If you are in the market for new carpeting, there is a chance that you may need to do a little research to determine the right kind of carpet that fits your lifestyle. It’s easy to categorize carpeting into one big bundle of fibers, but there are different types and styles of carpeting in today’s marketplace that are characterized by their fiber content, pile length and fiber compilation. Berber carpet is just one example of a popular type of carpet available today.
Berber carpets were originally handmade through indigenous tribes (the Berbers ) from North Africa. Their fabrics or textiles came from various parts of a sheep’s outer coat (wool) and once woven were characterized by distinctive knots and natural colored speckles or flecks within the finished pieces. Western carpet fabricators later embraced the weave and style of the Berbers, which advanced the knot concept to that of the loop, which present day Berber carpets exhibit. Berber has gained in popularity over the years, particularly in use in offices and other spaces where high foot traffic occurs.
Like any other carpet, Berber is made up of fibers of a certain length. With Berber, fibers are looped and the pile is short. It is a distinguishable carpet as the loop alternates from larger to smaller clusters, or tufts. The loops are constructed when yarn is tufted (sewn) into a backing and the actual loops remain uncut. Usually flecks of a darker color also characterize Berber, as the main part of the carpet is customarily light in color with speckles of a darker color spread throughout the carpet piece.
Berber Fiber Content
In the mid 1980s, Berber carpets were made from nylon fibers, and manufacturers offered very little in the way of carpet colors, other than neutral tones. Nylon Berber is more costly today but it is durable, wearable and available in various colors. As with nylon, wool Berber is also still in use, but it is high cost and high maintenance. Professional cleaning is a necessity, but Berber wool fiber can last for years if properly maintained.
Olefin, a petroleum derived fiber, has gained more current use with Berber carpets and has a lower price point than both wool and nylon. It is a stain resistant carpet fiber that does clean and wear well, but like any other carpet, olefin fibers over time can flatten out and take on a grayish appearance because of dirt and abrasion, so cleaning is essential with maintaining them, and proper upkeep does extend their life.
Selecting Berber Carpets
In selecting Berber, consumers should try to find a nylon Berber carpet that has high density fabrication, small loops, cushioned backing, padding, stain resistance, four-ply yarn thickness, (number of yarn pieces twisted together) as well as a choice that includes a warranty. Olefin selections are better used in rooms that are less heavily trafficked, while nylon Berber withstands use in high traffic areas, such as hallways, bedrooms and living rooms.
Berber carpets have come a long way since their long ago and humble beginnings, but they have stood the test of time and have gained a following of homeowners and businesses interested in quality, durability lower price points, stain resistance and a novel and handcrafted look that is attractive as well as practical.