The carpet making process begins with weaving multiple fibers (usually made of polypropylene) into a primary backing. Without this backing, the carpet would fall apart in the next process (turfing), which makes it an essential first step. Turfing involves a 12-foot wide tufting machine using its 800 to 2000 needles to pull yarn through the primary backing. A series of small hooks on the other side of the backing grab the yarn and holds in place, which create a uniform surface. If someone wants to create patterning textures, than an extra step is added in this process where sections of the carpet are cut lower than others.
There are 4 main ways in which carpets receive their color.
- Pre-dyed yarn: In this method of carpet coloration, the individual yarn threads are already dyed before they are threaded into the primary backing. This technique produces uniform carpet coloring with well-defined color borders.
- Bath dying: With this method, the whole carpet is soaked in a bath of mixed dye and water, which is heated to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. This dying process takes an entirety of four hours.
- Autoclave dying: A quicker way to dye an entire carpet is to use an autoclave. This uses heat and pressure to dye the carpet and only takes 30 minutes.
- Printing: The machine used in this process is much like an ink jet printer. It passes back and forth spraying the carpet with dye as it passes underneath it. This method is often used for carpets with intricate coloring patterns.
In the final steps of making a carpet, a thicker secondary backing (made of woven polypropylene) is glued to the back of the carpet and is pressed on by a large heating press. The carpet is then seared to remove any loose ends/projecting fibers and rolled out for inspection. After those processes are done, the carpet is ready to be sold.
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