How to Shop For Berber Carpet
Posted by: Genesis Floors
You are probably familiar with Berber if you’ve ever looked into purchasing carpet. However, did you know that Berber is a collective term that may refer to different types of carpet? The good or bad things you’ve heard about Berber may not be applicable to the specific Berber you intend to buy. Confused yet? No worries, our Maryland carpet experts are here to clear things up!
What is Berber Carpet?
Berber is actually not the material the carpet is made of. Berber refers to the way the fibers are woven into the carpet backing, as well as the colors used. Traditional Berber carpet is loop-pile carpet with alternating big and small loops. The color pattern is light with some darker flecks splattered at random, although modern Berber comes in many color and pattern variations.
The name Berber comes from the Berbers, a group of people native to North Africa who are known for their hand-woven carpets with distinctive tribal patterns. Although the Berber carpet of today is mass-produced, it still gives off that hand-woven vibe.
What is Berber Carpet Made of?
Modern Berber carpet can be made using a variety of natural and synthetic fibers, such as wool, nylon, olefin, polyester, PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate), etc. The specific fibers used will determine the carpet’s longevity, resistance to stains and wear, and many other essential characteristics. Just because it’s a Berber, doesn’t mean it’s high quality, so be sure to read the label.
Benefits of Berber
Affordability. Don’t get us wrong, there are cheap and expensive Berbers. However, due to its loop-pile construction, Berber is generally less expensive to manufacture than cut-pile carpeting. Since the loop doesn’t need to be cut, it’s one fewer step toward the final product.
Durability. When we are talking about high-end wool or nylon Berber carpet, you may expect it to last a very long time with proper care. Naturally, Berber made with less durable materials can fall apart in 3-4 years, so be careful when you purchase.
Ease of Maintenance. Berber is typically easy to maintain, and it stands up to stains rather well. The tight weave of the loops that are wider at the top than they are at the bottom prevents the stains from sinking through the carpet right away. Plus, Berber doesn’t show footsteps or lines from vacuuming like cut-pile carpet does.
Disadvantages of Berber
100%-wool and 100%-nylon Berber have all the benefits we listed above, like most carpets made with these materials. However, Berber made with cheaper olefin or PET fiber can have the following disadvantages:
- It can yellow or otherwise discolor after a few cleanings
- It has a low flash point of 170 degrees F (lower than paper)
- It tends to unravel as a result of being snagged
- It can feel rougher on the feet due to synthetic fibers
- It doesn’t last as long as natural-fiber carpets
Also, regardless of what your Berber is made of, it may not be the best carpeting for you if you have pets, especially cats. The loops in the Berber carpet make it an attractive surface to use for nail sharpening. If your cat doesn’t have a preferred scratch post or already tends to claw at your upholstered furniture or curtains, it can become problematic to deter it from Berber.
How to Shop for Berber
If you like the look and feel of Berber under your feet, hopefully you’ll walk away today with a few important tips on choosing the right carpeting for your space. If you can afford it, go for Berber made of wool or nylon to make sure you are getting a quality product. Cheaper olefin and PET Berber might save you money right now, but in the long run you will spend more on its premature replacement. Also consider the loop size. Bigger loops are more prone to being crushed under furniture and during your daily activities. Smaller and tighter loops are better for high-traffic areas.
Have any other questions? Give us a call today or stop by our Sykesville flooring showroom to see the different colors and styles of Berber in person.