How to Buy Carpet - Carpet Specifications
© Alan Fletcher - Carpet
expert, Consumer advocate
every homeowner needs to know about Carpet Specifications! Including: Tuft twist,
Pile height, Carpet pile density and Face-weight. Learn all Your Carpet ABC's
On the back of
every carpet sample there should be a manufacturer's label that shows
the Type of Fiber
used to make the pile, the Pile
Density rating and the Face-weight
of the pile.
shown on the label should reveal which anti-stain or anti-static treatments
have been applied, the manufacturer's brand and the style and color names.
This is the
"critical information" every homeowner MUST have to determine how
durable the carpet is and whether or not it would be a good choice for your
needs, goals and lifestyle.
If the label is
missing, or does not provide all the information you need then you need to ask
the salesperson to provide you with the carpet specification sheet. The
salesperson may have to call the manufacturer to get it, or call the carpet
mill representative to obtain the information you need.
salesperson said carpet specifications are not available anymore!
To my knowledge,
only one carpet manufacturer refuses to provide carpet specifications to their
dealers, and that mill is Karastan. All other carpet makers are willing to
provide carpet specifications to their dealers either by phone, by fax or on
the internet. You may have to be patient and give the salesperson time to get
the information for you and it may take a day or two. If your salesperson
refuses to get you the information you need, then you might want to shop
How is Carpet
is graded by the quality of materials used, the fiber type, the fiber face weight, the tuft twist,
the pile density, the pile height and how well it is constructed overall
(Including Dye methods, backing systems and manufacturing processes). Determining
which carpet is the absolute best choice for a particular
application can be quite difficult for even a seasoned carpet
Carpet pile density
is the key to having a carpet retain its like new appearance longer. The
higher the density the more durable the carpet will be.
The Density rating
is determined by pile yarn weight, pile thickness and pile height. Think of it
like a densely wooded forest where the trees are thick and close together. Dig
your fingers into the pile of the carpet. Are the fibers tightly packed or are
your nails digging into the backing of the carpet? Have you ever
squeezed the Charmin? Then you know that some rolls of tissue are definitely
more dense than others. The same holds true with carpet. The more densely the
tufts are packed together the more durable the carpet will be.
Pile Density ratings
range from 1000 to 6000 and is determined by a mathematical formula based on the
Pile Height and the Face-weight. Here is the formula: Fiber face weight x 36,
divided by pile height (in decimal form) = Pile Density. For example, a 35 ounce
face weight carpet with a half inch pile height would have a pile density rating
of 2520 (35 x 36 divided by .5 = 2520).
Take my free
carpet foot traffic test to see what grade of carpet may be best for your
application and foot traffic level.
Take my Free
Carpet Foot Traffic Test
Tuft Twist Ratings
The Tuft Twist is
a major key to having your carpet retain its like-new appearance longer.
With plush styles of
carpets, the tufts of fibers are twisted in the same way that people curl
their hair. The carpet fibers are grouped together into tufts and twisted
while heat is applied to "set" the fibers permanently, hence the
term "heat set".
Carpet fiber, also called yarn, is either
extruded or twisted to form a single strand or "filament", These
filaments are similar in size to a human hair. A bunch of filaments are
grouped together and twisted together to form Tufts. While the strands are twisted,
heat is applied to "set" them permanently, hence the term "heat set".
This is very similar to the way women might use a curling iron to create curls
in their hairstyles. The tighter the Tufts are twisted together the more durable the carpet will
be and the longer the carpet can maintain its like-new appearance.
This tuft has 7 twists and is a sign of a
This tuft has 4 twists and is not as good
and is a sign of a lower grade of carpet
The Number of Tuft Twists is an important key
to making sure your carpet retains its like new appearance longer. Frieze
styles tend to have a higher tuft twist (over 6) and is why they are
well-known for their durability and retaining a like-new appearance longer
than many other styles..
What makes a Carpet appear
"worn out" fastest?
Carpets with a low Tuft Twist Rating (3 to 5) tend to
untwist or “blossom”
at the tuft tips more quickly thus creating a worn out or matted down
appearance. This is called "Ugly Out" Carpets seldom wear out, they
ugly out. Meaning the tufts have blossomed and have matted down to make the
carpet look bad.
For this reason a Carpet with a higher Tuft
Twist will retain its like-new appearance longer and tolerate a higher level
of foot traffic. When comparing carpets side by side, you must consider the
Tuft Twist to help you determine which carpet is the better choice. Carpets
with a lower Tuft Twist tend to "blossom" more quickly and as a
result will appear worn out sooner.
Study this chart to better understand how
carpet quality is determined in part by the number of twists each tuft has.
Most frieze styles have a high tuft twist rating of at least 6 or more. That's
one reason why frieze carpets tend to wear better and last longer than many