The Best Types of Berber Carpet for Your Basement

Lisa Gauthier Mitchison
Updated September 28, 2021
Dog holding toy laying on berber carpet
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Berber carpet is perfect for your basement, but it's all a matter of choosing the right material

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People often use Berber-style carpeting for basements because of its affordability, ease of installation, and durability. It can stand up to kids’ playdates, a labradoodle, and a treadmill, all while being functional and fashionable. However, picking the right Berber for you isn't always straightforward because Berber is an umbrella term that encompasses many kinds of carpets, all with different characteristics.

With this in mind, let’s take a deeper dive into which Berber carpet would be the best fit for your home.

What Is a Berber Carpet?

In general, Berber refers to light-colored carpeting with flecks of darker colors, usually brown, blue, or gray. It has a distinctive loop pile that attaches to the backing and often remains uncut.

In the past, Berber has been the go-to carpeting for basements and home offices. It has branched out and into other rooms in the past few decades, but it remains a basement staple because of its durability.

So which type of Berber carpeting is the best investment for your basement?

1. Nylon Berber Carpet

Nylon is synthetic and one of the most popular carpet fibers on the market. Depending on the style, it can run about $25 to $60 per square yard. Is your basement a high-traffic zone? Are juice and soda likely to land on the carpet frequently? Will pets be hanging out with you? Do you want to set up a pool table? These scenarios all call for a highly durable, easy-to-clean carpet. Nylon is your best choice here. It’s stain-resistant, durable, simple to take care of, and lasts up to 20 years in your basement.

Pros

  • Stain-resistant

  • Durable against foot traffic and the weight of furniture

  • Easy to clean

  • Can last up to 20 years

Cons

  • None

2. Olefin/Polypropylene Berber Carpet

If you flip a house or your basement is more of a storage area than an extended living space, olefin is for you. It is still easy to clean, but it doesn’t hold up as well in the long run. Olefin is synthetic, and it is the most cost-effective type of Berber available at about $10 to $25 per square yard.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly

  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Becomes very oily through the manufacturing process. While it is thoroughly rinsed before the sale, residual oils in the carpet tend to attract dirt and other fibers. 

  • It tends to appear worn out much more quickly than nylon or wool

3. Natural Wool Berber Carpet

Natural wool Berber carpet is the splurge option. It’s super soft, durable, sustainable, and long-lasting. Treated well, it can last the life of your home. Expect to pay about $80 per square yard for a basic wool Berber.

Pros

  • Soft and durable

  • Can last for the life of your home if properly maintained

Cons

Cut-Loop vs. Intact Berber Styles

Professional installing berber carpet on stairs
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The most basic type of Berber carpet is one where all the loops are left intact, producing a textured feel because each loop differs slightly in height and width. Level-loop carpets have loops of the same height, and patterned-loop carpets use loops of different heights to create shapes or alternating textures. 

Loops are prone to catching or hitching, especially in homes with active children or pets. If a loop gets caught on something but doesn't break, it could pull up an entire row (or several rows) of other loops. If the damage to your Berber carpet is extensive enough, the carpet may not be salvageable. Loops also tend to “fall” over time due to foot traffic and the weight of the furniture. If you have kids, pets, or just a lot of foot traffic, you might consider carpet protection.

Cut-loop Berber carpet can either use some intact and some cut loops to create texture or pattern or be entirely cut-loop. Cut Berber is more durable, but it may end up looking more like a pile carpet than true Berber.

Comparing Berber Carpets Styles

Here is a rundown of the most common traits you may look for in a Berber carpet.

  • Natural vs. synthetic: Natural wool is sustainable, but synthetic nylon and olefin are easier to clean and less expensive

  • Durability: Wool is the most durable, nylon comes in second

  • Sustainability: Only wool Berber carpet is made sustainably

  • Best for kids and pets: Nylon is both stain-resistant and easy to clean

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