 216 divided by 28 = 8 end per inch. To convert gauge to pitch, multiply ends per inch by 27 e.g. 1/10 gauge is equivalent to 270 pitch, or 10 ends per inch x 27.

Greige Goods
Pronounced "gray goods." Undyed carpet or other textile materials.

Condition where the carpet backing shows between the rows of pile yarns.

Ground Color
The background color against which the top colors create the pattern or figure in the design.



The tactile aesthetic qualities of carpet and textiles. Factors determining how carpet feels to the hand include pile weight, stiffness, lubricants, fiber type and denier, density, backing and latex.

A multicolor effect provided by blending fibers of different colors prior to spinning carpet yarn.



An apparatus for a carpet-weaving loom that produces patterns form colored yarns.

Irregular stripes of two or more hues, shades or values of the same color used to produce a particular effect on the pile yarn of plain or evenly designed fabrics. Various jaspe effects can be produced by varying the twist of the yarn.

Derived from a fibrous plant. It is shredded and spun into yarn. Used as the backing for woven carpets, or woven into a backing fabric for tufted carpets.



Level Loop
Carpet construction with face yarns tufted or woven into loops of same pile height.

Loop Pile
Carpet style having a pile surface consisting of uncut loops. May be woven or tufted. Also called "round wire" in woven carpet terminology.

Brightness or sheen of fibers, yarns, carpet or fabrics.



Matting/Pile Crush
Severe pile crush combined with entanglement of fibers and tufts.

Single strands of different colors of yarn twisted, or plied, together to form one multi-colored yarn. Moresque yarns thus have a "barber pole" appearance.

Multi-Level Loop Pile
Carpets with loops of yarn at different heights creating a sculptured effect.



Carpet or rug pile surface.



The upright ends of yarn, whether cut or looped, that form the wearing surface of carpets or rugs.

Pile Density
Number of tufts both across (needles per inch or gauge for tufted carpet) and lengthwise (stitches per inch) of the carpet.

Pile Height
The height of pile measured from the surface of the back to the top of the pile, not including the thickness of the back.

Pile Reversal/ Pooling
An irreversible, localized change in the orientation of the pile of a carpet.

Pile Weight
The weight of pile yarn per square yard of carpet.

A condition in certain fibers in which strands of the fiber separate and become knotted with other strands, causing a rough, spotty appearance. Pilled tufts should never be pulled from carpet, but may be cut off with sharp scissors at the pile surface.

Plied Yarns
Two or more strands, ends or plies either twisted or otherwise cohesively entwined, intermingled or entangled into a heavier yarn.

A cut pile carpet in which the tuft ends all blend together.

One tuft of pile.

Printed Carpet
Carpet having colored patterns applied by methods analogous to those for printing flat textiles and paper.



The distance from a point in a pattern figure to the same point where it occurs again, measuring lengthwise of the fabric.

The ability of a carpet fabric or padding to spring back to its original shape of thickness after being crushed or walked upon.

The upright part of a step between two stair treads.

Rows of tufts counting lengthwise in one inch of carpet. In axminster carpets, these are called rows; in wilton and velvet, wires.



A cut-pile carpet texture consisting of heat-set plied yarns in a relatively dense, erect configuration, with well defined individual tuft tips. Tip definition is more pronounced than in singles plush.

A multi-level texture pattern.

A pattern of two or more shades of the same color. When two shades are used in a pattern or design, it is called two-tone.

The edge of a carpet so finished that it will not ravel or require binding or hemming.

A method of finishing edges of area rugs cut from roll goods by use of heavy, colored yarn sewn around the edges in a close, overcast stitch.

The apparent change of color in an area of a cut pile carpet caused by light reflecting on pile laying in different directions. It is not a manufacturing defect. Also called pile switch, pile reversal, and watermarking.

A deep-pile texture with long, cut surface yarns. Currently defined as having a pile height greater than 3/4" with density not exceeding 1800.

The process in manufacture in which carpet is drawn under revolving cutting blades, in order to produce a smooth face on the fabric.


The process of losing loose fiber from the pile yarn of a new carpet. It is not harmful to the carpet. Also called fluffing.

Semi-dense cut-pile carpet, about half-way in appearance between shag and plush, whose tufts lie less irregularly than shag, but not as regularly as plush.

Protrusion of individual tuft or yarn ends above pile surface. May be clipped with scissors.

The build up of electric charge when a person walks over a carpet, which is subsequently discharged. It occurs on natural and synthetic fibers, and is dictated by humidity.

Step Return
A term for that part of a staircase tread that extends over the riser. Also known as a bullnose or extended nosing.

The number of lengthwise yarn tufts in one inch of tufted carpet.

A carpet installation term for the amount of elongation of carpet when it is stretched over cushion onto tackless strip. Generally 1 to 2 percent.

A striped effect obtained by loosely twisting two strands of one shade of yarn with one strand of a lighter or darker shade. The single yarn appears like irregular stripes.



Tensile Strength
Breaking strain of yarns or fabrics. High tensile strength means strong yarns or fabrics.

A carpet module usually 18" x 18" or 24" x 24" in size. Extremely dense construction with a heavy reinforced backing.

Tip Shearing
A textured loop pattern produced by shearing the tips of some of the loops in a multi-height loop pile.

A carpet pattern made by using two or more shades of the same hue.

Top colors
Colors of the yarn used to form the design, as distinguished from ground color.

Tufted Carpet
Hundreds of needles thread the yarn through a lightweight backing, forming loops or tufts of the required length. An adhesive coating is then applied to the reverse side, anchoring tufts in position and a second backing is applied for extra strength.



Velvet Weave/Velvet Finish
A simple loom first used to produce carpet with a single-level plush or velvet texture. May be used for cut or looped pile, or modified for other texture variations.



Carpet manufactured in at least 12-foot widths.

In woven carpet, yarns running lengthwise.

In woven carpet, yarns running crosswise between warp yarns.

A woven carpet. Textures can be in a cut pile, loop pile and a combination of cut and loop pile. A carved appearance can also be achieved. Normally Wilton carpets come in one to three colors, but can include up to five colors.

Component of a carpet-weaving loom on which the pile tufts are formed. Round wires produce loop pile carpet, and flat wires with sharp blades produce cut pile (plush) textures.

Wools of New Zealand
Manages the Wools of New Zealand brand programs and stimulates international demand for branded New Zealand Wool.

Wools of New Zealand Brand
The black and white, stylized fern symbol representing branded Wools of New Zealand products. It is found on premium carpet products which use a majority of branded New Zealand Wool and which meet strict international performance standards.

Smooth, firmly twisted yarn made from long strands of wool.

Woven Carpet
Carpet produced on a loom through a weaving process by which the lengthwise (warp) yarns and widthwise (weft or filling) yarns are interlaced to form the fabric.