If you’re starting to search for new carpeting or a new rug, one of the first things you’ll learn is about rug pile height.
Rug pile refers to the visible tufts of yarn that make up a rug’s surface. In other words, it’s the face of the rug. Rug pile can be cut or left in loops. It can be thick or thin, soft or course. All will affect not only the feel of the pile, but also the durability.
Rug pile comes in either cut or loop. Cut is the more common of the two. A cut tufted rug is created by clipping the yarn loops. A cut pile leaves a rug or carpet soft and dense, making them the perfect choice for areas where bare feet are common, like the bedroom or living room.
Loop pile are woven or tufted, and the yarn loops are left uncut. Since the loops are left intact, they tend to be more durable, making them the perfect choice for high traffic areas.
Pile heights vary greatly, put in general fall into three categories:
- Low – less than ¼ inch
- Medium – ¼ to ½ inch
- High – ½ to ¾ inch
While you can find pile height higher than ¾ inch on occasion, they are usually labeled with a plush pile height. In general, the longer the pile gets, the softer the rug feels. Low pile rugs are more tightly woven and dense, which causes them to look and feel flat and coarse. High pile rugs have longer, looser threads, which provide a softer touch and a more elegant appearance.
Low pile rugs are easier to clean and more durable than their high pile counterparts. Since the fibers are shorter, dust and dirt sit on the surface and don’t dig down into the rug. With light, frequent vacuuming, the rug will stay in great shape over time.
High pile rugs offer more room for dirt to get between the fibers and settle down into the rug or carpet. More intense vacuuming is needed, with occasional stain treatments to keep high pile rugs in top condition.
Cut or loop? Both can make a great addition to your home. Carefully consider where you’ll be installing the rug or carpet and what kind of traffic level it will receive. Then make the right choice for your situation.