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Carpet Glossary P

package dyeing

Package dyeing, like skein dyeing, is a yarn coloration process. Yarns wound onto perforated tubes or wire forms fit over perforated pipes in package dye machines which are either pressurized or atmospheric. Dye liquor is circulated by reversible pumps which force it through the yarn both from package center outward and vice-versa in two or more cycles to achieve level dyeing. Although package dyeing is well established in textiles, it is used only infrequently for carpet yarns. The tightly wound dye package inhibits yarn bulk development.


Also called cushion, underlay, or lining. Separate material serving as a cushion under a carpet or rug.


Artistic decorative design on the surface of carpet. It may be printed, woven or tufted with colored yarns, or sculptured in multiple pile heights.

peaking seams

seam peaking is a raised area where two pieces of carpet have been seamed together. As the carpet is stretched taut the backing of each side of carpet aligns with the hot melt seam tape forcing the carpet pile upward slightly. Natural lighting may cast a shadow on the opposite side of the seam producing the illusion of a color change at the seams. As the carpet stretches during use, this peaking relaxes and the illusion of color change disappears. The use of a six-inch seam iron during carpet installation can reduce seam peaking

perceived quality

The evaluation of quality bases on look, touch, feel rather through actual performance results. Often consumers misinterpret perceived quality as as quality.


Polyethylene Terephthalate. Used in residential and a few commercial applications, polyester has good color clarity, colorfastness, and resistance to water-soluble stains. Some staple polyester yarn comes from plastic bottle recycling facility. This "food-grade" PET Polyester fiber might be considered to be better quality than "carpet-grade" polyester fiber. It offers a number of enhancements over typical polyesters used in carpet manufacture, including a higher melting point.


The number of weft yarns shuttled across the warp yarns, and indicating closeness of weave lengthwise. A high grade Wilton fabric may have 39 picks per inch. or 3 shots of welt to each wire.

picks per inch

The number of filling insertions required to make one inch of fabric.

piece dyed

Carpet dyed, usually in solid colors, by immersion into an aqueous dye bath.

pigmented yarns

A dull or colored yarn spun from a solution to which a pigment has been added.


The upright ends of yarn, whether cut or looped, that form the wearing surface of carpets or rugs.

pile crush

Loss of pile thickness by compressing and bending of tufts caused by traffic and heavy furniture. The tufts collapse into the air space between them. It may be irreversible if the yarn has inadequate resilience and/or the pile has insufficient density for the traffic load. All carpets of ANSO and ANSO IV nylon meet high standards for pile crush resistance.

pile density

see density

pile height

The length of the extended tufts measured from the primary backing top surface to their tips. Pile tufts should be gently extended but not stretched during this measurement. This specification is usually expressed in fractions or decimal fractions of an inch in the U.S. and sometimes in millimeters elsewhere.

pile reversal

a localized, typically non-correctible directional change in the orientation of carpet pile direction as a result of various factors. This change in the direction of the pile lean can be caused by exposure to excessive wet or dry heat during manufacturing or it may be caused by various unknown factors and may develop after the carpet has been placed into service (see watermarking). Installation pile reversal occurs when the installer installs two adjacent carpet pieces with opposite direction of manufacture.

pile setting

Carpet cleaners’ term for the process of erecting the damp and disheveled pile after shampooing by means of a pile brush or a pile lifting machine.

pile yarn

The yarn which forms the tufts of the carpet. Also call “Face Yarn.”

pill test

Carpet flammability test described in federal regulations DOC FF1-70 and DOC FF2-70. It measures flammability as a function of the size of burn produced by timed burning tablet (Methenamine). Also used on the back of carpet. All carpet sold in the United States must pass the DOC FF1-70 flammability test.


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 surface.


1. A hairy effect on the carpet surface caused by the working loose of fibers under foot traffic or by slack yarn twise. This can be caused by poor latex penetration, poor yarn spinning, poor twisting and heat-setting, or improper carpet care or wet cleaning procedures. Not to be confused wtih shedding, a normal phenomenon associated with spun cut pile construction. 2. The result of poor penetration of latex through the fiber bundle of the tuft allowing individual hairs of fiber to pull away from the bundle. It is sometimes correctable by shearing. Carpet of continuous filament yarn is fuzzed by snagging and breaking.


See Gauge.


a single-level, cut-pile surface.

plush finish

A smooth carpet surface texture in which individual tufts are only minimally visible and the overall visual effect is that of a single level of fiber ends. This is normally achieved only on cut pile produced from non-heat-set singles spun yarns by brushing and shearing.


A single end component in a plied yarn, or the number which tells how many single ends have been ply-twisted together. Many 1-ply yarns are used in carpet. In cut-pile carpet (e.g. saxony) plied yarns must be heat-set to prevent untwisting under traffic. Multiply continuous filament yarns made by fiber producers are sometimes air-entangled rather than twisted together.


One tuft of pile.




In synthetics, the basic chemical unit from which fibers are made. It is made of large complex molecules formed by uniting simple molecules (monomers).


High molecular weight chemical compounds formed by repeated linking of smaller chemical units called monomers. Polymers from which fibers are made are long chain molecules in which the monomers are linked end to end linearly.

polyolefin/polypropylene (olefin)

Synthetic. Chemically inert, lightweight, floats, hydrophobic, high vapor transport properties. Abrasion, stain, static, sunlight, and odor resistant. High strength and high insulating properties. Durable, resilient, anti-microbial, bacteria resistant, low thermal conductivity, colorfast, washable, and dry cleanable.

polyurethane backing

Also a cushion type of backing, polyurethane is an exceptionally hard, wear resistant backing.

polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

A heavy backing which is applied to the back of carpet tiles and 6 foot carpet to provide dimensional stability.

post dyeing methods

(Piece Dyeing)

Piece dyeing is the application of color from an aqueous dye bath onto unfinished carpet consisting only of primary backing and undyed yarns. Piece dyeing includes beck dyeing in batches of approximately 150 running yards and continuous piece dyeing of almost unlimited sized dye lots. Piece dyeing, either beck or continuous, is generally for solid colors. However, two or more colors can be produced in tweed, moresque, or stripe patterns in the same carpet from a single dyebath. This is achieved by using fibers of modified and/or altered dye affinity. They are available from major producers of nylon and polyester. Included in these dye variants are light , regular, deep and ultra-deep dyeing acid dyeable nylon, cationic dyeable nylon, and polyester, as well as regular and deep dyeing disperse dyeable polyester. Selection of fiber dye variants and appropriate dyestuffs can produce both tone-on-tone and contrasting (cross-dye) colors.

post dyeing methods

(Batch Dyeing)

In batch dyeing in becks, the carpet is moved in and out of the dye bath by a motorized reel, usually in “rope” form. Pumps circulate the dye liquor. The two processes provide maximum color uniformity, or “level dyeing” in dyer’s jargon. Rinsing and drying follows.

post dyeing methods

(Continuous Piece Dyeing)

Continuous piece dyeing typically employs an applicator consisting of a polished roll rotating in a continuously fed, full-width trough against a doctor blade. Carpet moves in open width under the applicator. A film of dye liquid, scraped off the roll by the doctor blade, cascades into the carpet pile. Dye fixation is achieved in a steamer, which follows the applicator in a continuous process. A tenter frame oven dryer completes the continuous dye range. Foam and spray techniques are also used for dye application on some continuous dyeing ranges. Achievement of side to side and lengthwise color uniformity in continuous dyeing requires skill and operational care.

post dyeing methods

(Random Multicolor Dyeing)

In order to attain multicolor effects on a continuous dye range, highly modified applicators break the cascading dye liquor into drops which rain down onto the carpet pile in controlled random patterns. These machines, developed by the Kusters Corporation of Germany, are called TAK or Multi-TAK applicators. The former applies a single color, and the latter usually applies two colors, which may overlap to produce three shades. the process, in all other respects, is identical to Kusters’ continuous piece dyeing procedures. TAK or Multi-TAK applicators are often arranged in tandem with solid color applicators to give added styling flexibility.

power stretcher

A carpet installation tool used to stretch carpet in overpad tackless strip carpet installations. It consists of a pinned plate which grips carpet, tubular extensions, a padded end which in use bears against an opposing wall or other structure, and a lever system which multiplies the installer’s applied stretching force. All contract carpet installation should be power stretched unless the area is so small that this is impossible. IF (and only if) power stretching is impossible, knee kickers may be used.

pre-dyeing methods

Space dyeing is yarn dyeing, primarily for nylon BCF, that produces segments of different colors along the length of the yarn. The three most frequently used techniques are knit-print-deknit, warp sheet printing, and multicolor skein dyeing.

primary backing

A component of tufted carpet consisting of woven or nonwoven fabric into which pile yarn tufts are inserted by the tufting needles. It is the carrier fabric for the pile yarn and should not be confused with secondary backing which is a reinforcing fabric laminated to the back or tufted carpet subsequent to the tufting process. Most primary backing is either woven or nonwoven polypropylene, although woven jute is still sometimes. used. Some synthetic primary backing s have nylon fiber attached to their upper surfaces to make them union dyeable with nylon pile yarns.

printed carpet

Carpet having colored patterns applied by methods analogous to those used for printing flat textiles and paper. These include flatbed screen printing employing woven fabric screens, rotary screen printing with perforated sheet steel screens. Stalwart printing employing sponge rubber pattern elements on wooden rollers, and modern computer programmed jet printing.


The process of producing a pattern with dyestuffs on carpets and rugs. May be done by several methods, such as screen printing (e.g., Stalwart equipment) or ink jet printers.


A carpet installation defect in carpet seams in which one side is longer than the adjoining carpet edge. The excess carpet gathers into wrinkles or pleats at the seam.

PVC (polyvinyl chloride)

A heavy backing which is applied to the back of carpet tiles and 6 foot carpet to provide dimensional stability.

Did you know?

A number of carpet problems may not be carpet defects. They can occur as a result of environmental conditions or carpet cleaning problems.