Berber Carpet: Description, Pros and Cons

If I had to guess, Berber carpet would be the most recognizable carpet style among homeowners.

So what is it that makes stand out from “regular” carpet?

Mostly it’s loop design (more on this later). But maybe the bigger question is, does it make a difference in how it performs?

That’s the purpose of this article. We’ll cover:

  • what exactly is Berber carpet? (including a picture)
  • why a carpet style like Berber doesn’t tell you a lot about carpet performance (and what does)
  • advantages of Berber
  • disadvantages of Berber

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What is Berber carpet?

4 Berber carpet samples

This more complicated to answer than you’d think (but not too complicated, so stick with me).

There are two definitions of Berber. The more literal version (more interesting version), and the version that is used in the carpet industry today (more useful for carpet shoppers).

The literal and historic definiton of Berber comes from the native people of North Africa. These people were called “Berbers.” Thousands of years ago, the Berber people created a unique weave when hand-creating textiles. This weave had multi-colored flecks and loops/knots of various sizes. This is the original Berber weave.

The modern defintion of Berber in the carpet industry includes more variations. The carpet can be any color (uniform or flecked), and the loops can be one size or varied.

In summary: Berber now is used to describe any looped carpet (the other type of carpet, which is seen more commonly, is a cut pile)

Why Berber doesn’t tell you much about carpet performance (and what does)

Before we dive into the pros and cons of Berber, it helps to know why Berber doesn’t tell you as much as you’d think about peformance.

Berber only tells you style of weave of the carpet. This does affect how it performs t0 some degree, but there are other more important pieces of the puzzle.

In particular, the carpet material you choose, and the carpet face weight matter more than the style. That said, the weave does make a difference in some performance areas, so let’s check those out:

Advantages of Berber Carpet

The unique tight knotts of ther Berber weave give Berber carpets a few advantages of your regular cut piles. Here they are:

Durability

Have you ever noticed you see Berber in a lot of commercial buildings?

This is because Berber carpets can be very durable. The reason is the fibers are woven into the backing, rather than having exposed ends. “Regular” cut pile carpets with exposed ends can unravel. Berber’s don’t have that issue.

Don’t get a false sense of security! There are many things that affect durability, and carpet style (like Berber) is only a small piece of the puzzle. If you want to know more, check out my article on what makes a carpet durable.

Stain resistance

Just like durability, stain resistance is less a feature of the style and more a feature of the carpet material. However, it’s worth mentioning that Berber’s tight weave can make it a little more resistance to stains (although, there’s a catch to this. more in the cons below).

Cost

With a unique weave like Berber, you might expect it to be more expensive. The good news is it’s not. Berber is right in-line with other  carpet prices.

Unique style and story

It’s always neat to have furniture or flooring that also serves as a conversation piece. Berber isn’t uncommon, but it’s less common in homes that your standard cut pile carpets.

Also, now that you know the origins of Berber, it makes for an interesting story when people comment on your carpet.

Disadvantages of Berber Carpet

Just like the loop style of Berber has some advantages, it can also have drawbacks. Let’s check out the cons of Berber:

Snags

This is by far the #1 drawback of Berber. The loops can be caught, and when they are, they can tear out of the carpet backing.

How are Berber’s snagged? Usually it’s from pet claws or vacuums beater bars.

If a snag happens to you, check out my article on how repair carpet snags. It’s a pretty good cheap and easy fix. And if you are getting a new Berber, it may help to check out my guide on the best vacuums for Berber carpet.

Cleaning can be more difficult

Remember when I talked about one of the advantages of Berber being it’s tight weave that prevents stains?

The drawback of that is once a stain does penetrate the Berber, it’s more difficult to clean out. Sometimes it will look like you’ve cleaned the spot, and then it re-appears in the carpet (called wicking).

That said, just like stain resistance is only a small advantage of Berber, this is only a small disadvantage. I don’t think it really has a huge affect on your carpets performance.

May require “special” padding

Some Berber requires a fiber carpet pad. This isn’t that much more expensive than normal pad but worth mentioning. Fiber pad is typically thinner and more dense than standard rebond padding.

Captain’s tips on what to do next:

I find it interesting writing this article because many of Berber’s advantages are also related to it’s disadvantages. The good news is, for most people, you can choose whatever carpet style you want, and it’ll work in your home.

Here’s what I recommend doing next:

  1. If you plan on buying Berber, I’d check out my article on best vacuums for Berber carpet to avoid snags in your Berber
  2. If you are undecided on Berber, check out my comparison of all carpet styles.
  3. If you want unbiased help from start to finish with your carpet purchase, check out my free carpet buying guide.

Any questions on the pros and cons of Berber carpet? Let me know in the comments below.

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Sharon Traul

Are “face weight” and “density rating” applicable factors when picking a Berber carpet?

Mary

What’s the best padding under Berber?

Mike

I have Berber carpet that is glued to the sub flooring. It needs to be replaced. After removal, will I need to install a covering over the old glue residue before gluing down new Berber carpet?

Mike

I read that you shouldn’t use a rotary type vacuum cleaner on Berber. True? What type should be used?My sister has the upright/beater bar or rotary type and has never had an issue on her Berber carpet.
Th;anks!

Joanne

What about a smart strand berber?