Carpet manufacturing today is a mix of old-world craftsmanship and 21st century innovation. Carpet is manufactured in one of two ways – weaving or tufting.
Woven carpets are made primarily with wool and are exceptionally durable (and frequently expensive).
Woven carpets can be produced by hand – much in the same way that has been used for centuries – or by machine. Both methods follow the same procedures.
Yarn is woven through or around vertical fibres called warps, then locked into place with horizontal strands called wefts.
Woven carpets can utilize a wide variety of colours to create intricate patterns in the highest quality carpets.
More than 90 % of carpets sold today are created using the tufting method.
Tufting machines use computers to determine patterns, styles, construction and density.
Once the fibres are in place, the carpet is dyed using a variety of methods to create patterns or effects.
For cut-pile carpeting, the final stage is stretched, or cutting the pile loops. This stage will help determine the carpet’s feel and softness. The carpet also receives a secondary stretched backing to give it stability and allow it to be stretched during installation.
Most carpets today also receive stain protection during the manufacturing phase.
The quality of a carpet will also depend on the type of yarn used, and how that yarn is treated during manufacturing.
Continuous fibres are heat-set and twisted at the mill to produce a tightly twisted product most commonly found in frieze carpets. This kind of yarn is less bulky but holds its shape for a long time.
The other common type of yarn is spun or staple yarn, which is made from short lengths of fibre that are spun together, creating a yarn that is much less likely to unravel. Staple yarns will go through a complex series of treatments, including blending, spinning, twisting and heat setting.