What is High Pile Carpet: A Quick Guide for Homeowners

High pile carpet, a popular choice for homeowners, is known for its plush, luxurious feel. This type of carpet consists of longer, looser fibers, creating a soft and comfortable surface underfoot. The cushiony texture provides a sense of warmth and coziness, making high pile carpets an appealing option for bedrooms, living rooms, and other areas where comfort is prioritized.

While enjoying its many benefits, it’s essential to understand the characteristics and maintenance requirements of high pile carpets. Regular cleaning is crucial for maintaining its appearance, as dirt and debris can easily become trapped within the fibers. Additionally, high pile carpets may not be suitable for high-traffic areas or households with allergy sufferers due to their propensity to retain allergens.

What Is High Pile Carpet

A high pile carpet is a type of flooring that features longer and looser fibers, which creates a soft, plush surface. These carpets offer a cozy and luxurious feel underfoot, making them an appealing choice for homeowners and interior designers alike.

Pile height, an important factor to consider when choosing a carpet, refers to the length of the carpet fibers from their base to their tips. High pile carpets generally have a pile height of over 0.5 inches (12.7 mm), which contributes to their plushness and comfort. The greater the pile height, the higher and deeper the fibers on the carpet, offering a cushiony sensation when walked upon.

High pile carpets are available in various materials, such as nylon, polyester, wool, and olefin. Each material has its own set of unique properties, affecting factors like durability, stain resistance, and cost:

  • Nylon: Known for its high durability and resilience, nylon is a popular choice for high pile carpets.
  • Polyester: While polyester is not as durable as nylon, it is highly stain-resistant and budget-friendly.
  • Wool: A natural and eco-friendly option, wool provides excellent insulation and moisture resistance. However, it is typically more expensive than synthetic fibers.
  • Olefin: Also known as polypropylene, olefin is a cost-effective and lightweight material. It is less resistant to crushing and may not be as ideal for high-traffic areas as other materials.

High pile carpets can add warmth, comfort, and a luxurious aesthetic to a space. However, they may require a more diligent cleaning routine and are not recommended for high-traffic or pet-friendly interiors due to the potential for trapping dirt, allergens, and pet hair.

Types of High Pile Carpets

High pile carpets are known for their thick and plush appearance, providing a comfortable and luxurious feel underfoot. In this section, we will discuss four popular types of high pile carpets: Shag Carpet, Saxony, Frieze, and Velvet Carpet.

Shag Carpet

Shag carpets are characterized by their long, loose fibers that create a soft and fluffy texture. They offer a cozy and inviting aesthetic, making them a popular choice for living rooms and bedrooms. Some of the key features of shag carpets include:

  • Deep, thick pile that provides a comfortable and plush feel
  • Various fiber materials, including wool, nylon, and polyester
  • May require additional maintenance, such as frequent vacuuming and professional cleaning


Saxony carpets are a classic high pile option known for their dense, level-cut fibers that create a smooth, even appearance. They are a versatile choice that can suit various interiors, from formal settings to casual living spaces. Some characteristics of Saxony carpets include:

  • Uniform surface that showcases the carpet’s texture and color
  • Soft and luxurious feel underfoot
  • Prone to showing vacuum and foot traffic marks, requiring regular maintenance


Frieze carpets, also known as twist carpets, feature twisted fibers that create a textured, informal appearance. These carpets are durable and adept at hiding foot traffic and vacuum marks. Notable attributes of frieze carpets include:

  • Twisted fibers that create a unique, informal look
  • Excellent durability and ability to hide wear and dirt
  • Thicker, high pile creates a comfortable and soft feel

Velvet Carpet

Velvet carpets, sometimes referred to as plush carpets, are well-suited for formal settings due to their short, dense pile that creates a smooth and elegant appearance. These carpets require careful maintenance, as they can show foot traffic and vacuum marks. Characteristics of velvet carpets include:

  • Elegant, smooth surface that provides a luxurious appearance
  • Short, dense pile that is soft to the touch
  • Requires regular maintenance to maintain its high-end look

Carpet Pile Height Comparison

Carpet pile height is an important factor in determining the overall appearance and performance of carpet flooring. This section will explore the differences between low pile, medium pile, and high pile carpets, providing a helpful comparison for readers.

Low Pile

Low-pile carpets typically have a pile height of less than 1/4 inch. They are characterized by their short, tight fibers, which make them durable and easy to clean. Low-pile carpets are ideal for high-traffic areas, as they resist wear and tear better than their medium and high-pile counterparts. Examples of low-pile carpet styles include berber, level loop, and cut and loop carpets.

  • Pile height: Less than 1/4 inch
  • Durability: High
  • Recommended for: High-traffic areas

Medium Pile

Medium-pile carpets have a pile height ranging from 1/4 to 1/2 inch. This type of carpet strikes a balance between the durability of low-pile carpets and the plushness of high-pile carpets. Medium-pile carpets are versatile and suitable for various settings, including living rooms, bedrooms, and hallways.

  • Pile height: 1/4 to 1/2 inch
  • Durability: Moderate
  • Recommended for: Various settings

High Pile

High-pile carpets feature a pile height of over 1/2 inch, creating a luxurious and plush feel underfoot. They provide a high level of comfort but are less durable than low and medium-pile carpets. High-pile carpets are ideal for low-traffic areas such as bedrooms, where comfort is a priority over durability. Common styles of high-pile carpet include frieze, saxony, and shag carpets.

  • Pile height: Over 1/2 inch
  • Durability: Lower
  • Recommended for: Low-traffic and comfort areas

Carpet Fibers and Durability

Carpet fibers play a significant role in determining the durability and overall performance of a high pile carpet. The primary carpet fibers used in the industry are nylon, polyester, wool, and olefin, each having its own set of advantages and drawbacks.

Nylon is known for its resilience and ability to bounce back to its original shape even after being compressed underfoot. It is suitable for high-traffic areas and is resistant to wear and tear. However, nylon is considered less eco-friendly than other fibers and may require stain protection treatment.

Polyester boasts excellent stain resistance and vibrant color options due to its ability to hold dye well. It is an eco-friendly choice, as it can be manufactured from recycled materials but tends to be less resilient than nylon, making it less ideal for high-traffic areas.

Wool is a natural fiber that offers superior softness and luxury underfoot. It is highly durable due to its natural resilience and can be a long-lasting option for high pile carpets. However, wool is prone to staining and requires regular maintenance to maintain its appearance.

Olefin, also known as polypropylene, is a synthetic fiber designed to mimic the appearance of wool. It is an affordable option with excellent stain resistance and low moisture absorption, making it well-suited for damp or high-humidity environments. However, olefin may not be as durable as other fibers in high-traffic areas and can show signs of wear over time.

In summary, nylon and wool fibers offer impressive durability in high pile carpets, while polyester and olefin provide other advantages, such as stain resistance and moisture management. It is essential to consider the specific requirements of an environment when choosing the most suitable carpet fiber for optimal performance and longevity.

Pros and Cons of High Pile Carpet

High pile carpet has several advantages and disadvantages that can influence a buyer’s decision. In this section, we will discuss both the positive and negative aspects of high pile carpets regarding comfort, warmth, cleanliness, and suitability for various traffic levels and homes with pets.


  • Comfort: High pile carpets offer a soft, plush feel underfoot, providing a comfortable surface to walk or sit on.
  • Warmth: Due to their thicker construction, high pile carpets can provide extra insulation, making them a cozy choice in colder climates.


  • Snagging: The longer fibers of high pile carpets can be prone to snagging, especially in high-traffic areas or around furniture with sharp edges.
  • Cleanliness and Dirt: High pile carpets can accumulate dirt and dust more easily, as their longer fibers can trap particles. This can make them a less hygienic choice and more challenging to clean.
  • High Traffic: Areas with heavy foot traffic can cause high pile carpets to become matted or crushed, leading to a worn appearance over time.
  • Stains: The thicker construction can make stain removal more difficult compared to low pile carpets.
  • Pet Hair: High pile carpets tend to attract and hold more pet hair than their low pile counterparts, making them less suitable for homes with pets that shed.

Room Suitability and Considerations

When choosing high pile carpet for your home, it is crucial to consider the suitability and specific considerations for each room.


The bedroom is an ideal space for high pile carpet due to the cozy and soft feeling it provides. This type of carpet can add warmth and comfort, making your bedroom a more inviting and relaxing space.

However, consider the level of foot traffic in your bedroom. High pile carpets may show signs of wear and tear more quickly in high-traffic areas. Regular cleaning and maintenance are necessary to keep the carpet looking fresh and luxurious.

Living Room

In the living room, high pile carpet can add a touch of elegance and enhance the overall aesthetic. This type of flooring can act as a natural sound insulator, creating a quieter and more intimate atmosphere for conversations and gatherings.

It is essential to consider the furniture placement and movement within the living room, as high pile carpets can show indentation marks from furniture. A low-pile rug or carpet protector under furniture can help minimize these effects.

Also, be mindful of any allergy concerns or potential reactions, as high pile carpets can trap more dust, pollen, and pet dander than low pile options.


For stairs, high pile carpet provides added cushioning and helps prevent slips and falls. However, it may not wear as evenly as low pile carpet due to increased foot traffic on stairs.

When choosing a high pile carpet for stairs, opt for a denser weave to promote durability and longevity. If possible, invest in carpet with good stain and soil protection to keep the stairs looking clean and well-maintained.

Carpet Styles and Construction

Carpet flooring comes in various styles and constructions, each with unique characteristics and benefits. Understanding the differences between these styles can help you choose the perfect carpet for your space. This section will explore the three main carpet styles and constructions: Cut Pile, Loop Pile, and Cut and Loop.

Cut Pile

Cut pile carpets are a classic and popular choice due to their plush and comfortable feel. They are created by cutting the yarn loops, which results in upright fibers or “tufts.”

There are various types of cut pile carpets, including:

  • Plush: Known for its dense, even surface, plush carpets provide a formal, elegant appearance.
  • Textured: A more casual option, textured cut pile carpets have fibers of varying lengths to create a soft, multi-tonal appearance.
  • Frieze: This type features twisted fibers, resulting in a more informal, shaggy look that can hide footprints and vacuum lines.

Loop Pile

Loop pile carpets, also known as level loop carpets, have uncut yarn loops that create a consistent level surface. These carpets are durable and stain-resistant, making them ideal for high-traffic areas such as hallways and entryways.

Loop pile carpets come in various patterns, such as:

  • Level loop: With an even surface, level loop carpets offer a uniform, low-profile appearance.
  • Patterned loop: Using loops of different heights, patterned loop carpets create visually appealing designs and textures.
  • Berber: Originally inspired by traditional hand-woven carpets, Berber carpets boast a distinctive, tightly-packed loop construction.

Cut and Loop

Combining the characteristics of cut pile and loop pile carpets, cut and loop carpets are a versatile option that offers both comfort and durability. By using a mix of cut and uncut loops, this carpet style can create unique patterns and multi-level textures.

Cut and loop carpets are available in numerous designs, such as:

  • Geometric: Intricate patterns made from the combination of cut and loop fibers.
  • Random or abstract: An unstructured mix of cut and loop fibers for a casual, contemporary appearance.
  • Pin dot or stippled: Small, dispersed clusters of cut pile in a more uniform loop pile background.

Maintenance and Cleaning

High pile carpets require proper maintenance and cleaning to keep them in good condition and prolong their lifespan. In this section, we will cover important aspects such as vacuuming and stain removal.


Vacuuming is essential for keeping high pile carpets clean and free of dust, dirt, and allergens. It is recommended to vacuum at least once a week or more frequently if the carpet is located in a high-traffic area. Use a vacuum cleaner with a high pile setting, which helps prevent the fibers from being damaged.

When vacuuming, it is important to use a gentle, slow motion, and to avoid pressing down too hard, which could damage the carpet fibers. Regular vacuuming will help maintain your carpet’s overall appearance and prevent dirt accumulation that may cause wear and tear over time.

Stain Removal

Stains are bound to happen, but prompt action can make all the difference in preserving your high pile carpet’s appearance. As soon as a spill occurs, blot the area with a clean, dry cloth to absorb as much liquid as possible. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing, as this can cause the stain to spread or damage the fibers.

For different types of stains, you can apply specific stain removal solutions, such as:

  • Water-based stains: Use a mixture of water and mild detergent.
  • Oil-based stains: Apply rubbing alcohol or a suitable carpet cleaner.
  • Stubborn stains: Consider a professional carpet cleaning service.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on cleaning products and test a small inconspicuous area for colorfastness before applying any solution to the stain.

Regular maintenance and appropriate cleaning methods will help keep your high pile carpet looking its best, ensuring its longevity and preserving its luxurious feel.

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