Carpet manufactured in the UK, for commercial purposes, is primarily done by tufting or weaving polypropylene, nylon or wool blends or a combination of these fibres.
With advances in manufacturing technology, the majority of all carpet produced today is tufted. It takes about an hour to make a roll of carpet that might take eight hours to weave. To make tufted carpet, hundreds of yarn-threaded needles are pushed through the primary backing fabric for form loops or tufts, which may be left as is or cut.
A heavy adhesive coating is applied to hold the tufts in place and a secondary backing is usually glued on for strength and stability. A wide variety of styles and textures can then be created using various techniques.
Level Loop – When all the loops are of the same height, a highly flexible and durable carpet is created which has a natural, casual appearance even when (commonly) it is made from synthetic fibres. The tight loop texture tends to hide marks so it's a good blend between luxury and practicality.
Multi-level Loop – The loops vary to two or sometimes three loop heights to create informal, random textures which are very forgiving for marks and stains.
Fibre bonded carpets (sometimes called needle felt) are created by needling fibres into a tight construction that is often structured in some way. Many needle felts are ribbed, flat or have a hobnail design – the fibres are not stitched into the backing in any way.
Twist – The popular twist carpet is the cut-pile standard. The yarn is tightly twisted and often heatset to retain this feature and the result is a versatile, textured finish that is ideal for plain colours.
Velvet – Velvet textures (sometimes called 'velour' or 'plush') all have a level surface pile of approx. 5mm to 10mm height, which is then sheared to give a smooth finish. With very little twist in the yarn, the ends blend together which then further enhances the overall finish.
Cut and Loop
When some of the pile is cut and other left as loop, a variety of surface textures and patterns can be created (in a variety of colours). The multi-level surface is excellent for hiding footprints and stains.
Woven - Woven carpet is created on looms by simultaneously interlacing face yarns and backing yarns into a complete product, thereby eliminating the need for a secondary backing. A small amount of latex-back coating is usually applied for bulk. Principal variations of woven carpet include velvet, Wilton and Axminster. Woven carpet may be in a tiny minority of today’s production but still produces some of the finest carpets which are used for prestigious installations.
Axminster - The pile of the carpet is inserted into the backing as it is woven and cut to length, creating U-shaped tufts to give a velvety surface. The process locks in the fibres to create a carpet of high durability and performance retention as well as a luxury feel. The process allows for intricate designs and colours to be used – although modern trends mean that the traditional patterned Axminster has given way to current fashion trends for plain carpets.
Wilton - Wilton woven carpets are produced in a similar way to Axministers – the principal difference being that a continuous fibre is woven all the way through. The carpet can be sheared to create a range of cut and loop textured effects. The result is a high quality carpet of unrivalled durability.
Flat Weave - Manufactured in the same way as Wilton. Flat weave is a loop pile which allows the yarn to be woven across a wider area to create a flatter, more textured effect.