Berber Carpet Styles and Types
©2021 by Alan Fletcher - 30-Year Carpet Expert and Consumer Advocate
How to choose Berber carpet for your home?
What Is Berber Carpet?
Berber carpet has been around for a long time and was originally hand-made 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
Should I Choose a Looped Berber Style or a Non-Looped Berber Style Carpet?
Some Berber style carpets just have random loops like the Looped Berber one shown here. If it has a pattern it would be called a Patterned Loop. Berber carpets are much more difficult to install than are plush style carpets and there is usually an added charge for installing Berber styles. Berber carpets are thicker, heavier and much harder to cut and seam together. Don't be surprised when the installation cost is one to three dollars more per square yard than for other non-Berber styles. There may also be an added fee for installing Berber carpet on stairs too.
Some Berber carpets are made with random loops and cut-loops and are known as a "Cut and Loop Berber". Berber styles usually require a more dense padding. In most cases, the minimum padding density is 8-pounds and the maximum padding thickness is 1/4" to 3/8". This is what the carpet manufacturer requires to keep your warranty in force. Always read your new carpet warranty before you buy to make sure you purchase the correct padding. Call the manufacturer directly if you are unsure.
If the style has a repeating pattern then it is called a “Patterned Cut and Loop”. These are typically more costly but are quite beautiful and have an elegant appearance. If you choose a Berber carpet that has a pattern, and your rooms are wider than 12 feet, then you may need to make sure you order enough extra carpet to allow for seaming and aligning the pattern match properly.
Another popular style is called a “Cut Berber” and has no loops at all. (Hence the word “cut”) This style is also known as a California Berber. These look very similar to a Frieze style. California Berbers often have a speckled-egg look with light earth tones infused with flecks of colors like red, orange, blues and greens though-out. Very Beautiful and there is no pattern with this style.
Looped Berber Carpet Styles
Loops can be easily snagged. 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.
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.
How Much Does Berber Carpet Cost?
Nylon Berber Styles range from $30 to $60 per square yard, depending on the type of Nylon and the carpet style. Berbers made with Olefin range from $10 to $25 per square yard. Berbers made from Wool can easily cost $100 per square yard and go up from there. Learn more about Carpet Cost and Prices
Should I Select Wool, Nylon or Olefin Carpet Fiber?
When it comes to selecting the right Carpet Fiber for you there are two main things you must consider: Cost and Longevity.
Wool is a natural fiber derived from sheep. Wool is the most expensive fiber to buy and while it is very soft, fire-resistant and durable, it is also the most costly to maintain. Wool carpet must be cleaned by a professional carpet cleaner who has been specially trained to clean wool carpet. The cost is significantly higher than for the cleaning of all other types of residential carpet. Carpet made of wool can last a lifetime if cared for properly. Berber carpet made of Wool can easily cost $100 per square yard and go way up from there.
Nylon is a very durable fiber and is less costly than wool. Nylon cleans easily and resists stains very well. Nylon is the most resilient fiber which gives it the ability to retain its like-new appearance longer than any other synthetic fiber. Depending on your amount of foot traffic in your home, a good quality Nylon carpet can last up to 20 years or more if well cared for. Berber made of Nylon range from $30 to $60 per square yard, depending on the type of Nylon and the carpet style. (The popular “Soft” Nylons are a bit more costly.) Learn more about Nylon fibers
Olefin (also called Polypropylene) is the least costly fiber to consider. Olefin is inexpensive to manufacture and is a very strong fiber. However, Olefin is prone to matting and crushing because it is not very resilient. Berber styles with large loops often mat down quickly so it is best to choose a Berber style with small loops to get the best durability possible.
During the manufacturing process the Olefin fiber becomes oily and while they try to remove as much of the oil through a multiple rinsing process, it is difficult to remove it completely. The residual oil left on the fiber strand tends to attract dirt and makes the carpet difficult to keep clean. Homeowners often complain saying old stains tend to magically reappear a few days after a professional steam cleaning.
Berbers made with Olefin are very reasonably priced but generally only last up to 10 years if well cared for and in low to medium foot-traffic applications. Berbers made of Olefin range from $10 to $25 per square yard, not including pad and installation.
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 than Berbers with larger loops. Commercial quality Looped Berber styles usually have the smallest loops and carpets made from Olefin (polypropylene) is a common choice for those who want a higher level of durability and less matting or crushing of the pile over time.
In most commercial settings, the carpet is glued down without using any padding. In a home application using a thin buy dense padding can make the carpet softer to walk on, but can significantly reduce the overall lifespan and increase the potential for the carpet to stretch out and develop wrinkles over time.
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.
Commercial Grade Berber Carpet Styles.
These are the two most common Berber styles used in offices and institutions today. They are very durable because they have a very high pile density. The loops are very small the packed tightly together to help prevent matting and crushing. They can be made with one solid color or from multiple colors.
Most homeowners don’t choose a commercial grade carpet unless they need to use a wheelchair or walker. The lower pile height also makes it easier for the elderly or handicapped to walk. Offices and airports use commercial grade looped styles and cut pile styles because they are very durable, easy to clean and tolerate heavy foot traffic when glued down to the floor without using any padding underneath.
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All content is the opinion of the author.