Ever wonder what’s underfoot in that carpet? Whether a high or low pile, they typically appear as yarn attached to an open weave canvas backing. But how to they get those interesting shapes in a sculptured carpet?
When Were Rugs Invented & How Long Has Carpet Been Around?
Back in the day the primary method of making carpets were by weaving, usually out of wool. Carpets have been with us for some time, dating of some samples place them as far back as 400 to 500 BC. The thick heavy knotted carpets where probably used by nomadic tribes to cover their floors, isolating them from the ground. They were woven on a horizontal loom. By covering their floors with rugs and carpeting they isolated themselves from direct contact with the ground, and thus negating heat loss. Bedouins and Mongols are two nomadic groups that traditionally used rugs and carpets. Originally natural dyes were used with synthetic dyes introduced around 1860-1870.
Modern & Contemporary Area Rugs & Carpets
Synthetic dyes and fibers are almost exclusively used in modern carpets. The primary backing is polypropylene and is used to hold the fibers. Most carpets utilize a pad or padding between the floor and carpet. High quality padding is what makes a carpet feel soft and promotes long carpet life. Many color designs in modern carpets are printed or sprayed using the dyes to create multi-color patterns. Most carpet fibers are polypropylene or nylon blends.
Tufted carpets are machine made; and incorporate from 800 up to 2000 needles spread across a width of usually 12 feet. As the needles penetrate the backing, hooks on the needles hook the yarn and pull up through the backing. This creates a looped pile carpet. When these loops are cut they create a cut pile carpet, the dominate style used in most homes. The needles are computer guided and capable of creating sculpted look using various pile elevations.
In weaving you need to know your warps and wefts. Warps are the long vertical strands that serve as the base fibers for the weave. Wefts are laid horizontally across the yarn locking them in place. Woven carpeting tends to be of a higher quality compared to tufted carpets, and this quality is reflected in the price. Woven carpets are usually made from synthetic fibers, polypropylene, nylon and polyester. Natural fibers are generally wool yarns, the most durable and expensive, but silk and bamboo are used as well. Some carpets may still be hand woven, but most are machine made. Traditional rugs still use a lot of manual labor, but again many are machine woven. After weaving, the carpets are dyed. Single colored carpets are dyed before other processes are complete, but multicolored carpets are dyed after, and multiple steps are used, each step to add a new color using a silk-screening process. The backing is fused to a secondary backing under pressure using a coat of latex as the adhesive. Carpets then have the stain protection applied.
Short VS Long Carpet Fibers
When purchasing a carpet for installation in your home, you need to weigh the cost versus life of the carpet. The higher the quality the longer the life and quality usually also translates to holding its “look” far longer than a cheaper carpets. Shorter fibers weather foot traffic better. Long shags can “mat” and look tatty if not well vacuumed to “fluff” the fibers.
Carpet Installation & More in Tracy, Livermore, San Ramon, Dublin, Mountain House, Walnut Creek, Danville & the East Bay of California
Your choice, but it will need maintaining and occasional attention by a professional. Call Carpet Care 2000 for any consultation to upkeep your carpet. We handle all your carpet needs from installation and repair to cleaning and stain removal!