With so many variations of carpet there are different types to meet all requirements and budgets. Most carpets are now available in more than one backing option so weather your needs require a short term solution, budget based decision or a carpet with a higher wear and durability there are now options available to suit your every need. Knowing which type of carpet you require for your specific needs therefore is highly important so this guide has been created in order to help assist you in choosing the flooring that meets your specific requirements.

Felt Backed Carpet 

Felt backed carpet was originally designed as a cheaper alternative to Hessian backed carpet or Action backed carpets that both require fitting on underlay and gripper. The carpet pile on felt backed carpets is generally made of synthetic fibres and the felt backing on the carpet is designed to act as a built in underlay which helps to improve comfort and reduce costs as underlay is not required for the installation of carpets with this type of backing. Felt backed carpets were designed to be fitted directly to the sub floor using either spray adhesive or double sided tape. Customers are often misled on the correct installation methods of fitting felt backed carpets. This type of backing is not suitable for fitting on underlay and gripper for obvious reasons. Barbs on the gripper rods and teeth on the carpet stretcher can pierce through the felt backing on the carpet. When the carpet is then stretched out flat it is possible for the backing on the carpet to be torn, felt is only a fabric material and is not specifically designed to stretch in the same was as an action backed carpet would do. Carpets with this type of backing can help reduce costs and are ideal for use in rented accommodations where a shorter term solution is required or where there are budget limitations.

Secondary / Action backed Carpets

Secondary or Action backed carpets are the two main backing types that come on the vast majority of carpets. This type of backing is ideal for fitting on underlay and gripper due to the specific design of the backing. Pile is typically punched (using needled machinery) into pre formed woven backing fabric. This is then bonded to a second stabilising layer using latex. During installation the carpet is fixed to the gripper rods, these rods have barbs which are set at a 45 degree angle when stretched out in the opposite direction the backing of the carpet grips on to the barbs which in turn pulls the carpet tight and flat to the floor. This type of backing is a lot harder wearing than felt backed carpets and as a result carpets with this type of backing generally last a lot longer than carpets with a felt backing.

Jute / Hessian backed carpets

Manufactured in a similar way to secondary backed carpets, Jute is applied as a stabilising layer to a pre tufted primary layer. Second only to cotton, jute is an environmentally sustainable naturally sourced vegetable fibre from the Asian continent. One drawback is its biodegradable potential to brown and rot if poorly treated or installed in the wrong environment. Yet thanks to its organic origins its initial pliability helps ensure a secure and tight fit and stiffening over time helps aid the stability of the pile fabric. Jute shares all the same advantages as secondary backed or Action backed carpets and is installed in the same way using underlay and gripper. Carpets with this type of backing are very durable and generally more desirable due to organic origins being in keeping with organic wool fibres and usage with sisal and seagrass weaves.


Woven  Often referred to as Wilton carpets due to their particular construction, Wilton Carpets were among the first & few to begin and continue this method of manufacture. Simultaneously weaving the front & back of a carpet intensifies labour, but yields a supremely strong material. Using a majority of wool content, Axminster remains a luxurious and expensive choice with virtually limitless patterns and colours. Wiltons & Belgian-Wiltons however are typically highly defined tufted polypropylene available in limited patterns with 4-5 colours.

Although typically expensive, its advantages are:

  • Unique range of available patterns.
  • High tuft definition & density.
  • Superior durability and appearance retention.
  • Polypropylene varieties are also stain resistant.

Gel/Latex & Bitumen

Gel/Latex & Bitumen  These are both pre-made and man-made backing formats. Pile-fibres are literally stuck to the backing of choice. These are typically more suited to contract/commercial environments but also very well suited to domestic areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, or utility areas.

The main advantages include:

  • Backings being impervious to moisture.
  • Contract/commercial specifications cater for heavy traffic environments.
  • Bitumen backed carpet-tiles are installed/replaced with relative ease, leave little waste, and are easily maintained.
  • Like felt-backed carpets, these can be adhered to the floor or excluding carpet tiles, fitted above an underlay although using underlay requires a double-stick fitting where underlay is adhered to the floor and the carpet adhered to the underlay.