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Pile Types

Pile Types

You may notice on some of our products that there are different pile types listed, but many people are unaware of the differences or benefits. To help you decide between them and get a much clearer idea of what the rug will look or feel like, we have described each main type of pile below.


Cut Pile

Cut pile is highly popular on modern rugs in particular. It involves cutting yarn loops to produce an upright pile that looks more luxurious than loop pile rugs, but there are three distinctive sub-types within this that have extremely varied looks. First is the plush type, which uses short and slightly twisted pile that may display tracking from vacuuming or footsteps. This is most commonly used on modern rugs, and can also be known as ‘velvet’ or ‘velour’. The next type of cut pile is twist, which is more luxurious, smooth and textured. Due to the way the pile is twisted and strands faces opposite directions, it is a lot less likely to display tracking than plush varieties, and is more durable for high traffic areas. Finally is the frieze type, which is the shorter piled version of shaggy or shag pile. Frieze and shaggy rugs use longer cut pile that faces multiple directions per strand, creating hardwearing and deep textured qualities and a less formal appearance.

Frieze pile as seen on the CLA667

Loop Pile

Loop pile is less common on rugs than it is on carpet. You may recognise natural material rugs for having loop pile, which appears more rigid than other types. Loop pile rugs use loops of yarn to create a patterned look, even when loops are level. Level loop pile rugs create a texture that is well suited to high traffic areas and will not show up any tracking from footprints for example. The loops can appear like pebbles or ridges that are side by side. Multi level loop pile appears the same, but with more space between the ridges or ‘pebbles’. This is because this style instead uses high and low loops alternatively. In this style, it is also common to use different heights in a random order to create patterns. The final sub-type of loop pile is sisal. As this is common on natural material rugs, you are more likely to find sisal rugs that are hard underfoot. As seen on the image (right), the pile is textured and only comes in straight rows, but different heights may still be used to create patterns.

Sisal pile as seen on the NAT510

Cut and Loop Pile

These options combine cut pile with loop pile to incorporate patterns or a non-uniform look. This is more attention grabbing than other types due to the differences in pile that create unique or attractive styles. Shapes are very common with this style, and in particular ‘level’ cut and loop style rugs. These use cut pile and loop pile of the same height to create the patterns, made visible due to the texture differences. They can also create the illusion of space and create a soft and satisfying feel underfoot. Textured cut and loop pile however, is much more luxurious due to the psychological effect its appearance creates – it normally uses more of a visual effect than a pattern. The appearance is similar to ripples, or waves in the ocean, and is therefore perfect in rooms in which you wish to relax and wind down.

Level cut and loop pile

So now you have been armed with this information, which are you most likely to choose? We stock all of these types which are notable by appearance, so just browse around or call us for more help!

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