Here’s something you may not know: berber carpeting is named after a Northwestern African tribe. The berber people of this tribe used this fabric, typically created out of wool or camel hair, to cover flooring. Interestingly, they were not the first group to utilize this versatile fabric; archeologists have discovered evidence of berber as far back as the stone age! Berber, as you have undoubtedly gleaned, carries a long and varied history. Not only was it used as carpeting for eons; it was also weaved into cloaks which ancient peoples donned for warmth.

Berber, in its current context, refers to a specific weave of carpet. Berber carpeting is available in a variety of colors and material including nylon, wool, polyester, and olefin.* Berber’s distinctive quality consists of varying loop levels in the weave and the fact that it is far denser than other types of carpeting despite the fact that it contains less pile. Since the weave consists of different types of loops, berber tends to contain both small and large pieces of fabric resulting in an inconsistent pattern.

The advantage of berber carpeting is that it is stain-resistant (especially if treated with a product such as Stainmaster; see previous article). It is also fairly durable and will last many years if maintained properly. Berber is available at several price points. If you plan to keep your carpeting for an extended period of time, you may wish to consider a superior product to ensure quality and ease of care.

One downside to Berber is that it tends to unravel quickly if the loops unravel; i.e. if your kitty decides to start scratching the carpet. Additionally, oil stains can be particularly damaging and difficult to remove. You may wish to consider a more oil-resistant type of carpet if there is a strong possibility of oil stains.

As with other types of carpeting, you will need to have it professionally cleaned on occasion; however, it does stand up well to regular vacuuming and tends to retain its color and form over the years.

*Olefin fiber is a synthetic fiber made from alkenes. It is used in the manufacture of various textiles as well as clothing, upholstery, wallpaper, ropes, and vehicle interiors. Olefin is also referred to as polypropylene, polyethylene, or polyolefin. Olefin’s advantages are its strength, colorfastness and comfort, stain, mildew, abrasion and sunlight resistance, and good bulk and cover. (Definition courtesy of www.wikipedia.org).

Next time: The Care and Cleaning of Berber Carpet