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Technical Information for Carpets

Welcome to our world of carpet where we try to give you some basic
information to help you understand the differences between all the choices
that are available.
Whether it is construction, fibres, benefits of carpet, where to use carpets, the
advantages and disadvantages of each type or just general help in
understanding carpet specifications.

Here are the main types of carpet constructions available. Click on a carpet type to see more

Axminster Carpet
Wilton Carpet
Tufted Carpet
Printed Tufted
Hand Tufted
Carpet Tiles
Carpet Diem offers all the above constructions so whether it is a Genuine Woven, Tufted, Hand
Made, Printed or Tile carpet we can help.

Not all carpets are the same or perform the same in use. Click on a carpet comparison to see
more information.

Advantages of Carpets
Woven vs Tufted
Woven vs Printed
Hand Made vs Machine Made
Comparison of Pile Fibres
Wool Yarn vs Synthetic Yarn
Carpet Diem has the technical expertise to ensure that the right product is offered to suit any
requirement, usuage or budget.
Knowledge is power and here are some of our most frequently asked questions. Click on a
subject to see more information.

Understanding Specifications
Cleaning & Maintenance
Spot Removal Help
Installation Systems
Carpet Diem offers the full service to offer help and assistance before a carpet is chosen, during
the selection and after it is installed and in use.

Axminster Carpet

Axminster Construction

Axminster products have three dimensional support where each tuft of yarn is independently dyed and inserted
in the backing material which is then held in place securely by additional shots of backing material. It is not
possible for a woven product to delaminate and in standard wear will significantly out perform a tufted
product. As the patterned yarn is dyed tuft by tuft colour definition and design definition is far greater with
colour penetration fully through to the backing of the carpet.

Cut tufts of yarn are inserted at the point of weaving by means of grippers. For each tuft to be inserted along
the width of the carpet, there is a corresponding metal "gripper" which rises from the bed of the loom to "grip"
the appropriate coloured end of yarn from the vertical yarn carrier. A knife blade slices the tuft to the correct
length. The gripper then returns to the bed of the loom places the tuft in the appropriate position and the weft
shots of the backing yarns bind it into place. A beater bar pushes each row of tufts and weft shots tightly
against one another to form the carpet. The "beatup" (rows) can vary from as low as 5 to 14 rows per inch.
Different coloured ends of yarn (according to design) can be selected from the yarn carrier, which is raised or
lowered by means of a jacquard (punched cards or electronic mechanism). Normally upto 12 diifferent colours
can be used in this weaving method. More modern looms have electronic jacquards which enable them to
produce very complicated designs with almost infinite pattern repeats.

The weave structures of Spool and Gripper Axminster are very similar, with as many as 12 warp and wefts to
holding each individual tuft in position producing a 3 dimensional and very stable structure. They are hard
wearing and dimensionally stable products, easy to install and achieve accurate pattern match.
Wilton Carpet

Standard Wilton Construction & Face to Face Wilton

A traditional Wilton weave carpet is one in which the pile threads run continuously into the
backing of the carpet and tufts are raised above the surface of the integral backing by means of
wires or hooks which creates the design or pattern. Wilton carpets are often cut or loop products,
and different yarn types can be used to produce different surface textures. Wilton weaving is not
as versatile as Axminster for the production of patterned carpets but does have the benefit that a
loop pile can be created.

A face to face Wilton loom can weave two carpets at the same time, the resulting pile is always
cut not loop but, by the use of different yarns, velvet or textured effects can be achieved. The 2
carpets will have a 'mirrored' pattern so primarily this weaving method is for solid colours or
geometrice designs. This however has to be produced in cut pile.

It is not possible for a woven product to delaminate and in standard wear will significantly out
perform a tufted product.

The weave structures of Wiltons and Axminster are very similar, with as many as 12 warp and
wefts to holding each individual tuft in position producing a 3 dimensional and very stable
structure. They are hard wearing and dimensionally stable products, easy to install and achieve
accurate pattern match.
Tufted Carpet

Standard Tufted Construction

The tufting process was developed to produce an alternative to traditionally woven carpet. Several hundred needles stitch hundreds of
rows of pile yarn tufts through a backing fabric called the primary backing. The needles push yarn through a primary backing fabric,
where a loop holds the yarn in place to form a tuft as the needle is removed. The yarn is caught by loopers and held in place for loop-
pile carpet or cut by blades for cut-pile carpet. Next, secondary backings of various types are applied give stability and add weight /
handle to the finished product. Both cut and loop can be produced in the same carpet.

Here are some key steps in the tufting process:

1. Yarn comes from cones on creel racks (or from big spools called beams) into the machine.
2. The primary backing feeds into the machine.
3. Yarn and primary backing come together in the machine.
4. Yarn is fed through needles on the tufting machine. Needles repeatedly tuft into the primary
5. The tufted carpet is mended and inspected.
6. Carpet is rolled onto large rolls and a secondary backing added.

Although tufting machines are capable of producing carpet using many different pile yarns the
most economic are those less likely to break during manufacture. For this reason Synthetic
products dominate the tufted market although higher priced wool blends are available. Tufted
styles range from loop, cut pile and combinations of cut and loop with different pile heights
across the carpet.
Printed Tufted Carpet

Chromajet Machine, Textile Penetration and Tufted Carpet Construction

There are several ways that a design can be printed on carpets by using 'overprinting' with screen
or transfer prints however the most common and accurate machines for printing designs on
carpets are known as either 'Chromajet' or 'Millitron' machines.
These carpets are normally produced for budget conscious projects where a multi-colour design is still required and carpets are required
quickly. A base cloth (tufted carpet) is manufactured in white yarn (known as greige goods) in various qualities (from 200 up to 1500
g/m) and then stored waiting for orders. Once an order is placed, design and colours selected the base cloth is taken to the carpet
printing machine to add the design. ChromoJet and Millitron works by injecting dye into the pile of the blank textile similar to an office
ink jet printer. Jets are arranged in groups, mounted on a print-head and traverses the mat. The computer controlled jets open and close
up to 400 times per second into the face of the pile without any machine parts touching the fabric. The colour shades are created by a
method of using normally mixing 12 basic colours to generate shades required on the carpet by using small dots. This method has an
advantage against spot or screen color printing . Once the carpet design is printed onto the fabric it is then steamed, washed, set and dried
on the same continuous machine. Any imperfections in the carpet created by a blocked nozzle will be overdyed later by hand. This
process can only achieve dye impregnation to a depth equivalent to 45 - 65% of the thickness of the pile yarn leaving the base of the pile
above the backing materials undyed or still white. During wear the yarn naturally flattens and colours appear to lighten-up as the white
base fibre becomes exposed. As this wear usuage is more apparent on heavy areas or traffic lanes these areas will become lighter quicker
than other areas of the carpet.
It is also important to remember that although the design can look more complex these are still
tufted construction products and will perform like a tufted product where the tufts of yarn are
held in only by a secondary backing such as Latex so can delaminate.
Hand Tufted Carpet

Hand Tufted Weaver, Carved Carpet, Tufting Gun

A hand tufted carpet is manufactured by using a tufting gun with needles mounted in the front
and the design is completely created by hand by stitching in single ends of yarn in various
colours creating an overall design. The construction method is similar to machine tufted products
but made by hand using a tufting gun which is similar to a modern drilling which is modified to
create a stitching motion which inserts yarn into primary backing cloth normally produced from
sheet cotton.
The carpet is produced on a frame where the primary cotton backing is attached with an imprint of the design which has been stencilled
onto it. The weaver then goes over the design stencil with the tufting gun using different coloured yarns which are shot and pulled back
to the surface creating the finished design. As this process is completed by hand it does not have the same restrictions to fixed width,
shape, design repeat or number of colours used. Different qualities are achieved by density of weave or adjusting the height of the pile
yarn. When a denser weave is required the backing cloth used has a higher construction to avoid delamination of the pile in use or yarn
falling out. Unlike a fixed machine it is possible to use different yarns, textures, heights and cut or loop pile within the same design. As
long as the fibre can be loaded onto the gun there are very few restrictions as due to the fact that the same equipment produces cut and
loop pile. Once the tufts are fully completed it is removed from the weaving frame, finished by hand and then the backing is covered
with a latex secondary backing to ensure endurance.
After completion the design can be carved to add even more texture and depth and then a final
shear of the surface pile is completed to give the perfect luxury finish.
Carpet Tiles

Tufted Tile Construction - can be cut or loop and construction can be various types

Carpet tiles come in many qualities, yarns, configurations & sizes but basically produced from
standard carpet (Axminster, Tufted - Machine / Hand, Printed and Flocked) with secondary
backing changed to a more rigid structure like PVC, Bitumen or fleece before cutting to size.
Each construction carries the same properties as the weave type but tiles have other advantages.

Here are some of the major advantages of using tiles :

1. Wastage most tiles produced 0.50m x 0.50m so wastage is considerably reduced in comparison with broadloom carpets.
2. Logistics - small areas can be replaced allowing limited disruption in comparison to having to clear the whole area.
3. Installation - fitting can be carried out quickly and simply.
4. Handling - due to their size and weight tiles are safe and easy to handled.
5. Replacements damaged tiles can be replaced by non-carpet specialists by removal of specific damaged tile.
6. Storage - tiles can be easily stocked for immediate replacement of damages or completion of new areas.

In summary, tiles can be more economic in functional areas which are subjected to heavy use
and abuse.

Advantages of Carpets over other Flooring

Carpets make an office appealing, a room relaxing, an entrance welcoming and a corridor classy.

Most interiors are unique and have a dramatic impact on peoples perceptions not only about the
interior of the building but also about the value, position, syle and pride not only for visitors but
also residents, users or employees.

The most dramatic visual impact for any area is the floor covering which can set the tone of the
interior of the building and not only gives the first impression but also provides a calming
influence and mood setting greater than any other single factor. A soft floor covering also
reduces noise levels considerably especially with the increased levels of noise created by footfall,
trolleys, mobile phones and general background conversation. Added to these factors is the
general ease of maintenance and cleaning factors given to the owners or management.

It is soft to touch, easy and comfortable to walk on and adds luxury to any surrounding.
Soft floor coverings offer many advantages over hard flooring and these include :-

Aesthetics, Variety, Choice, Comfort, Colours & Design, Noise reduction, Health & Safety, ease of Cleaning & Maintenance, quick
Removal, Disposal and Replacement when they require changing.
Woven vs Tufted Carpets

Woven - tufts integral part of backing, Tufted - tufts held in place by adhesive

Tufted products were initially introduced to reduce costs and provide a more short term cost solution compared with a woven product.
In a busy property, or where there is a lot of foot fall, wheeled baggage or trolleys followed by excessive vaccuuming or wet cleaning
the cumulative effect results in the delaminating (carpet structually falling apart with the breakdown of the adhesive that bonds the
yarn to the backing) of the tufted carpet. Visually this forms of waves in the carpet or seams can become broken easily which is ugly
and also a potential safety hazard. In wear Tufted carpets lack the dimensional stability because they are simply punched and glued
into a backing. Woven carpets are locked into place by a combination of 12 warp and weft yarns per tuft making the yarn an integral
structure of the carpet which means it would have to be worn away.

Woven carpets look better longer than the equivalent tufted. This is due to wear of a carpet comes from how long the tufts of yarn will
stay vertical, ensuring the surface of the yarn will take the impact of the wear. As the tuft falls over the yarn will wear away and
eventually expose the backing material. Tufted carpets have little support from the backing so can fall over easily and break from the
back unlike woven which yarn is anchored firmly into the backing also allowing the tuft to spring back to its natural woven position.

In tufted products the colours and designs are restricted by the use of needle punching and the designs are created by a zig-zag motion
of yarn needles. This restricts the designs to plain colours or very simplistic pattern or repeat lengths and also colours are restricted to
a maximum 4 or 6 in 'ColorTec' tufted. Axminster designs are produced by selecting colours from a palate of upto 12 colours tuft by
tuft. With the use of Electronic Jacquard weaving the designs and pattern repeats are only restricted by the imagination and the
physical constraints of the installation space available.
Woven vs Printed Tufted Carpets

Woven - tufts dyed and inserted independently, Printed - tufted construction dye injected from surface

In a Printed carpet even the most sophisticated printing machines effectively either roll or jet 'over-print' dyes to create a pattern onto
a plain white tufted carpet (called greige goods). This process can only achieve dye impregnation to a depth equivalent to 45-65% of
the thickness of the pile yarn therefore still eaving the base of the pile above the backing materials undyed or still white. As the carpet
starts to wear and the yarn naturally flattens the colours actually appear to lighten-up as the white base fibre becomes exposed. As this
wear usuage is more apparent on heavy areas or traffic lanes these areas will become lighter quicker than other areas of the carpet.
Once this happens the owners natural reaction is to think that the carpets are looking soiled or dirty so they clean them. Unfortunately
this does not solve the problem as it is the white yarn showing through from the backing so what they will actually do by cleaning is
speed up the colour deterioration.

In an Axminster carpet the pattern is woven from pre-dyed yarns, where each individual tuft of yarn is dyed independently, cut and
inserted into the weave to create a pattern. This allows colours and patterns of Axminster constructions to be very precise and the yarn
is fully coloured from top of the carpet to base of the weave. As this pattern is permanent all the way through to the backing it will be
visible during the total life of the carpet until all the yarn is worn away.

So it leaves the question why would you choose a Printed Tufted over a Woven and the very simple answer is price. It may initially
appear an attractive option as printed tufted gives a broader design options to regular tufted products, reduces project costs and is
readily / quickly available. However is still a tufted carpet and will start to fade and have the same performance issues. Also as dye is
injected colours can bleed together meaning design clarity is not sharp. This 'fuzz' effect will become even more noticeable during use.
Hand Made vs Machine Made

Hand Made Loom, Unique Hand Made rug - Machine Weaving Loom, Volume Stock Carpet

One of the most prominent differences between Hand Made and Machine Made carpets is that
the Hand Made products are more aspirational and exclusive which give a more valuable
impression while portraying an air of luxury and quality not only just by look but also by touch
and overall appearance.

The other main difference between these two types of products is the actual manner of the way
they are produced. Machine-made carpets are engineered for precision and are produced by
having exact repeats produced by jacquards, printing jets, rollers and needle bars where mass
produced, repetitive volume and throughput is the primary concern. Hand Made products
however, as the name suggests, are not mass produced and offer a unique style, one-off product
for the floor where the skill of the weaver creates a visual piece of artwork seldom replicated by
any other flooring product.

For areas requiring large volume, modern designs, static repeats with high traffic requirements,
machine-made carpets with contemporary designs are excellent and offer a cost effective
solution. However for small bespoke areas using high colours, complex design, textures and
visual impact Hand Made carpets offer an air of luxury and very unique properties. The personal
touch on Hand Made carpets to add carving, high colour usuage, different pile textures, cuts &
loops, differing pile heights and the flexibility of multi-width and length make them often
emulated by machine made but never matched.

Hand Made have subtle variances made by the weaver or materials used while producing the rug
making each piece unique and is more of a piece of artwork for the floor produced by a true
Comparison between different fibre types

The following table shows the comparative performance of different types of carpet pile fibres. It
is a very general comparison since the yarn thickness, tuft density, carpet construction and any
treatments added to the fibres can make a difference to the overall carpet performance in use. In
natural yarns such as wool, the source of the wool, country of origin, breed of sheep, part of the
sheep from where the wool is sheared and whether the yarn is composed of pure new virgin wool
or contains waste wools, also plays an important part in the end performance. Manufacturers who
can choose the types of wools, and have strict control over all the processes used during the
manufacture of their blends have distinct advantages for the production of very hard wearing
yarns for their carpets

* Because no one fibre performs best in all the required aspects, many companies choose to
blend a combination of fibres together to achieve all round performance. For example the
above 80% wool/20% nylon blend combines the best properties of the wool fibre with the high
resistance to abrasion (wear) of the nylon fibre. This blend has become the most popular choice
for top quality carpeting Worldwide.

Wool vs Synthetic Pile Fibres

Wool Fibre, Nylon 6, Nylon 6:6 and Polypropylene

Synthetic fibre manufacturers have been trying for years to emulate the undisputed performance
of the natural wool fibre. Despite millions in research and development they have still not
achieved this goal. Initially Nylon 6:6 offered the best option for simulating a wool product
(lower light refraction) but as this is a more expensive fibre than Nylon 6 (both oil based) most
manufacturers started promoting there was very little difference. Recently Polypropylene fibres
have become popular as it is now a cheaper alternative to Nylon. Initially, the Synthetic fibre has
many wool like attributes however it does not perform in the same way as it suffers from low
resilience, is difficult / expensive to clean, flattens much quicker and has questionable fire safety
properties. To help assist flattening and cleaning many nylon manufacturers avoid cutting the
nylon fibre and manufacture carpets with low level loop pile.
Wool rich carpets (like 80% Wool/20% Nylon) are proven performers in most areas and in all
respects consistently out perform carpet with Synthetic piles. Prior to increases in raw materials
using Synthetic fibers was a cheaper option for manufacturers to reduce prices however now this
is not the case as raw materials are more expensive not only in product cost but also
Environmental impact. Wool is a natural product and therefore bio-degradable and renewable. In
fact the average wool rich carpet is about 90% biodegradable / recyclable and only about 10% is
non-biodegradable. In addition to this the potential fire hazard of unmodified or untreated
Synthetic products is so serious that their use in some commercial situations & escape areas has
been banned in several countries.
Syntetic yarns also get dirty quickly (due to the hollow nature of the fibre) and are very difficult
to clean. In fact, the cost of maintaining an acrylic carpet is far higher than that for an wool rich
one and they need specialist cleaning and chemicals. Wool has a unique scaled surface giving it
excellent soil hiding and it also releases dirt by expanding when it gets wet with water.

Understanding Specifications

ROWS / STITCH (Beat-up) - number of rows measured in direction of manufacture e.g. rows / stitch per inch or rows
/ stitch per decimetre.
PITCH - number of ends / tufts across the width of a loom usually expressed as ends per inch.
GAUGE - space in the width between needles of a tufting machine, expressed in fractions of an inch. e.g. 1/8th
gauge = 8 needles per inch.
CUT PILE - Carpet made from tufts cut to the same height, then sheared to give a smooth, flat carpet surface.
LOOP PILE - Carpet made up of areas of loop pile and areas of cut pile. These areas can be at different or the same
YARN COUNT - Tex Count - Weight (in g) of 1000 lin metres of single yarn. Dewsbury Number of yards of pile
yarn required to weight 1 oz.
TUFT DENSITY - Number of tufts expressed in dm2 or in m2 by multiplying together the number of tufts in the
width x tufts in the length.
DENIER - Measuring unit for fibre and yarn count. Denier is the weight in grams of 9,000 metres of fibre or yarn.
YARN PLY - the number of individual yarns twisted together to produce the finished yarn. Most commonly 2-ply
and 3-ply are used.
PILE - The yarn used in the surface of the carpet consisting of the various different fibres or yarns.
TOTAL PILE WEIGHT - Total pile weight also includes the material contained within the backing expresses as
PILE WEIGHT ABOVE BACK (EPW) - Weight of the yarn above backing expressed as g/m2. Also known as
Effective Pile Weight (EPW)
PILE HEIGHT ABOVE BACK (EPH) - Height of the pile above the back expressed in millimetres. Also known as
Effective Pile Height (EPH).
PILE DENSITY - Can be measured in different ways 1. The number of tufts per dm2 or m2. 2. The weight/volume
PRIMARY BACKING - Woven or non-woven fabric support into which the tufts making up the pile are implanted in
the tufting process.
SECONDARY BACKING - fabric which often forms the final coating or backing layer of a tufted carpet.
LATEX - backcoating used to give stability, better handle and improved tuft anchorage. Most use low volatile
emitting EVA latices.
COLORFASTNESS - Resistance to fading from factors such as light, perspiration, atmospheric gases, or washing
can remove the color.
FLAME RESISTANCE - classification comparing flame resistance properties. EU standards are EN 13501. USA
standard is ASTM E 648.
CLASSIFICATION EN 1307 - classification of carpet use ranging from Light Domestic (Class 21) to Heavy
Contract (Class 33).
CE MARK - harmonised standard EN 14041 for carpets in EU and all carpet products must be labelled with CE

The flammability of carpets is an important determinant of the flammability of a whole building

as they can occupy a signifcant surface area. This means they can have a large influence on
aspects such as spread of flame, smoke generation, toxic gas evolution and acceleration of
burning. The less flammable interior textiles are the safer it is for the entire building.
Due to this fact it is very important to find ensure that your carpet carries at least one of the
following :-
BS 4790 - Determination of flammability of all types of textile floor coverings. This standard
uses a heated stainless steel nut placed on the material surface. The times of flaming and of
afterglow and the greatest radius of the effects of ignition from the point of application of the
nut, are measured.
ASTM E648 Radiant Panel Test - This American fire testing standard is International and
provides a basis for estimating the fire exposure behaviour of a floorcovering when installed in
a building. It involves a horizontally mounted floor covering exposed flame from a gas/air fuel
radiant panel. The radiant panel generates a heat profile along the length of the sample. A gas
pilot burner is used to ignite the carpet and the distance the floor covering burns to
extinguishment is converted to watts per square centimetre (watts/cm2).
EN 13501-1 - this is a combination of four reaction to fire tests to obtain a classification from
A1fl (no contribution to fire) to F1fl (no performance determined). This is mandatory for carpets
in any European Union country and is a harmonised system for floorcoverings and this
classification is also used to 'CE Mark' products. Carpets would normally be between B1-fl and
C1-fl categories and due to the strict adoption and components of this test it is becoming an
International standard.
Cleaning & Maintenance

Carpets are quality engineered to provide a long useful life and enhance the indoor environment.
Carpet offers many advantages over other flooring systems but themaintenance program should
be considered part of the carpet buying decision. If proper maintenance is neglected, the carpet's
appearance will suffer, shortening the carpet's useful life and raising long term costs.

A comprehensive carpet care program consists of four elements :-

1. Reduction of soil entering the building (using barrier matting at entrances)
2. Removal of dry soil (by vaccuuming)
3. Removal of spots and spills (use our spot treatment guidelines)
4. Cleaning by high performance hot water extraction (more intensive cleaning maintenance)
Spot Removal Guidelines
Installation of Carpets

Generally there are four main methods used for the installation of carpets and tiles :-

1. Traditional stretch (Gripper & Underlay) can be used for both domestic & commercial
installations. A tackles strip (wooden strips with 2 or 3 rows of pins known as Gripper) are
attached around the perimeter of the area to be carpeted (gap between wall & Gripper strip
should be slightly less than thickness of the carpet). Underlay is placed inside the Gripper and
carpet is installed by stretching over grippers by use of a Knee Kicker or Power Stretcher in
length (pile direction) and width. Any seams or joins are produced by using a Hot Melt adhesive
2. Double stick (Support System Underlay & Adhesive) - mainly used in commercial
installations, although not exclusively so. They are well suited to large open areas, particularly
where heavy and/or wheeled traffic is present. A Heavy underlay is directly stuck to the sub-
floor using a permanent adhesive. Underlay should be installed in longest length possible
taking into account traffic direction and join placement. A wet adhesive (tackifier) is then
placed on the top surface of the underlay and carpet rolled out with any wrinkles or bubbles
smoothed out then carpet cut and installed at edges. It is advisable to use Gripper at perimeter
of the room to avoid any future movement..
3. Direct stick (Adhesive) - used in commercial situations and is also well suited to large open
areas where wheeled traffic is present. Some sacrifice is made on comfort and durability when
an underlay is not used. Adhesive (permanent) is rolled onto sub-floor and carpet directly stuck
and fitted to make a fixed bond. Paper release systems (where a paper layer is placed between
the carpet and sub-floor) can be incorporated in the above to allow easier release from the
floor for replacement .
4. Carpet Tiles - should be Loose Laid or sub-floor treated with a Tackifier (non-permanent
Adhesive) for support of tiles.

The floor surface must be clean, smooth, dry and structurally sound. Uneven concrete floors
should be screeded and should be neither un-structural nor loose and powdery. Concrete floors
laid direct to the ground should incorporate a damp proof membrane and adhesive systems are
not recommended on wooden floors.