What is Berber Carpet? (Secrets to Double the Carpet Life)9 min read

What is Berber Carpet? (Secrets to Double the Carpet Life)9 min read

Talk a construction expert, in fact, even talk to a flooring expert and ask this question – what is Berber carpet. You will likely get different results and interchangeable terms (loop carpet, Berber etc.)

This carpet takes its name from North African tribes called Berber, using their unique weave style. The term Berber refers to the color, pattern and the style of the carpet. Light colored carpet with flecks of dark shade. And now it refers to the looped tight weave with no tufts.

While that was the origin, soon it became a staple carpet style.

You know what happens when something starts trending.

Soon manufacturers started introducing many styles and different colors.  Instead, of just flecked or multicolored options.

So even though, it meant the color and the style when it was introduced, now the color part isn’t relevant.

Today Berber carpet only refers to the looped style.

How expensive is Berber carpet?

Everything in life has a cheaper and an expensive option, right.

Same applies to Berber carpet. In fact, one of the reasons for high adoption by builders is the cost.

It is a much sturdier yet cheaper option.  It easily compares to some of the cut-pile ones.

Even if the Berber carpet is slightly expensive, it gives more value.  Due to the durability, the extra cost (if any) gives you a lot of ROI on the carpet investment.small loop berber commercial

Many reasons for the durability and the cheapness is due to the raw material used in the production of Berber carpet.

Olefin is used nowadays instead of wool.

The second main reason is that it needs less manufacturing time and effort.

I will give you an inside secret in the carpet manufacturing industry.

Every carpet is looped.

That’s right. Every carpet starts as a looped product, but if the designer is looking to create a fluffy carpet with just strands, then it goes through another process.

That cuts the loop and finish the cut fibers. That’s expensive time and resource.

Berber doesn’t do that. It leaves the loop as it and it’s considered done, which is why Berber is cheaper.

  • Olefin fiber-based Berbers are the cheapest, costing between $15 – $30 per square yard
  • Nylon is studier materials, yet not that expensive, coming around $25 to $60 a square yard. Soft nylon costs more than the other inexpensive versions.
  • Starting price for a woolen Berber carpet costs around $85 (and above) a square yard.

That brings us to…

…a confusion, right?

What Should I Go With – Wool, Nylon or Olefin Carpet Fiber?

In short, you must think about three things before selecting the right kind of fiber for your application.

  • Cost
  • Longevity
  • Maintenance

A combination of the cost and longevity yields the true value of a product.

Agree with me?

Wool:

Want natural fiber? Then you have no choice but wool.

Wool is super soft and durable. Since it is natural (acquired for a sheep) it’s the costliest.

In fact, maintenance of the woolen carpet is very hard.

If you have wool carpet, don’t call any carpet cleaning crew. They will mess it up. You must find a company that specialized in wool carpet cleaning.

Because, the kind of cleaning is different, as is the cleaning solutions used.

I have heard of families using woolen carpet for several decades (not seen though), but I know it’s possible.

Nylon

Want a durable carpet fiber but doesn’t want to break the bank?  Then go for Nylon.

Nylon, as you may have guessed, is a man-made fiber. However, compared to other fibers this is very resilient and manages to show like new for a longer period of time.

It very durable – very comparable to wool – and is easy on maintenance.  It’s good with stain resistance, which is why maintenance is easy.

A couple of decades life is not unheard of. That is, if you choose a good quality Nylon carpet and maintain it well.

Feel free to use in high traffic areas and high usage rooms.  Best fit for hallways, master bedroom, recreation room, basement etc.

Olefin

Want a cheaper Berber? Go with Olefin.

Are you planning to sell the house and thinking of changing the carpet? then Olefin isn’t a bad choice.

However, if you are planning to stay and use it, then rethink.  Olefin carpets are knowing to matt, as it is not a resilient as Nylon.

Due to the nature of Olefin, you need multiple cleaning processes in manufacturing to get the desired output.

That’s often not possible. So, it comes out of the manufacturing plant ready to attract stain and dirt.

You can expect a good ten years out of Olefin carpet if you take good care of it.

Use it for areas where you don’t get a lot of foot traffic.

Again, Olefin carpet is the least stain resistant, so use it from where your kids will mess up.

Is Berber carpet good for high traffic areas?

Yes, but…

As I mentioned there are different material types and costs plush carpet with cut endseven in Berber.

For a comparable smooth product (A.k.a. Saxony) you will have a better performing Berber any day.

Remember the smooth carpets are sheared to a low, smooth finish.

Whereas the loop stays intact in Berber.

Loop is generally more durable compared to a cut pile version.

So, in general, a Berber of the same quality will perform better than other cut pile versions.

Again, you get the most value for every dollar spent on Berber.

Pros and Cons of Berber Carpet

Pros

  • Relatively low cost
  • Stain resistant
  • No vacuum marks after cleaning
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Multicolored Berber masks some stains

Cons

  • Matting or crushing from overuse
  • Objects tend to catch in the loop (and tear, rip or pull)
  • Snag in the carpet from Pets

What is the life expectancy of Berber carpet?

Like I mentioned before, the life expectancy out of a Berber carpet is completely dependent on the material used.

Carpet Fiber Type Life Expectancy
Olefin 10 years
Nylon 15 – 20 years
Wool 30+ years

While this is just an estimate, in general, the life can be extended by a few years, if you maintain it properly.

Loop size to consider

 

The life of the Berber carpet can increase or decrease based on the loop size used.

Bigger the loop, easier it is to get crushed and matted. So, you should look for a small loop carpet for longevity.

tight knit small loop with no padding used in commercial BerberCommercial usage will be high and so commercial carpets are almost always small looped Berbers.

Also, not in a commercial setting, the carpet is glued down and not have a padding.

Whether you believe it or not this good for the carpet.

While in residential applications, pads are used. In fact, builders sweat by a thicker foam underneath.

The foam isn’t all the good for the carpet and starts to stretch it out.

This also significantly reduces the life expectancy of the carpet.

So, use a high density but a lower thickness pad for a better life out of the Berber.

A thickness of 3/8” inch is the maximum you should consider.  And a minimum of 8-lbs with respect to density.

Also, check with the manufacturer specification for what they recommend and guarantee for.

What is the best way to clean Berber carpet?

Vacuum:using powerhead will rip Berber use suction instead

For your regular cleaning make use of vacuum that is recommended for Berber.

Warning! Avoid Vacuum with powerheads and beater bar.

Powerhead easily pulls any loose loop and try to pull it with force and wrap it in.

This might even cause the strand to unravel.

Turn off the beater bar, if your model allows for it, or if there is a way to remove it.

The best is to use a high suction vacuum instead of the one with a brush.

Oil Deposits:

Quality plays a role here.

If you are using Olefin, you are out of luck.  Olefin fibers attract oil. In fact, even the manufacturing process doesn’t get rid of all the oily substance it has.

So, preventing the oil deposit is the first thing you should consider, instead of cleaning.

Water retention:

Berbers have tight-knit and loops.  While cleaning if you use a lot of water, then the water might get trapped and it will be hard to suck it out.

This causes mildew growth in the carpet.  Hence, you should try to use as little water as possible while cleaning Berbers.

Time is your friend:

With Berber, when you notice an accident (from your kids to pets) get to action immediately.

Time is your friend and will make it all easier. Never let it rest.

  1. Throw baking soda on the spill

It absorbs the liquid without spreading the stain.

  1. Give it a few minutes and use a suction vacuum and suck the baking soda out
  2. Repeat the above two a couple more times, till you see baking soda isn’t pulling any more liquid.

Removing using stain remover:

If you have got a stain on the carpet and didn’t notice when it happened, then you should use a stain remover.

There a are a few products specifically designed to remove the carpet stains.

You can try the home DIY solution (1-part white vinegar and 4-parts water)

Want more extensive resource on homemade carpet cleaning solution. Check Karrie’s blog.

Caution! Always try to use the cleaning solution in a very small area to test, before using

Professional cleaners:

If you end up with a dirty Berber carpet and can’t seem to get it to the former glory, then you have no choice but to use a pro.

Again, find the one that specializes in Berbers, and not any cleaner.

Is Berber carpet good for Dogs (and Cats)?

This is by far what goes in pet owners mind.Berber is not good with pets(cats) due to scratching

It’s a legitimate concern.

Your Pet’s claw can and will damage the carpet. Don’t worry it wouldn’t harm your pet.

Cats are prone to scratching.

And if yours is such a naughty one then you might find the carpet being damaged by your pet.

However, if you have a dog,

I don’t think this is that much of an issue.

Especially, from running the snag is unlikely to happen.  Even if it happens, your pet will not be able to snag and run the enter length of the carpet.

Most definitely a quality Berber is going to be tight and the snag from pets is unlikely.

Basement Gurus’ Parting Words:

The looped and flecked look is what is identified as Berber nowadays.

The truly handcrafted look comes from the North African hand weave style, even though it is all manufactured in factories.

The Berber is in trend now and has gone from being commercial to residential. Has gone a step further from going from basement to rest of the house carpet.

It doesn’t break your bank and gives the most bang for your buck.

The Berber carpet style is generally stain-resistant due to the loop construction.

While the Olefin based Berber carpets might be cheaper, it might not be very durable.

Go with nylon Berber carpets, if you are going to use in heavy traffic areas on your house.

Let me give you another piece of advice. You don’t have to settle with Berber carpet for your basements. Check out my other blog post on different flooring products for your basement.

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