C OLOR, PATTERN, & FINISHES
The choice of carpet color has a major impact on the interior of a space. While
choice of color is at the discretion of the specifier, color is also an important
factor in appearance retention.
Observations on Selecting Carpet Color:
· Color is the dominant impact of carpeting.
· The floor is the second largest color area in the interior.
· Color is affected by the kind of light it is seen in - daylight, incandescent light,
or fluorescent light.
· Color is affected by the amount of traffic the carpet receives and how soiled
· Extremes of color magnify soiling.
· Yellow, gold, and tan show more soiling.
· Patterns and mixtures of color show less soil than solid colors.
Color can be applied to carpet fiber at any one of three different times during
the manufacturing process: before spinning the yarn, after spinning the yarn, or
after weaving the carpet.
· Solution Dyed: The fiber is dyed in its liquid state before it is spun into yarn.
The color becomes a permanent part of the fiber and will not fade or bleach
out. The precolored fibers are supplied to the carpet mills by the fiber
manufacturers. This method is common for olefins (polypropylenes), nylons,
· Stock Dyed: After the fibers are made, they are dipped into a bath of dye
where heat and pressure force color into the fiber before it is spun into yarn.
There is a wide range of color choices, but fibers dyed with this process are
Dyeing Before Yarn is Spun
more susceptible to fading, bleaching out, and staining. This method is used
in dyeing wool, acrylics, polyesters, and some nylons.
· Skein Dyed: Yarns are spun into skeins, which are stored and dyed as orders
are obtained. This method can be used for spun yarns, bulked continuous
filament yarns, heat set yarns, and non heat set yarns of almost any fiber type.
· Package Dyed: This method is similar to skein dyeing, except that the yarns
are wound on perforated packages and the dye stuff is forced under pressure
from inside the package through the yarn. Package dyeing is used infrequently
for carpet yarns.
· Space Dyeing: The yarn is treated with three or more colors along the length
of the yarn. This gives the carpet pile a random pattern. There are three
methods of space dyeing: knit-print-deknit, warp sheet printing, and multicolor skein
dyeing (similar to the skein dyeing process described above).
a) In the knit-print-deknit method, yarn is knitted into a tube or sock which is
printed on both sides, usually in diagonal and horizontal stripes. The sock is
then unraveled, and wound onto tufting cones. Knit-print-deknit is often
used for loop style, contract carpet.
b) In warp sheet printing, yarns are unwound from a beam and carried side
by side under the print rollers that apply the diagonal and horizontal stripes in
varying widths. The yarn is then wound onto cones. Warp printed yarns tend
to be straighter and leaner than knit-deknit yarns. This method is well suited
to cut pile and cut loop carpet.
· Piece Dyeing: Color is applied from a dye beck (stainless steel tank) onto
unfinished carpet consisting only of primary backing and undyed yarns. Piece
dyeing is generally for solid colors, but a tweed or moresque effect can be
achieved in a single dye bath by treating some fibers to accept or reject
certain dyes. Piece dyeing is generally associated with nylon and polyesters.
· Batch Piece Dyeing: This is similar to piece dyeing but the carpet is moved in
and out of the bath by a motorized reel.
· Continuous Piece Dyeing: Dye is applied via a polished roller rotating in a
continuously fed, full width dye trough. The full width of the carpet moves
under the applicator. Continuous piece dyeing requires great skill and
· Random Multicolor Dyeing: This is similar to continuous piece dyeing but
the applicators are modified to control the flow of dyestuff. This method
creates random, multicolored patterns. The machines for this process were
developed by the Kusters Corporation of Germany, and are called TAK or
· Printing: Carpet printing is similar to textile printing but uses larger machines.
There are three methods of printing - roller printing, screen printing, and jet
Dyeing After Yarn is Spun
Dyeing After Carpet is Woven
printing. Printed carpet can simulate woven patterns at a much lower cost.
a) In roller printing the carpet is placed on a moving belt and dye is squeezed
from a roll or drum through a pattern attachment.
b) In screen printing the carpet is placed on a flatbed and the dye stuff is
forced through screens by an electromagnetic system.
c) Jet Printing: In jet printing, jets intermittently inject color into the carpet
pile in response to signals sent by a computer. Designs are stored on
magnetic tapes, and can be changed instantly. Jets can be used for continuous
solid color dyeing, random patterns similar to those produced by TAK
applicators, controlled geometric patterns, and oriental or other formal
Dyes applied to carpet pile yarns are subject to chemical attack and the action of
sunlight and atmospheric contaminants such as ozone and nitrogen oxides.
There are several tests to assure that dyes are properly fixed on the pile yarn,
that they will resist fading, and that they will not rub off when dry or bleed
when wet. Dyes should also be unaffected by accepted industry cleaning
methods. Carpets that meet the following standards can be expected to offer
acceptable fade resistance in indoor applications.
· Light Fastness: AATCC Test Method 16E-1976. Shade changes after 80
standard fading hours (Xenon Arc) should not be less than an International
Gray Scale Rating of 3.
· Crock Fastness: AATCC Test Method 8-1974. Minimum stain ratings,
International Gray Scale, should be Wet: 4, Dry: 4.
· Wet Fastness: Dupont Carpet Spot Bleed Test. Run with both hard water and
alkaline detergent. Stain or color change rating after two cycles in either test,
should be no less than an International Gray Scale Rating of 3.
· Atmospheric Fading: AATCC Test Method 129-175. Ozone/AATCC Test
Method 23-1975 - Burnt Gas. Minimum shade change after two cycles in
each test should be no less than an International Gray Scale Rating of 3.
Patterned carpet contains decorative ornamental or abstract forms and shapes.
The pattern may be an integral part of the construction or may be applied
through a printing process. Pattern can be incorporated through texture, color,
or the combination of both. Patterns can enhance appearance retention by
acting as a camouflage. They hide seams, mask soiling, and obscure traffic
In assessing carpet designs for appearance retention, random patterns are best,
followed by regular geometric patterns, tweeds, heathers, and solid colors.
Tweed designs contain two or more colors that are interwoven. They may be
used where heavy soiling is not anticipated. Heather designs are similar to
tweeds but much more subtle. The multicolor effect in heathers and tweeds is
Patterned Carpet produced by blending fibers of different colors prior to spinning the yarn. In a
tweed, the multicolor effect is more pronounced because the actual yarn tufts
are multicolored. In both cases, the more colors used the better the appearance
retention that is achieved. Multicolored (more than two or three colors),
patterned, and/or tweed carpet should be used for all high traffic areas that are
subject to stains and spillage such as dining halls, child care centers and clubs.
Solid carpet is only recommended for General Officers’ office suites and
distinguished visitors' (DV) areas in transient lodging facilities.
Observations on the Use of Pattern:
· Avoid orienting geometric carpet patterns with predominant lines parallel to
walls in areas of long proportion such as corridors, unless the pattern is
installed as an inset. This prevents the appearance that the carpet is running
askew to the walls and will also make the corridor appear longer.
· Be aware of the scale of the carpet pattern. Large scale patterns should
generally only be used in large areas such as ballrooms, dining rooms, etc.
In areas where cigarettes or boot polish may be a problem, a carpet containing
black, dark blue or dark brown in the pattern helps to camouflage any burns or