What is Carpet Pile?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 February 2020
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Carpet pile has to do with the density of the carpet fibers that are used to create the weave on rugs and carpets. Along with carpet thickness, the length of the individual fibers used in the weave also determines the carpet pile. Pile varies from one carpet design to another, ranging from a right flat pile all the way to a long shag pile.

The amount of fiber used in the carpet pile often plays a major role in determining the production cost for any given rug. Along with the quantity, the type of fiber will also make a difference in the quality of the pile, as well as the final price. Several different types of fiber are used to create carpet. Some are more resilient than others, and are priced accordingly.

Typically, natural fibers are more expensive than those that are made from synthetic compounds. However, substances such as olefin fiber actually wear very well, and maintain a pile that does not crush easily with a lot of use. Synthetic fibers also tend not to stain as easily, and hold up well to cleaning with chemical compounds.


Along with olefin fiber blends, nylon and polyester are also common options that are understood to create a durable carpet pile. Among these three, nylon is generally the most expensive option, and is used to create a pile that is short and uniform. Olefin fiber works well for a thicker carpet and is an excellent choice for high traffic areas. Polyester is the least expensive option, and also works very well when the pattern calls for a marbled look involving more than one thickness of pile.

The thickness of carpet is based on a number of factors. Current decorating trends often help to determine whether a shorter carpet pile is desirable, or if the pile should be longer and thicker. Cost may also be a factor, as well as the amount of traffic that will take place in the area where the carpet will be placed. Many people prefer to focus more on durability and how easily the carpet can be maintained rather than follow current trends in the thickness of the pile. This often results in the use of a simple short nap carpet that is often thought to be somewhat traditional, but almost always appropriate.


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Post 1

Your article is full of misinformation. Having been in the carpet industry for 35 years I can attest that Olefin (also known as Polypropylene) is the most susceptible to packing down, and thus performs best when it is used to make dense, looped carpet styles (like berbers).

Nylon and polyester are the best performers with polyester having an inherent stain resistance to most household stainants (dyes).

Solution dyed fibers have their color all through the fiber (like a carrot), while other dye methods place color mostly on the exterior of the fiber (like a radish). Olefin can only be solution dyed. Polyester and nylon can be solution dyed or other.

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