Top 10 Best Carpet Styles Explained – Carpet Professor

Best Carpet StylesCarpet Professor’s
Top 10 Best Carpet Styles
2021

1. PLUSH

Plush Style Carpet

The Plush style of carpet is usually one solid color and has a smooth, even pile height. During manufacturing, the tufts are sheared to make the pile perfectly level which can make foot prints and vacuum marks easy to see. Plush is still the most popular carpet style used in residential homes and apartments today.

You can find practically any color imaginable with this style. When made of nylon this Plush styles resist stains and clean easily. A quality Plush style carpet can last a lifetime if properly maintained.

Learn more About Carpet Fibers

2. TEXTURED PLUSH

Textured Plush Style Carpet

The textured plush carpet style has varying tuft height, thus reducing footprint and vacuum marks. It comes in many colors and is about the same cost as an even pile height plush style.

Learn about Carpet Specifications

3. High / Low (Sculptured)

Sculptured Hi-lo Carpet Style

The sculptured carpet style has cut and looped tufts creating a sculptured  manicured appearance. Generally this style has a higher cut-pile yard and a lower looped pile to enhance the sculptured design. It’s a very elegant look.

This style is usually made using two or more colors which helps it hide dirt. Is also shows less vacuum marks and footprints. The color usually varies in shade from light to dark and is very rich in appearance.

4. SHAG and FRIEZE (my favorite)

Frieze Carpet Style

The Frieze style of carpet has very tightly twisted tufts and wears very well. The tufts are not straight up like a plush style, rather they are crooked, or wiggly in appearance.

I think Frieze makes any room look fantastic. It is often used in heavy traffic areas and provides reduced footprint and vacuum marks. Typically more expensive than plush styles, if made of nylon, Frieze would be a durable and elegant selection for any home with moderate to heavy foot traffic.

“Some people pronounce this style Freeze, but I was taught it was pronounced Friz-zay. However you pronounce it, Frieze is a wonderful style of carpet and a great choice for any home.”

 

Shag carpet styles have long wiggly tufts and a taller pile height than a Frieze, making this a fun and still popular carpet style since it’s debut in the late 60’s. It feels great to wiggle your toes deep into the soft shaggy carpet pile. Lots of wild and crazy colors to choose from makes this the perfect carpet style for your bedrooms!

Shag carpet styles

Take my Free Carpet Foot-Traffic Test to see what grade of carpet you need to buy.

5. SAXONY

Saxony Style Carpet

Saxony is a cut-pile carpet style with a dense erect tuft configuration, it has well-defined individual tuft tips. This means it is easy to see each tuft tip on the surface of the carpet, giving it a rougher and bolder appearance.

Similar to a textured plush style.

6. Cut and Loop

Cut and Loop carpet styles use a combination of cut and looped tufts to create a multitude of elegant and practical patterns and textures.

Cut and Loop Pattern Style Carpet

This second  picture shows 9 different patterns to give you a small idea about how many different patterns and styles are available. A very elegant and durable carpet style.

Cut and Loop Carpet Styles

7. BERBER (Looped)

Berber Looped Carpet Style

The Berber style has become quite popular in recent years because of its elegant appearance. The tufts are looped and aligned in rows for a clean uniform look.

When choosing this carpet be sure to select one with smaller loops to get the best wear, like the one shown above. Large looped Berbers tend to collapse quickly and look worn-out sooner.

The Berber shown is a low quality carpet made of Olefin (polypropylene). You can tell this because the loops are large and look like they are leaning over.

Low quality Berbers are made of Olefin and typically have larger loops.

Higher quality looped Berbers are made of Nylon, have smaller loops and are much more durable.

I don’t recommend Looped Berber styles in apartments or homes with small children or pets because the loops can snag and run easily and is difficult and expensive to repair. 

Damaged Looped Berber Carpet Style
Looped Berber styles can easily snag and run causing damage.

Learn more about How to Choose Berber Carpet Wisely

8. CUT-PILE  “California Berber”

California Berber / Cut pile Carpet Style

This style of Berber is not a looped Berber like most of you have seen, in fact it is more like a Frieze. It does not have any loops because the loops have been cut which is why they call it a “Cut” Berber. It usually has a multicolored appearance or a speckled egg look.

Buying a Cut Berber made of Nylon is the best way to go if you want your carpet to last long time. Usually the main color is off white with earth tones. Some have flecks of colors like deep blues, bright reds and vibrant greens. A Cut-Pile style is an excellent choice for most homes and it hides footprints and vacuum marks well.

Learn more about Carpet Fibers

COMMERCIAL STYLES

9. Commercial Level Loop

Commercial glue-down carpet
Click to enlarge picture

Commercial carpets are generally used in offices and commercial applications where there is very heavy traffic.

There are two types I want to mention. Commercial Level loop has small loops and Commercial Cut Pile is a short napped plush type of carpet.

Both styles are usually made from Polypropylene also known as Olefin. Nylon is usually a more costly option.

Commercial carpets are designed to tolerate heavy traffic. Even when made from Olefin, looped styles tend to wear like iron. Why? because the loops are very small and tightly packed together. The low pile height and high density is what makes commercial grade carpet last such a long time and tolerate heavy foot-traffic.

On the other side of the coin, larger looped Berbers that are not very dense tend to mat down in a hurry and look worn-out much faster than those styles with smaller loops and higher pile density.

10. Commercial Cut-Pile

Carpet Styles and Patterns
Click to enlarge picture

Here’s a picture of commercial grade “cut-pile” carpet.

Notice how the border carpet (in brown) is smooth compared to the level-loop styles shown next to it. You can also choose a “Cut & Loop Style” to get the best features of both styles.

Commercial grade carpets can be installed over padding or glued directly to the floor without a pad. Gluing in down without a pad will yield the best results if you are looking for a carpet that will last a long time and take a beating.

Carpet Professor’s Preferred Carpet Dealers

It’s getting harder everyday to find an honest and reputable carpet dealer! That’s why I have been putting together my own special hand-picked list. My recommended Carpet Stores are locally owned, give free estimates, offer fair prices, have knowledgeable staff, provide honest measuring and hire qualified installers. See who I recommend near you!

AbcCarpetPro.com Carpet Professor

Is Berber a Good Choice for Children and Pets?

Learn the good and the bad about Berber Carpet styles.

Is a Looped Berber a good choice for children and Pets?

How to select the right carpet style and grade for your home and avoid common consumer carpet buying mistakes.

Berber Carpet

Q. How well does Berber withstand high traffic areas? Is it easy to keep clean and what kind of padding is best? I am going crazy trying to decide if I want a plush or Berber. I have a newborn and know I will soon have lots of messes to clean up!

 

Alan’s Response:

Don’t spend a lot on new carpet if you have small children! Children are very hard on carpets, they spill everything imaginable and parents are often too busy or too tired to clean up messes quickly enough to keep up with the demand.

Looped Berbers made from the Olefin Fiber are hard to keep clean, they snag easily and are not recommended for folks with active children or pets. 

Berber snag

For folks without active children or pets: Berber may be a good choice.   Fact: Inexpensive looped Berber carpets made with Olefin tend to snag easily and mat down more quickly.

Most Berber styles are made with loops. Some Berbers are called “cut and loop” having both loops and cut loops, Some Berbers have patterns and some do not, and still other Berber styles have no loops at all.

Carpet Fibers…

Berber style carpets are often made from Nylon or Olefin, and of the two, Nylon would be the better a more durable choice. Nylon Berbers costs more but lasts much longer, and cleans much easier than Berbers made from Olefin.

Berber Carpet Complaints

Why do Olefin Berber carpets attract dirt and are so hard to keep clean? 

While Berber styles are elegant and beautiful when new, there is a common complaint from homeowners with Berber carpets made with the Olefin fiber. Consumers often report that within a week or two after a professional cleaning, previous spots and stains tend to reappear as if they were never cleaned at all. This is because the Olefin fiber is inherently oily and often makes Olefin hard to clean and prone to attracting dirt like a magnet. Old stains tend to reappear again and again regardless of how many times you have the spots cleaned. 

Why do Olefin fibers attract dirt?

Here’s why… During the manufacturing process the Olefin fiber is naturally oily. Fiber makers use a special process to clean the Olefin fibers to try to remove these oils, but often cut corners in order to reduce costs. Some manufacturers put their Olefin fibers through a “three-phase” cleaning process to try to remove most of the oils. 

Berber Stain

To make a better product, the fiber maker will use a “five-phase” cleaning process which removes much more of these oils from the fiber. This makes a significantly less-oily fiber that cleans much easier and doesn’t attract dirt nearly as much. 

Using the five-phase process to removing excess oils from Olefin is a more time consuming and costly procedure, manufacturers must charge more for these premium fibers and therefore you will pay more for a carpet made from these premium olefin fibers. Unfortunately consumers have no way of knowing which Olefin fibers have been cleaned with the “five-phase” process and those that have only had the three-phase cleaning. 

Rule of thumb: I think it would be reasonable to assume that most Berbers priced under $13.50 per yard ($1.50 sf) would be made using the “three-phase” process. You might have to spend $18 per yard or more to get the better grade of olefin fiber. 

Most carpet salespeople have no knowledge about this manufacturing process and asking them questions about it might be futile. However, perhaps you could ask them to call the carpet manufacturer and see if they can tell you which cleaning process was used in the Berber carpet you are considering. Good luck with that. 

Fact: It’s the fiber type and the size of the loops that matters most.

Inexpensive Berbers snag easily. Often priced at less than $10 per yard, don’t fall for those cheap Berber prices and assume that this low-quality carpet will last more than a few years for you. If you have active kids or pets you need to buy something more durable. 

Large Loops vs Small Loops

Berber styles that have Large loops tend to collapse and fall over more quickly. That makes the carpet appear worn out and ugly, often within a year or two in main traffic areas. 

Smaller looped Berbers tend to resist matting and crushing better and retain its like-new appearance longer. Berbers made of Nylon are more durable and resist matting and crushing of the pile longer than any other synthetic fiber. 

If a Berber carpet is priced under $15 per yard, then it is likely made of Olefin and designed to last a few years at best. You’ll be plagued with lots of snags, pulls, runs and stains that are hard to remove. This is why Berber is a bad choice for folks with active kids or pets. 

A good quality Nylon Berber would clean easier, wear better, and retain its new appearance much longer than would an Olefin Berber. If made with smaller loops, that would make it even more durable.

If you decide buy a Berber carpet and want it to last, be sure to select one with smaller loops, as the bigger loops tend fall over quickly and look worn out sooner. As far as pad goes, an 8-pound minimum density, and a 1/4″ to 3/8″ thickness is required for virtually all Berber styles.

Another option you might want to consider would be selecting a Berber without loops, this is called a “cut-Berber” or a “California Berber” style.

Cut Berber 2

 

Some Berbers are made from wool, which is an excellent natural fiber, but are very costly..

 

What Grade of Carpet

Should You Select?

Take my free Carpet Foot Traffic Test to find out!

Frieze and Berber Carpet Styles

Most homeowners quickly discover that selecting new carpet is difficult, time consuming and confusing. this website was created to help homeowners sort through all the nonsense and confusion.

If you don’t do your carpet homework, it is easy to make costly mistakes and end up unhappy with the performance of your new carpet.

Making wise choices requires that you do your carpet homework before you begin shopping for new carpet.

What Is Berber Carpet?

Berber carpet has been around for a long time and was originally handmade by the Berber tribe of North Africa.

In fact, Berber carpet is still hand-made today in some parts of Africa but it does not resemble the Berber Carpet styles you will find at your local carpet retailer.

Berber carpets became popular in America in the early 1980’s and has grown in popularity ever since! Homeowners today have many choices and options with Berber styles, colors and quality levels.

Here are some important facts and useful Berber carpet information to help you choose the right style of Berber Carpet for your home.

Berber Carpet Styles

    1. Simple Loop Berber
    2. Multi-color Loop Berber
    3. Patterned Loop Berber
    4. Cut and Loop Berber
    5. Patterned Loop Berber
    6. Patterned cut and Loop Berber
    7. Cut Pile Berber (no loops) (aka California Berber)

 

Berber Loop Size Matters!

Like I said before, Berbers made with larger loops tend to mat down more quickly, so choosing a Berber with made with smaller loops may be a better choice and will resist matting better especially in heavy traffic applications.

Commercial quality Looped Berber styles usually have the smallest loops and carpets made from Olefin (polypropylene) and is a common choice for those who want a higher level of durability and less potential for matting or crushing of the pile over time.

In most commercial settings, carpet is mainly glued down to the floor without using any padding. This creates the most durable and longest lasting configuration. This is what you see in banks, airports, office buildings and other heavy traffic applications.

In a residential application, you can use a thin 1/4″ to 3/8″ padding to make the carpet softer to walk on, but the density rating must be at least 8 pounds.

Using a thicker pad, more than 3/8″is not recommended because it will significantly reduce the lifespan of the carpet and increase the potential for the carpet to develop waves and wrinkles.

Here is a Simple Looped Berber Carpet

Looped Berber Style

These are large loops. Smaller loops make the carpet more durable and less prone to matting and crushing of the pile.

Looped Berber Carpet Styles

Loops can be easily snagged and pulled. If you have active kids or pets then a Looped Berber Style may not be a good choice for you.

Repairing snagged loops can be very costly. Some snags can run (like a pair of nylon stockings) causing major damage to your carpet that may not be repairable.

Active kids and pets are often the cause of snags to Looped Berber Styles.

 

Berber Loops tend to quickly bend over or “crush” in moderate to heavy-traffic applications. This is especially true with Berber carpets made of Olefin.

The larger the loops are, the more prone they are to matting and crushing. Basically the loops just fall over and never stand upright again, no matter what you do.

Choosing a Berber with smaller loops will decrease the chances for matting and crushing.

Choosing a Berber carpet made from a Nylon fiber will reduce the chances of matting and crushing of the pile significantly.

Cost to Install Berber Carpet

Berber carpet is much more difficult to install than regular carpet styles. Berber is a heavy carpet and is much more difficult to handle, seam and cut.

Most installers charge at least $1-2 extra per square yard for installing Berber carpet and also charge a higher price for installing Berber on stairs. Learn more about Carpet Installation Cost

 

What is the Best Padding for Berber Carpet?

All Berber carpet styles require a high density padding and a lower thickness than other non-Berber carpet styles. In most cases, a minimum of 8-pound density and a thickness of no more than 3/8” is required.

Check with the carpet manufacturer to make sure you select the correct padding specifications.  Using the wrong padding can void your carpet warranty and may cause your carpet to wear out prematurely.

Learn More about Berber Carpet Styles

Frieze Carpet Styles

This style of carpet has very tightly twisted tufts, usually rated at 6 twists or more, which is why it is well known as a more durable carpet style.

The tufts are not straight like a plush style, rather they are crooked, or wiggly in appearance.

Frieze styles when made from Nylon,  are often used in moderate to heavy traffic applications because its higher tuft twist rating make it more durable than most plush carpet styles.

Many homeowners like a Frieze because it provides reduced footprint and vacuum marks.

You’ll likely have to pay more for a Nylon Frieze as they are generally more expensive than plush styles.

Frieze Pricing (Made of Nylon Fiber)

Prices for a basic Frieze style start at about $3.34 per square foot ($30 per square yard) and go up from there.

The cost for a quality padding and proper installation will be extra. You should be able to get a package deal for carpet, pad and installation for about $5.00 per square foot.

All Frieze styles have a unique and elegant appearance and would be a great choice for any home.

Learn more about Carpet Styles

 

Here is an example of a Frieze style Carpet.

Carpet Tuft-Twist Ratings

Based on the number of twists per lineal inch of tuft.

Tuft Twist of 7This Tuft has 7 twists and is a sign of a well-made carpet. Frieze styles have tufts similar to this and cost about $30 per square yard on average, or $3.33 per square foot. Pad and install not included.

Tuft Twist -4This Tuft has 4 twists and is not nearly as durable. This is a sign of a lower-grade carpet.

Inexpensive Plush and Textured Plush styles often have tufts similar to this and range from $10 to $20 per square yard or $1.11 to $2.22 per square foot. Pad and install not included. More expensive styles have higher Tuft-Twist ratings.

Tuft BloomCarpets with a lower Tuft Twist Rating (of 3 to 5), tend to untwist or “blossom” at the tuft tips more quickly, thus creating a worn out, frizzy looking or matted down appearance.

Carpet rarely wears out from the loss of fiber, they just start to mat down; gradually lose the luster and shine; and just start to look ugly.

Once the tufts have blossomed or become matted down, the damage cannot be reversed or repaired.

Learn more about Carpet Specifications

Take my Free Carpet Foot-Traffic Test to see what grade of carpet your home needs.

Is Berber Carpet a Good Choice? Carpet Professor

Learn the good and the bad about Berber Carpet styles.

Is Berber Carpet a Good Choice?

How to select the right carpet style and grade for your home and avoid common consumer carpet buying mistakes. Is Berber Carpet a Good Choice?

Berber Style Carpet with Large Loops

Is Berber Carpet a Good Choice?
Is Berber Carpet with Loops a Good Choice?

 

Q. How well does Berber withstand high traffic areas? Is it easy to keep clean and what kind of padding is best? I am going crazy trying to decide if I want a plush or Berber. I have a newborn and know I will soon have lots of messes to clean up!

Alan’s Response:

My advice? Don’t spend a lot on new carpet if you have small children!

Children are very hard on carpets, they spill everything imaginable. Parents are often too busy or too tired to clean up messes quickly enough to keep up with the demand.

Looped Berbers made from the Olefin Fiber are hard to keep clean and they snag easily. Looped Berber styles are not recommended for families with active children or pets.

For folks without active children or pets: Berber may be a good choice.

Fact: Inexpensive looped Berber carpets tend to snag easily and mat down more quickly.

Berber Carpet Snags
Berber Carpet Snags and Pulls are common.

Most Berber styles are made with loops. Some Berbers are called “cut and loop” having both loops and cut loops.

Some Berbers have patterns and some do not, and still other Berber styles have no loops at all.

Berber Carpet Fibers…

Berber style carpets are often made from Nylon or Olefin, and of the two, Nylon would be the better and more durable choice.

Nylon Berbers cost more but can last years longer, and nylon Berber styles clean much easier than Berbers made from Olefin.

Berber Carpet Complaints

Why do Olefin Berber carpets attract dirt and are so hard to keep clean? 

All Berber styles are elegant and beautiful when new. However, there is a common complaint from homeowners with Berber carpets made from the Olefin fiber.

Consumers often report that within a week or two after a professional cleaning. Previous spots and stains tend to reappear as if they were never cleaned at all.

Is Berber a good choice? Berber Stains
Is Berber a good choice? Berber Stains

This is because the Olefin fiber is inherently oily and often makes Olefin hard to clean and prone to attracting dirt like a magnet.

Old stains tend to reappear again and again regardless of how many times you have the spots cleaned.

Why do Olefin fibers attract dirt?

Here’s why… During the manufacturing process the Olefin fiber is naturally oily.

Fiber makers use a special process to clean the Olefin fibers to try to remove these oils, but often cut corners in order to reduce costs.

Some manufacturers put their Olefin fibers through a “three-phase” cleaning process to try to remove most of the oils. 

To make a better product, the fiber maker will use a “five-phase” cleaning process which removes much more of these oils from the fiber.

This makes a significantly less-oily fiber that cleans much easier and doesn’t attract dirt nearly as much.

Using the five-phase process to removing excess oils from Olefin is a more time consuming and costly procedure, so manufacturers charge more for these premium fibers.

Unfortunately consumers have no way of knowing which Olefin fibers have been cleaned with the “five-phase” process and those that have only had the three-phase cleaning.

Rule of thumb: I think it would be reasonable to assume that most Berbers priced under $15.00 per yard would be made using the “three-phase” process.

You might have to spend $20 per yard or more to get the better grade of olefin fiber.

Most carpet salespeople have no knowledge about this manufacturing process and asking them questions about it might be futile.

Fact: It’s the fiber type and the size of the loops that matters most.

Inexpensive Olefin Berbers snag easily and are priced at less than $15 per yard.  Don’t assume that this low-quality carpet will last more than a few years for you.

If you have active kids or pets, I think you should buy something more durable.

Large Loops vs Small Loops

Berber styles that have Large loops tend to collapse and fall over more quickly.

This makes the carpet appear worn out and ugly, often within a year or two.  This is common in main traffic lanes, on stairs and down hallways.

Smaller looped Berbers tend to resist matting and crushing better and retain its like-new appearance longer.

Berbers made of Nylon are much more durable and will resist matting and crushing of the pile longer than any other synthetic fiber.

If a Berber carpet is priced under $15 per yard, then it is likely made of Olefin and designed to last a few years at best.

You’ll be plagued with lots of snags, pulls, runs and stains that are hard to remove. This is why Berber is a bad choice for folks with active kids or pets.

A good quality Nylon Berber would clean easier, wear better, and retain its new appearance much longer than would an Olefin Berber.

If made with smaller loops, would it be more durable?

Yes! If you decide buy a Berber carpet and want it to last, be sure to select one with smaller loops, as the bigger loops tend fall over quickly and look worn out sooner.

Berber Carpet Padding

As far as pad goes, an 8-pound minimum density, and a 1/4″ to 3/8″ thickness is required for virtually all Berber styles.

Another option you might want to consider would be selecting a Berber made without loops, these are called a “cut-Berber” or a “California Berber” style.

Here is a Cut Berber or California Berber Style.

Some Berbers are made from wool, which is a natural fiber and very durable, but are very costly, usually over $80 per square yard.

What grade of carpet should you choose for your home? Take my free Carpet Foot-Traffic Test to find out!