Glossary of Terms

This glossary explains carpet terms that you may not be familiar with.


The ability of carpet to dissipate an electrostatic charge before it reaches the threshold of human sensitivity. Carpets with anti-static properties prevent or inhibit the build up of static electricity.


This is the hessian or synthetic material on the back of the carpet.

It is different to the pile on the top of the carpet and is the fabric which the pile is inserted into and the material that is in contact with the pad underneath.

In tufted carpet:

  • Primary backing: A woven or non-woven fabric into which the yarn is inserted by the tufting needles.
  • Secondary backing: Fabric laminated to the back of the carpet to increase dimensional stability.


A carpet containing a mixture of two or more fibers.


A term used to denote carpet produced in widths wider than 6 feet. Broadloom is usually 12 feet wide, but also may be 13’6” and 15’ wide.


The ability of the color within fibers to be retained when subjected to sunlight, spillages, rubbing and various solvents. Also sometimes called fade resistance.

Cushion, Pad, Underlay

Material placed under carpet to provide softness and adequate support when it is walked upon. Carpet cushion provides a softer feel underfoot and provides added acoustical and insulation benefits and longer wear life for the carpet.

Cushion under most residential carpet should be a thickness of no greater than 7/16” and no less than ¼” with 6 pound per cubic feet density. If the carpet is a low profile carpet, choose a cushion of no more than 3/8” thickness with 8 pounds density.


Hairy effect on carpet surface caused by fibers slipping out of the yarn with wear or wet cleaning. After several vacuums this should dissipate.


Brightness or sheen of fibers, yarns, carpet or fabrics.


A carpet or rug's pile surface.

Pile Height

The height of pile measured from the surface of the backing to the top of the pile, not including the thickness of the backing.

Pile Weight

Closeness of pile; amount of pile packed into a given area of carpet, usually measured in ounces per square yard.


A condition in certain fibers in which strands of the fiber separate and become knotted with other strands, causing a rough, spotty appearance.

Pilled tufts should never be pulled from carpet, but may be cut off with sharp scissors at the pile surfaces.

Printed Carpet

Carpet having colored patterns created in a similar way to printing images on flat textures such as paper.


The distance from a point in a pattern to the same point where it occurs again, measuring lengthwise on the carpet.


The ability of a carpet fabric or padding to spring back to its original shape and thickness after being crushed or walked upon.


A change in the appearance of a carpet due to localized distortions in the orientation of the fibers, tufts or loops. This means the pile will lay in a different direction than usual and may look different.

Shading is not a change in color or hue, but a difference in light reflection.


The distinct appearance and feel when touched of a structure of interwoven fibers.


To wind together two or more threads of yarn to produce a single strand.

Glossary and definitions provided by Godfrey Hirst North America. For further information please contact us.