Valor Home Services Carpets

Carpet Pile Reversal – Explained

I’ve had O’Fallon, Belleville, Shiloh and surrounding area neighbors ask me about carpet pile. For some of us, it sort of feels like a “cool kid” question, one that shows which homeowners even know what the carpet pile specifically refers to in the first place.

There have been those clients who have admitted to me later that, if pressed for a definition, carpet “pile” doesn’t call to mind an immediate answer. What is carpet pile, really? Specifically? And how can it end up reversed?

What is carpet pile?

In the simplest terms, a carpet’s pile refers to the fibrous loops of your carpeting. There are additional terms that refer to the length and thickness of that carpet weave, including: 

  • Flat pile refers to short fiber loops
  • Shaggy pile refers to long fiber loops. 

The flat-to-shaggy spectrum is the same thing as “pile height.” And the higher the pile, the looser the feel and look of the carpet at the top.

So, what’s pile reversal?

Short and tall piles are all subject to pile reversal. It is, however, more likely to be seen in densely-constructed and plush carpets.

Don’t take pile reversal personally, either, because it’s almost impossible to predict or prevent. 

Pile reversal is defined by a permanent difference in the way light reflects off the pile when it lays in contrasting directions across the floor. The areas that are dark from one side of the room will be light from the other side of the room, and vice versa. These strange shadowy patterns often look like there are enormous spills across the carpeted floor.

Sometimes, pile directions change (for the worst) over time thanks to foot traffic. They can also show reversal when the manufactured direction of the pieces of carpet is different piece-to-piece. Sometimes, even the subfloor’s construction can be to blame for the phenomenon.

Pile reversal is not a manufacturing defect, and it doesn’t make your carpet any less durable.

Getting rid of carpet pile reversal can be another thing. Sometimes, it is not possible to fix permanently. Give me a call today to tell me about your specific situation, and we can discuss your options.