Choosing Carpet By Fibre

Different fibres and weaves offer different textures and wear. It is important to choose which carpet fibre type will suit the area that your carpet will be used. The following is a breif guide to popular types of carpet fibre and carpet weave.

Twist Pile:

Twist Pile is one of the most popular and hardwearing types of weave. It comes in wool or man- made fibres. The names describes the manufacturing process where the yarn has been given an extra twist to make it tighter. This results in a rougher surface texture which is less prone to showing footmarks ? making it one of the most durable carpets available. A mix of 80% wool and 20% other fibres are the best combination for long lasting good looks and the ability to be cleaned effectively. 50% mix or 100% man-made fibres are fine too as it is the twisted fibres that give it such durability.

Suitable Locations

All domestic areas including Hall, Stairs and Landings (the area that gets the most wear). Some heavier weights are suitable for commercial and office locations.


Sometimes called a Velour, this is a close, dense construction with a short pile and smooth top. It comes mainly in tufted and Wilton (woven) constructions and in wool or synthetic fibres. The 80% and 100% wool variations give a pristine and classic look. Man-made fibre versions are not always so hard wearing. Be aware though that the velvet construction has a definite direction and can be subject to pile reversal or tracking in heavy traffic areas (which gives a patchy effect). This is not considered a fault by the carpet manufacturers (and is a controversial subject in the industry). Therefore, consideration needs to be given to heavy traffic areas and velvet would not be suitable for such locations.

Suitable Locations

All domestic areas including Hall, Stairs and Landings with consideration for pile reversal. Some heavier weights are suitable for commercial and office locations.


Saxony has a shorter pile length than shag pile. The tufts tend to be closer together. Saxony styles are available in several different fibres - usually man-made. Saxony offers a luxurious look really only suitable for bedrooms or with an impervious backing - bathroom carpet.

Suitable Locations

Bedrooms, Bathrooms (with impervious backing), Sitting Rooms.

Loop Pile, Berber Or Naturals:

Photo: Loop pile.

Short looped pile is densely constructed and often woven in to designs such as herring bone or ribs ? giving a natural effect (similar in look to the popular Seagrass). 100% wool or 100% man-made is better than a mixture of fibres as this construction can be subject to piling or breakage ? giving a hairy appearance. All wool or all man-made fibres will release these broken fibres whereas mixed fibres will adhere together resulting in the hairy effect.

All man made construction with very small loops, including all nylon can be extremely hardwearing and is often used in offices or made into carpet tiles.

Suitable Locations

All domestic areas including Hall, Stairs and Landings (the area that gets the most wear). Some heavier weights are suitable for commercial and office locations.

Shag Pile:

Photo: Shag pile.

Shag Pile is a long loose pile, extremely heavy in weight. Made in both wool and man-made fibres, they are not particularly hard-wearing and are really just for luxurious, decorative effect.

Suitable Locations

Bedrooms, Bathrooms (with impervious backing), Sitting Rooms and area rugs.

Axminster And Wilton:

A traditional woven carpet. Axminsters tend to always to be patterned and made from 80%, extremely hardwearing and used in Pubs and Hotels as they are also easy to clean. Contemporary designs are now available (see and are no longer the old-fashioned carpet that we think of. Wiltons tend to be plain and 100% wool, similar in look to Velvets but superior in terms of durability and depth of colour. The Belgian manufacturers now produce many patterned Wiltons in man-made fibres which contradict the above ? good value for money.

Suitable Locations

All areas, extremely hard-wearing and long-lasting. Also suitable for all commercial locations such as Pubs, Restaurants and Hotels.

Seagrass And Coir:

Photo: Sawgrass mix.

Possibly cannot be described as carpet ? more of a natural floorcovering.

The popular misconception with this type of flooring is that it is cheap! The product itself is, but the installation is incredibly time consuming. The flooring has to be stuck to special underlay that also has to be stuck to the subfloor. These adhesives can make the flooring shrink, and sometimes cannot be cut in until 24 hours have passed to allow for this. So definitely not a quick or cheap option! The manufacturing advice on cleaning of these is ?seek professional advice? the professional advice is that it cannot be cleaned. If this doesn?t put you off and is taken into account the results can be amazing.

Suitable Locations

All domestic areas but can be slippery on Hall, Stairs and Landings.

Back to Carpet Buying Guide.


Photo: Tony Holt Carpets.

Contact details

Telephone: 01992 470022
Fax: 01992 470071

Showroom open:
9am–5pm (Monday–Friday), 10am–3pm
(Saturday, except Bank Holiday Weekends)

Tony Holt Carpet Contracts Ltd
Units 2/3 Knight Properties
Brewery Road
Hertfordshire EN11 8HF

Giovanna Maria Casetta 'A Descent into Glamour' 2005 Photograph Kerry Brown Courtesy of Commissions East