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Everything You Need To Know About Frieze — The Modern Shag Carpet

You may have memories of your parents’ shag carpets from the 60s and 70s — shades of orange and brown, with shags long enough to lose a pencil. But shag carpet has come a long way since then, so we thought it’d be worth taking a look at its modern cousin — frieze carpet.

What Is Frieze Carpet?

Frieze (pronounced either “freeze” or “free-zay”) carpet consists of long strands of tightly twisted yarns, giving a sort of “perm” look if you were to look closely. These long fibers look great with only minimal care, showing off a good mix of colors and hiding dirt and debris between vacuuming.

How Is Frieze Different From Shag?

Frieze carpet fibers are usually skinnier than traditional shag carpet, giving them a thinner, leaner, more elegant look than the bulk of an old-style shag carpet. Some even have varied yarn textures.

What Are The Advantages Of Frieze Carpet?

The biggest advantage of frieze carpet is durability. Frieze carpet strands are twisted tightly to hold together, but long enough to lay on their sides.

When a carpet fiber is standing straight up, feet and furniture press straight down along the length of the fiber, crushing it and weakening it. Over time, upright twists can start to “bloom” — when the ends of the fiber start to unravel.

Since frieze fibers lay on their side, the impact of foot traffic is occurring on the side of the fiber rather than on the end. Fibers are much stronger when impacted on their sides, so they’ll last longer and with less risk of blooming.

Another major benefit of frieze carpets is that the long fibers will cover seams between carpet panels. If the room you’re carpeting is bigger than a standard roll of carpet — most come in 12-foot or 15-foot widths — you’ll need multiple pieces with a seam in between, which can sometimes give the appearance of an unsightly line in your carpet.

Frieze’s long fibers lay to the side and intermingle, covering the seam in between carpet panels, well, seamlessly. This also makes them perfect for stairs, since the long strands will conceal staples and the edges where the carpet was cut.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Frieze Carpet?

One downside is that the long fibers of frieze carpet makes it more difficult to clean — since the fibers are long and loose, dirt can fall down between them rather than sitting on top. A good vacuum should be able to handle long fibers just fine.

When it comes to liquid spills, frieze carpet is a little tricker. Liquids don’t sit on top of the carpet like they do on tighter carpet textures, so they’re harder to get at and more difficult to clean.

If you choose a frieze carpet, make sure it has excellent stain resistance. You should look for carpets with a factory coating of Scotchgard, Teflon, or something similar — or consider getting it coated yourself. You should also look for “solution-dyed” fibers — they are dyed as part of the manufacturing process, rather than applied later, which makes them more stain resistant.

Where Should I Use Frieze Carpet?

Frieze is great for family rooms, hallways, stairs, and bedrooms — it’s casual, comfy, and luxurious enough to lounge on while playing a board game with your kids, and it can handle a lot of traffic. It might not be your best option for an entryway where you’re likely to have shoes on that bring in mud and snow, but pretty much anywhere else in the house is a good bet.