Cut Pile versus Looped Pile.– Bradford's Rug Gallery
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Cut Pile versus Looped Pile.

 What's the difference?

Your carpet’s pile type will have a significant impact on its appearance, comfort, durability, and ease of maintenance.

It can be overwhelming when first starting on a rug search. There are an endless number of things to consider: color, texture, pile thickness, sizing, material content. It can be hard to choose. This blog post is taking a look at one specific aspect of area rugs, cut pile versus looped pile. Hopefully this bit of information will help eliminate some of the confusion and give you confidence to make the best choice for you. 

Close up of cut pile above.

First, let's focus on cut pile. Cut pile is a style of carpet where the surface is sheared, exposing the ends of the cut carpet fiber.  Cut piles come in different fiber lengths from short sheared all the way up to shag. They are the most popular styles of carpet today and tend to be softer underfoot and softer to the touch than most loop pile carpets.The advantage of a cut pile carpet is that it is typically very dense making it durable but also comfortable, so great for living spaces like dens, bedrooms, and living rooms as well as hallways and stairs. Cut pile rugs, that are a solid color with no pattern, may show vacuum marks or footprints, heathered colors and patterns help hide footprints and vacuum tracks.

Close up of looped pile above.

Now, on to looped pile. The advantage of a loop pile carpet is that it is very durable and can stand up to heavy foot traffic. This makes it a good choice for hallways and stairs. It is also trackless, again meaning no vacuum marks or footprints will be visible. The disadvantage of loop pile is that the fibers can be snagged and pulled loose by sharp objects or pet claws (especially hand hooked rugs).  This can make a rug look disheveled over time (with hand hooked rugs you can completely lose small sections pile and end up with bare spots). Just remember to trim off (don't pull) any loose or untidy bits with a sharp pair of scissors.

Effects of rugs made with both looped and cut pile.


Using both cut and loop pile together in the same rug can create some interesting effects. With a loop pile you are looking at the side of the twisted of yarn, with cut pile you are looking at the ends of the cut yarn. Generally, cut pile absorbs light more giving a "darker" appearance while, loop pile reflects more light giving a brighter appearance. This effect can be minimized or maximized by the quality and type of yarn or fiber used in making the rug. 

When considering cleaning, we recommend cleaning cut and looped pile in the same way. Always start by blotting with a white cloth moistened with luke warm water. The material content of the rug and what was spilled is much more of a factor in how to clean it than the type of pile. For more information on cleaning rugs please read our previous blog Cleaning Your Wool Rug. Also feel free to contact us if you have any questions about how to clean you rug. 

So which is better? In most cases deciding between a cut pile or loop pile carpet is really just a matter of personal preference. Not all cut pile rugs nor all loop pile rugs are made equal. It really comes down to picking out something that you love!

Which do you like better loop or cut pile?