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Flooring Fundamentals

Types of Carpet & Construction


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Types of Carpet & Construction
Knowing basic carpet construction and commonly used terminology will help you select the perfect carpet for your space. 

Carpet Types

Broadloom Carpet - rolls of carpet that are typically installed wall-to-wall over cushion. Shaw Floors has been manufacturing broadloom carpet since 1967. Broadloom carpet can be bound into area rugs as well.

Carpet Tile - carpet manufactured in pre-sized shapes with integrated backing. Check out our Floorigami peel-and-stick carpet tile to learn more.

Image of Floorigami carpet tile being installed on the floor

Carpet Construction 

Carpet is manufactured by sewing strands of yarn into a backing material, creating thousands of yarn loops known as “piles.” There are three types of carpet determined by pile:


Cut Pile - yarn loops are cut. This is one of the most popular carpet types. Texture helps to hide footprints and vacuum cleaner marks.

Shag - cut-pile with a taller height of yarn. 

Saxony - cut-pile with lower, smoother finishes. 

Frieze - cut-pile with twisty, medium height that creates a less formal but perfect foundation for a variety of spaces.

close up image of cut pile carpet
Browse our Cut Pile Carpets


Loop Pile - yarn loops remain uncut. This type of carpet has more texture or pattern and is known for excellent appearance retention.

close up image of loop pile carpet

Browse our Loop Pile Carpets


Cut and Loop Pile/Patterns - combination of cut and loop pile yarns. This creates a wide variety of patterns.

close up of cut and loop pile carpet

Browse our Patterned Loop Carpets

Fiber Types

The most versatile of all fibers, nylon provides excellent durability and flexibility. It is the most commonly used carpet fiber and can be found in a wide range of both cut pile and loop pile styles. Nylon also has great color flexibility and uniformity, and many yarn systems are exceptionally soft. Though not inherently stain resistant, most Shaw Floors carpet made with nylon feature stain-resistant treatment for protection against household spills and stains.

Shaw Floors premium branded Anso® Nylon has a nearly 50 year history of innovation and quality. It offers leading-edge styling and outstanding performance and comes standard on our Caress, Color That Speaks to You and Foundations collections. Anso Nylon is also Cradle to Cradle® Silver Certified, meaning its design has been evaluated to assess its positive impact on both people and the environment.

Browse our Nylon Carpet

Polyester (PET)
Polyester offers exceptional softness and color clarity and is naturally stain and fade resistant.

Shaw Floors Endurance fiber is high performance PET, providing durability, lasting softness and beauty. It can also withstand extreme conditions such as harsh sunlight to protect against fading. Endurance fiber comes standard on carpet in the Bellera collection.

Browse our High Performance PET Carpet

Polypropylene (Olefin)
P​olypropylene is inherently stain and fade resistant. It is not as resilient as nylon or polyester and has limited styling. Polypropylene is normally used in loop pile construction in which there is less need for resiliency.

Carpet Backing

​Traditional carpet backing serves to secure and hold the face fiber yarn in place. Backings may also feature protective treatments including anti-stain or anti-static. Shaw Floors backings do more than simply keep carpet in place, they also:

  • Improve insulation
  • Reduce noise
  • Increase softness and comfort
  • Help resist wear and tear more effectively
  • Provide improved tuft bind and lamination strength
  • Prevent wrinkles and potential re-stretch issues

LifeGuard Backing
LifeGuard® Spill-proof Backing™ by Shaw Floors provides complete, clean-up protection by keeping spills and odor‑causing pet accidents from soaking through to the pad and subfloor. LifeGuard is easy to clean and pet approved so you can live confidently and worry-free.

image of carpet pulled back to show lifeguard spill-proof carpet backing

Learn More About LifeGuard Backing

Texture Terminology

Carpet textures vary depending on the length of the yarn, the twist in the yarn and the height.

Solids - single colored effect with uniform texture. 
Tonals - tone on tone color variation that creates a textured aesthetic. 
Accents - color variances that complement each other. The color of the carpet is speckled, not only making it visually appealing but also hiding stains and soil. Accents can be applied to both solids and tonals. 

Browse Carpet by Texture

close up image of accent carpet