Basic Carpet Terminology

If you’re shopping for carpet, it’s a good idea to have a basic grasp of the terminology. It’s easy to be confused by sales experts if you aren’t familiar with your options. And how else will you know how to find the perfect carpet for your home? Here is a glossary of basic carpet terms so that you can communicate what you want with your local carpet supplier.


This one’s pretty easy. It’s the back of the carpet. It can be divided into two parts. Primary backing provides the structure for the tufts of the carpet. Secondary backing is a barrier from the carpet padding and the floor. It can also be referred to as the ‘underside.’


Berber is a carpet that is naturally undyed, originally made by North African Berber tribes.


Any carpet wider than 6 feet.

Carpet Cushion/Carpet Padding

This is the layer of cushion that gets installed between the floorboard and the carpet. It determines how soft, comfortable, and durable your carpet will be.


Crush refers to the carpet fibers being bent due to high traffic or heavy furniture. Crushed carpet can rarely be fixed.


The founding material that the carpet is composed of.


Carpet with a tightly twisted piling giving it a curled appearance.


Marks left by furniture and other heavy objects.


The visible part of the carpet composed of yarn tufts. Also the part that gets walked on. There are two types of pile, loop and cut. Loop means the loops have been left uncut. Cut means the loops have been cut to make straight tufts.

Pile Height

The height of the pile.


Pilling happens when carpet fibers from different tufts get tangled up and form a hard mass.


The ability for a carpet to resist crushing.


The line where two pieces of carpet join.


Groups of carpet fibers wound together to make individual groups of fibers.   If you have any further questions about carpet terminology, visit one of Naffco’s 3 locations. One of our friendly staff members will be happy to help!