Most Popular Carpet Styles

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The three primary carpet construction types are loop pile, cut pile, and cut and loop pile. The largest market share is held by cut-pile carpeting, of which there are four popular styles--Saxony, plush, textured and frieze. Cut-and-loop styles were popular in the 1970s and 1980s, but have since fallen out of favor while some loop-pile carpets, like Berber, have become increasingly popular since the 1990s.

Saxony

  • Saxony carpet is made when two or more carpet yarns are twisted together and set with heat to create small tufts. Each of these tufts is individually distinguishable on the carpet surface. While the result is a thick, formal looking floor covering, the carpet does tend to show footprints and vacuum cleaner marks easily. Saxony is not often used in high-traffic areas of the home and is best suited to dining rooms, master bedrooms or formal living rooms. Another characteristic of Saxony is that it can appear to change hues when tufts are brushed in opposite directions, thus reflecting light differently.

Plush

  • Plush carpet is often referred to as velvet because the type of yarn fiber used tends to produce a velour-like appearance. Like Saxony, plush carpets are more formal and they do tend to show footprints. Plushes are prone to pile reversal and to a characteristic called watermarking, where irregularly shaped dark spots can give the impression of a water stain. The cause is unknown, but may be related to the localized use of the carpet.

Textured

  • Sometimes called "trackless," "footprint-free" or "stuffer-box," textured carpet provides a more casual look than Saxony or plush. Textured carpets are made by running the yarn through a steam container known as a stuffer-box. This process produces a kinked or curled product with a set yarn memory. The carpet can have a two-tone appearance because of twists in yarn direction, and this look makes it a popular choice for homes. Although all carpets show some degree of foot traffic, textured shows far less than Saxony or plush.

Frieze

  • Pronounced "free-zay," this popular carpet choice is very good for disguising footprints. The yarn is tightly twisted, which causes the tuft to turn back on itself and produce a kinked look. Frieze carpet is more expensive as a result of the higher cost of the manufacturing process, but the carpet is very durable, wears well and has a knobby appearance. Frieze is selected for the home's high-traffic areas.

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