Berber carpet is named after the Berber tribe of people in Northwestern Africa. Typically, the Berbers used this type of fabric, usually made of wool or camel hair, not only to cover flooring but also to wear as cloaks. Though many of the Berber peoples lived in desert to semi-desert environments, nights could be bitingly cold. This type of carpet helped stave off such cold, and archaeological digs have found examples of it dating as far back as the Stone Age. Today, the Berber people may still make cloaks of this warm, dense material.
As carpet, Berber carpet refers to a specific type of weave, and also typically a color. Most Berber carpets are off-white to light camel in color. You can find Berber carpets in darker colors, but most associate the carpet with much lighter colors. Though wool or even camel hair is the traditional choice for a Berber carpet, you’ll find them made in materials like nylon and olefin. Standard Berber carpet is distinct from other weaves because it has varying levels of loops and usually has less pile than other carpets, but it is considerably denser than some carpets with higher loops and pile. The weave type means the carpet has both large and small tufts of fabric, leading to a less consistent pattern than that produced when all the loops are of the same size.
A Berber carpet is praised because it tends to take abuse fairly well and be slightly stain resistant, more so if it is stain treated. Those carpets made of olefin fibers tend to be the most stain resistant. However, you won’t be able to buy any version of this carpet, especially in typical light colors and not have to have it professionally cleaned from time to time.
Berber carpets do tend to stand up well to use, and to regular vacuuming, without being damaged in the process. Pricing tends to be based not only on material, but knots per square meter. The most expensive variants are usually made of wool or camel hair and can contain over 200,000 knots in a square meter.
Less expensive forms of Berber carpet are often favored because they are suitably decorative, long lasting, and usually cheaper than high pile carpets. There are some disadvantages to choosing Berber. The least expensive versions may not be as long lasting as you would hope. Look for guarantees of carpet lifetime, and consider Berber an investment by buying the more expensive types.
Though Berber carpet can be stain resistant, if dirt does get into the dense carpet fibers, it’s remarkably difficult to get out and may require extensive cleaning. The carpet can start to unravel, particularly if Fluffy the cat thinks it’s a new scratching post. You do have to be careful that the loops don’t get damaged or you may quickly lose your carpet. Oil stains may be hardest to remove because they may bond with the fibers of the carpet and remain there. If you work around oils, you may want to choose more oil resistant carpeting.