Berber carpet is an option that can have multiple meanings because loop, pattern, and Berber patterns are used interchangeably when describing this flooring option. That means the term can have a different meaning for each person. That is why you must listen closely to a salesperson or industry insider when you consider this option. With multiple meanings, you might expect one outcome and get another.
The Berbers were an indigenous tribe in North Africa who became famous because of their hand-woven textiles. Their work features a distinctive knot, which then featured various color specks from the wool materials used to make the item. It describes a loop carpet that features an appearance which is similar to what the older textiles provided to recipients in the past.
Most Berber carpets describe loop carpeting. This construction occurs when the yarn is tufted or sewn into the backing of the flooring item while leaving it uncut. You can find level loops where the carpet is all one height, or patterned loops where varying heights occur consistently throughout the piece. Some loops may even be cut when choosing this option.
List of the Pros of Berber Carpet
1. It has a reputation for being cheaper than other residential carpet styles.
One of the most common reasons why homeowners look to Berber carpet first when shopping for new flooring is that the cost of this product is minimal. You’ll get a lot more for your investment when choosing it compared to other styles without sacrificing color options, durability, or ease of care.
Most of the carpets that fall into this category tend to be made from olefin fiber today, which is a lot cheaper than using wool or nylon to create the flooring. That means the manufacturing costs are significantly less as well because there are fewer steps to follow compared to the cut styles which are available today.
2. The durability of the carpet meets or exceeds other styles and options.
Berber carpet remains a perennial favorite because it tends to be more durable than other forms of residential carpet. You will want to look for a higher-quality product which retains the loops to take advantage of this benefit. If you were to compare the value of a low-quality Berber to an average Saxony, then the latter would come out on top. It is when you compare the equal cost of a Berber to another option that you’ll see this positive attribute.
3. It is fairly easy to clean stains and spills on a Berber carpet.
Another significant advantage to consider with Berber carpet is the ease of spot maintenance and cleaning needs. The looped construction of the flooring means that any liquids which impact the surface of the material tend to stay on top of it instead of soaking into the backing and pad. If you can reach the problem area early, then you can usually remove the entire mess with minimal impact to the carpet itself.
If you don’t make it to the stain in time, then the flecked coloration of most Berber carpets works to this advantage as well. This design does a fantastic job of hiding any stains and soiling that do occur over time.
4. Berber carpet is resistant to crushing.
When you keep heavy furniture items in the same place on your carpet for an extended time, then the crushing weight can impact the fibers in numerous adverse ways. Because of the loop design of Berber carpet, it resists the crushing impacts made in the short- and long-term use of the flooring. It will not show your footsteps like other carpet designs sometimes do. You will not see the same vacuum marks on the surface either. Those loops also protect the carpet against long-term crushing so that you can recover the flooring efficiently when moving items around.
5. There are anti-slip options available for Berber carpet.
The construction of the loops for this flooring option makes Berber carpet an excellent installation option for stairs and other areas where slipping could be problematic. You will still receive the ageless look of this design no matter where you put it, but you can also reduce the slickness of a surface to make your home safer. The polished look will also work well in a formal space, while still supporting the traffic you have with your entertainment areas.
List of the Cons of Berber Carpet
1. Berber carpet can snag fairly easily because of the loops it contains.
Because a Berber carpet uses uncut loops to create a finished product, it is possible for items to get caught in them. When this incident occurs, there is a strong likelihood that the entire loop could be pulled from the backing. Although this action does require a lot of force to become a problem, you could see it happen when dragging a piece of furniture across your floor. You might also encounter problems when wearing cleats or high heels as you walk across the carpet.
2. Cats really love to live in homes that feature Berber carpets.
The looped nature of a Berber carpet is a temptation that many cats cannot resist. These pets have a natural desire to scratch at items because it helps to keep their nails healthy. The thick pile that the loops create can cause them to begin kneading the material, which can eventually cause damage. If you have a kitty at home who doesn’t like to use their scratching board or post, then this carpet option might be something that you would want to reconsider using.
3. You need to use a specific vacuum cleaner to maintain Berber carpet.
If you have a vacuum cleaner which uses a beater bar to pick up materials, then you will either need to replace the tool or choose a different flooring option. The bristles on the power head or bar can snag the carpet loops, wrapping it around the device. You can cause individual strands to unravel or smoke the belt on the vacuum (or both), which means it will cost more to maintain the cleanliness of your home.
If your vacuum gives you the option to turn off the beater bar, then take it. You’ll save yourself a headache later on.
4. Berber carpet is not as soft as some of the other residential flooring options.
One of the most common reasons why homeowners decide against using Berber carpet is that it doesn’t feel very soft on your feet. Even when you use thicker strands and larger loops, a cut pile carpet tends to feel better. If you choose one of the cheaper options in this category that use olefin, then the material can even be rough against your skin. There are some new fiber options, including Mohawk SmartStrand carpets, that feel better than the older designs, but you will want to verify the feel of the carpet before finalizing your purchase.
5. It will not absorb debris like other carpets.
Berber carpets tend to look dirty all of the time because the loops do not allow for debris absorption. When you invest in a tighter weave of the fibers, this disadvantage becomes even worse. Although they can withstand the high traffic areas of the home reasonably well, the flooring will always look like it is dirty. The speckles in the fibers can help to hide some of this, but it requires daily upkeep to keep it looking its best.
6. You will usually need to hire someone to install a Berber carpet.
Because many Berber carpets come with a specific weave pattern, you will usually need to hire someone to professionally install the carpet in your home. The speckles that are artificially added to the fibers can be challenging to match, which means the seams of your flooring show more often than they would with other carpet styles. If you want to take the DIY approach, the best way to manage this issue is to use a 6-inch seam iron to reduce peaking issues. Then add another 15% to your square footage to ensure that there is enough material available for matching purposes.
7. One run on your Berber carpet can ruin the entire thing.
When you purchase a Berber carpet, then you are buying a flooring option that is made from a single continuous loop. That means a loose strand will quickly create a run across the entire room. Should this disadvantage occur, it is challenging to repair the surface. If the run gets to be large enough, then you’ll need to replace the entire damaged section or the entire room. That’s why you need to avoid wearing heels on this carpet, and your pets should always keep their nails trimmed too.
8. Some Berber carpets have a relatively low flashpoint.
Because most Berber carpets are made from synthetic materials, the cheaper models without fire-resistance can ignite at just 170F. That means it could be a fire hazard in some properties. Homeowners have noticed that when they drag a heavy furniture item across their carpet, the friction can create enough heat to produce a scorching effect on the fiber. Because you cannot repair any burn marks, you must replace the damaged section of carpet to restore the look of your flooring.
9. It will cost more to professionally clean the carpet.
Although a Berber carpet is harder to stain initially, you will discover that your annual deep cleaning work will require a lot more effort. You cannot typically steam clean this flooring option because the tight weave and looped design cause water retention. When you schedule a professional cleaning service, then a dry solvent or chemical agent is used to create the thorough cleaning action that you want. If you are sensitive to these items, then you would need to stay out of the home for several days after the services were rendered to avoid an adverse reaction.
10. You can still crush the loops of your Berber carpet.
The durability of a Berber carpet might be better than some of the other options on the market today, but that does not mean it is impervious to heavy foot and furniture movement. When you place this flooring option in your high-traffic spots, then the loops will almost always become crushed over time. Once the loops become trampled, then the carpet will seem like it is always dirty. You will see a noticeable color ridge between the traffic lane and the rest of the carpet with this disadvantage.
The pros and cons of Berber carpet are essential to consider because the flooring in your home should last for at least 10 years. If you purchase a lower-end option that uses the loop design, you might receive 5-7 years at most with this carpet. That’s why you should invest as much as you can into the final product that seems right for your home. Spending a little more now can help you save a lot in the future.
Natalie Regoli, Esq. is the author of this post and the editor-in-chief of our blog. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington and her Masters in Law from The University of Texas School of Law. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Natalie has almost two decades of experience as a lawyer and banker. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.