Understanding Carpet Nap & How it Plays into Your New Flooring

Published: September 11th, 2014

Carpet has a nap, which is the part of the carpet you see and walk on. It can be yarn in a loop or cut in a particular direction. It is important to understand that the nap is not only crucial to the way the carpeting looks, but also for the durability of the installation over time.

Why Does Nap Matter?
See these three different colors of carpet?Carpeting Nap

Actually, they are all the same color of carpet. They are just laid with the nap facing opposite directions. You can really see the contrast when you compare these two pieces of carpeting side by side.

Think of it like this: carpet comes on a roll that’s 12-feet wide and runs, well, essentially to infinity. The only reason the mill cuts the carpet into the rolls at the size they do is to make it possible to ship and handle. If a customer wants carpeting to fill a space larger than 12 feet wide, multiple pieces of carpeting will have to be fixed, or seamed, together. It’s very important that during the seaming process, the nap is facing the same way. You can’t lay carpet with the nap running in different directions when the pieces are seamed together. Well, not if you want it to look right, anyway.

Walk with the Nap
During the planning and carpet installation process, the direction of the nap is an important consideration. If the estimator and the installation team can lay out the carpet so the foot traffic “walks into the nap,” the better the carpet is going to hold up over time.

For example, it is essential that carpet on stairs is installed with the nap. The nap generally runs along the length of the carpet, not the width. The difference between installing carpeting on stairs the right way and the wrong way can be several years’ worth of appearance. Similarly, as often as possible, a room of carpet is laid out so that when the homeowner is standing at the door to the room looking in, they are looking and walking into the nap. It’s the same with hallways. A long hallway running with the nap will wear better longer than one running the other way.

Of course, especially when we are doing an entire house of carpeting, these rules of thumb conflict. The installers have to make choices about the optimal layout that maximizes what they are trying to do and minimizes what they are not trying to do.

Doing Nap the Right Way
As you can tell, there’s a lot that goes into installing carpeting with nap the “right” way. In some cases, to maximize the efficiency of the installation, it can take more carpeting than one might think.

For example, take a customer who has a room that measures 12-feet by 9-feet. The homeowner, knowing carpet rolls are usually 12-feet wide, may think they need only a 9-foot long cut from the roll. Sometimes the best layout for their room will be just the 9-foot carpet. But sometimes, the placement of the door, as well as the prevailing traffic pattern, will lead the estimator to recommend using a 12-foot by 12-foot piece instead.

Spending some extra money upfront on a larger piece of carpet may help you save money in the long run. With a piece of carpeting that is installed properly, with the nap running the correct way, you’re bound to get many more years of wear out of it.

At Hopkins Carpet One, in Hopkins Minnesota, we can give you all the advice you need on nap and installing carpet. Contact us today by calling 952-933-8944 or Contact us Here.