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Loop vs. Cut Pile Carpet (Differences and Similarities)

A variety of rolled carpets on display at a store.

The main question one must ask themselves when purchasing carpeting for a room, is “do I want to have the option of rolling around on this floor in a fitful glee?” or “do I not want to have the option of rolling around on this floor in a fitful glee?”

Carpets have two different pile types, which will be the reason for a carpet’s durability, comfort, maintenance level, and overall appearance. The pile is the surface layer of the carpet, the one that you either do or don’t want to rub your cheek on. (Am I the only one with this instinct when I see a shag carpet?) The weaving process of the carpet involves the looping of whichever fibre through the backing, and then the ends of loops are either left or cut.

This divides carpet types into loop pile carpets or cut pile carpets.

Related: What Goes Under Carpet | Carpet Remnants | Who Invented Carpets | Types of Soundproof Carpets | Should You Have the Same Carpet Throughout Entire House | How to Make Carpet Fluffy Again  

The Loop Pile Carpet

The loop pile is the style where the fibres are woven through, then left in their loop form. Made from either nylon, wool, or olefin, they make for a firm, tightly woven carpet. This is what you would imagine in hallways or dentist offices. We do not rub our faces on these carpets. They’re super durable and can withstand lots of foot traffic. They’re mostly trackless so that they don’t show vacuum tracks and are great for disguising stains.

These individual fibre loops are also twisted to make them extra durable. A twisted loop fibre prevents extreme matting. Although, if one of these loops is snagged and pulled it’s pretty much done for, but the likelihood of that happening is very low. You basically have to try really hard to pull out a loop. The main two kinds of loop pile carpeting are:

This is a close look at a beige carpet showcasing the fine craftsmanship.

Berber: a very low-cost fibre (mainly olefin) is the most common kind of loop pile carpet. It’s affordable, easy to clean, and durable

Samples of various carpets on display.

Sisal: a beautiful looking texture made from olefin, but it tends to be quite rough on your feet. This would be dedicated to a solarium or front porch.

The Cut Pile Carpet

They just make it so easy for us. The cut pile carpet is when looped fibres are cut off at the ends! This allows for lovely flowing loose fibres, exactly what you would imagine Austin Powers’ walls, floors and ceiling to be covered in.

We want to rub our faces in these. Although they’re more difficult to clean — much like the difference between trying to bathe a Weimaraner and a Sheepdog — they’re glorious for storytime and overall lounging. These are commonly made from nylon, polyester and wool. The main kinds of cut pile carpeting are:

A close look at a gray fuzzy carpet.

Saxony: divided into velvet Saxony and textured Saxony. Velvet Saxony is when all fibres are twisted in the same direction, so when you run your hand over it changes texture, much like when touching crushed velvet. Textured Saxony is when fibres are twisted in different directions so that movement doesn’t affect the look as much.

A close look at a beige carpet.

Frieze: these are the most expensive kind of carpet, as the fibres tend to be very long and very soft. They’re slightly less durable and difficult to clean, but there is truly nothing that beats a carpet that makes you feel like you’re laying on top of a giant polar bear. I suggest any shade of orange for the frieze.

Collaboration is Cool!

If you can’t choose between a cut pile or loop pile, you can always have both! The combination of the cut and loop pile is used to create geometric designs. This choice is mainly decorative and reserved for underneath glass coffee tables.

A close look at a carpet with both loop and cut pile.


Is a loop pile carpet or cut pile carpet cheaper?

The cut pile carpet is going to be cheaper, as the fibres used are often less luxurious and durable. The manufacturing, materials, and maintenance cost are all cheaper, but it makes for a less lovely flooring.

Which carpet is easier to clean? Cut pile or loop pile?

Cut pile carpets are easier to clean as the fibres are often woven more closely together, so liquids have a more difficult time permeating. The fibres are often shorter as well, so dust is easier removed by a vacuum.

Where can I find loop pile and cut pile carpeting?

At most of your home and hardware stores! They’ll often have big sheets of it hanging up that you can walk through and touch. (I often hid between these as a child)