Free Carpet Information and Buying Guide
Alan Fletcher - Carpet Expert and Consumer Advocate - I do not sell or install carpet.
Berber Carpet Styles Explained
What Is Berber?
It has has been around for a long time, originally hand-made by the Berber tribe of North Africa.
It is still hand-made today in some parts of Africa, but it does not resemble the Berber styles you will find at your local carpet retailer.
Berber became popular in America in the early 1980's and has grown in popularity ever since. Homeowners have many choices and options with Berber styles, colors patterns and quality. It can help make your home look beautiful and elegant.
Here are some important facts and useful Berber carpet information to help you choose the right style for your home.
1. Simple Loop
2. Multi-color Loop
3. Patterned Loop
4. Cut and Loop
5. Patterned cut and Loop
6. Cut Pile (no loops aka California Berber)
Should I Choose a Looped or Non-Looped?
Some Berber style carpets just have random loops like the looped style shown here. If it has a pattern it would be called a Patterned Loop.
Berber carpets are thicker, heavier and much harder to cut and seam together. Don't be surprised when the installation cost is one to three dollars more per square yard than for other non-Berber styles. There may also be an added fee for installing Berber carpet on stairs too.
Berber styles usually require a more dense padding. In most cases, the minimum padding density is 8-pounds and the maximum padding thickness is 1/4" to 3/8".
This is what the carpet manufacturer requires to keep your warranty in force. Always read your new carpet warranty before you buy to make sure you purchase the correct padding. Call the manufacturer directly if you are unsure of which padding to use.
If the style has a repeating pattern then it is called a “Patterned Cut and Loop”. These are typically more costly but are quite beautiful and have an elegant appearance.
If you choose a Berber with a pattern, and your rooms are wider than 12 feet, then you may need to make sure you order enough extra carpet to allow for seaming and aligning the pattern match properly.
California Berbers often have a speckled-egg look with light earth tones infused with flecks of colors like red, orange, blues and greens though-out. Very Beautiful and there is no pattern with this style.
Looped Berber Styles
Loops can be easily snagged. If you have active kids or pets then a Looped Berber Style may not be a good choice for you. Repairing snagged loops can be very costly.
Berber Loops tend to quickly bend over or "crush" in moderate to heavy-traffic applications. This is especially true with Berber carpets made of Olefin.
Larger loops are more prone to matting and crushing. Basically the loops just fall over and never stand upright again, no matter what you do. Choosing a Berber with smaller loops will decrease the chances for matting and crushing.
Choosing a Berber made from a Nylon fiber will reduce the chances of matting and crushing of the pile significantly.
How Much Does Berber Cost?
Nylon Berber Styles range from $35 to $60+ per square yard, depending on the type of Nylon and the carpet style. Berbers made with Olefin range from $15 to $30 per square yard. How to buy Carpet Remnants
Berbers made from Wool can easily cost $100 per square yard and go up from there. Learn more about Carpet Cost and Prices
Fiber Choices Wool, Nylon or Olefin?
When it comes to selecting the right Carpet Fiber for you there are two main things you must consider: Cost and Longevity.
Wool is a natural fiber derived from sheep. Wool is the most expensive fiber to buy and while it is very soft, fire-resistant and durable, it is also the most costly to maintain.
Wool carpet must be cleaned by a professional carpet cleaner who has been specially trained to clean wool carpet. The cost is significantly higher than for the cleaning of all other types of residential carpet. Carpet made of wool can last a lifetime if cared for properly.
Berber carpet made of Wool can easily cost $100 per square yard and go way up from there.
Nylon is a very durable fiber and is less costly than wool. Nylon cleans easily and resists stains very well.
Nylon is the most resilient fiber which gives it the ability to retain its like-new appearance longer than any other synthetic fiber.
Depending on your amount of foot traffic in your home, a good quality Nylon carpet can last up to 20 years or more if well cared for.
Berber made of Nylon range from $30 to $60 per square yard, depending on the type of Nylon and the carpet style. (The popular “Soft” Nylons are a bit more costly.) Learn more about Nylon fibers
Olefin (also called Polypropylene) is the least costly fiber to consider.
Olefin is not a soft fiber, but it is inexpensive to manufacture and is very durable. However, Olefin is prone to matting and crushing because it is not very resilient.
Olefin Berber styles with large loops mat down quickly so it is best to choose a Berber style with small loops to get the best durability possible.
During the manufacturing process the Olefin fiber becomes oily and while they try to remove as much of the oil through a multiple rinsing process, it is difficult to remove it completely.
The residual oil left on the fiber strand tends to attract dirt and makes the carpet difficult to keep clean. Homeowners often complain saying old stains tend to magically reappear a few days after a professional steam cleaning.
Berbers made with Olefin are very reasonably priced but generally only last up to 10 years if well cared for and in low to medium foot-traffic applications.
Loop Size Matters!
Berbers made with larger loops tend to mat down more quickly, so choosing a Berber with made with smaller loops may be a better choice and will resist matting better than Berbers with larger loops.
Commercial quality Looped Berber styles usually have the smallest loops and carpets made from Olefin (polypropylene) is a common choice for those who want a higher level of durability and less matting or crushing of the pile over time.
In most commercial settings, the carpet is glued down without using any padding. In a home application using a thin but dense padding can make the carpet softer to walk on, but can significantly reduce the overall lifespan and increase the potential for the carpet to stretch out and develop wrinkles over time.
Cost to Install
Berber carpet is much more difficult to install than regular carpet styles. Berber is a heavy carpet and is much more difficult to handle, seam and cut.
Most installers charge at least $1-2 extra per square yard for installing Berber carpet and also charge a higher price for installing Berber on stairs. Learn more about Carpet Installation Cost
Best Padding for Berbers?
All Berber carpet styles require a higher density padding and a lower thickness than most other non-Berber carpet styles.
In most cases, a minimum of 8-pound density and a thickness of no more than 3/8” is required by the carpet manufacturer.
Check with the carpet manufacturer or read their warranty to make sure you select the correct padding specifications.
Using the wrong padding specifications can void your new carpet warranty and may cause your carpet to wear out faster or develop waves and wrinkles.
Commercial Berber Styles
The loops, if any, are very small and packed tightly together to help prevent matting and crushing. They can be made with one solid color or from multiple colors.
Most homeowners don’t choose a commercial grade unless they need to use a wheelchair or walker. The lower pile height makes it much easier for the elderly or handicapped to walk or roll.
There are hundreds of various styles to consider and no way for me to show them all here. Visit your local carpet dealer and see all they have to offer.