- What Homeowners Need To Know
By Alan Fletcher -Carpet Expert, Consumer
is "Critical Information" that every homeowner must have in
order to determine how
durable the carpet is, to help determine it's value; and able to meet your
needs, goals and lifestyle.
On the back of
every retail Carpet Sample there should be a manufacturer's label that shows
the Type of Fiber
used to make the carpet pile; the Pile
Density Rating; the Face-Weight of the pile; and the Pile Height.
This is must-have information that every homeowner needs to help determine how
durable the carpet is, to help determine its value; and determine whether or not it would be a
suitable choice to meet all your needs, goals and lifestyle.
should be other information shown on the manufacturer's label too, such as:
the type or brand of anti-stain treatments that may have been applied
(e.g., Scotchgard); The manufacturer's brand name (e.g., Shaw, Mohawk,
Beaulieu); the carpet style name (e.g., Enchanted Evening II) ; and the
color name or color number (e.g., Emerald Forest Green or EFG-124).
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 a "Carpet Spec Sheet". This is a
one-page report from the carpet manufacturer that provides all the carpet
specifications regarding the carpet style in question. The carpet salesperson may have to call the manufacturer to
ask for it, or call their
mill representative to request the specifications you need.
salesperson says Carpet Specifications are not available anymore!
is not true! There's only one carpet manufacturer that I have ever known to
refuse to provide carpet specifications to their dealers and to consumers, and that mill is
Karastan. All other carpet makers are willing to
provide carpet specifications to their dealers; and often to homeowners
directly either by phone, by fax, snail mail, email or on
the internet. You may need to be patient and give the salesperson sufficient time to
call and get
the information for you. (It may take a few days)
if your carpet salesperson
refuses to obtain all the carpet specifications you need, then you might want to shop
elsewhere. You can call the carpet mill yourself and ask for the carpet specs
as long as you have the manufacturer's brand name and the carpet
style name. Here is my List
of Carpet Mill websites and their phone numbers.
How is Carpet
is graded by the quality and configuration of the materials used including; the
Fiber Type; the Fiber Face-Weight; the Tuft Twist Rating;
the Pile Density Rating; 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
the Right Carpet Fiber
The most critical
factor for every homeowner to consider is the Fiber Type. I have
created a detailed web page that covers everything you need to know about Carpet Fibers, Nylon, Sorona®, Polyester Smartstrand®, Stainmaster®.
Pile Density Rating is the Key to Carpet Durability.
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 packed closely together. Dig
your fingers into the pile of the carpet. Are the fibers tightly packed or can
you easily see the carpet backing? The more densely the
tufts are packed together the more durable the carpet will be. Pile Density
is the key to having a carpet retain its like-new appearance longer.
range from 1000 to 6000 and is determined using a mathematical formula based on the
Pile Height and the Fiber 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
is the actual weight of the fiber used to manufacture the carpet pile, but
does not include the weight of the carpet backing. Fiber Face-weight is not
the same as Total Carpet Weight, which includes the weight of the
carpet backing and the fiber face-weight.
Most carpets have a face-weight
between 20 ounces and 100 ounces, but the average face weight for a
residential carpet is about 45 ounces.
A higher face weight does not
automatically mean the carpet is a better grade; is a higher quality; is more
durable; or is more costly. Pile Density is the most important factor next to
is the Pile Height?
Height measurement is not usually shown on the carpet sample, however all
you need is a tape measure to determine a close guess. I generally recommend a
pile height of less than 3/4" to help reduce the chance of matting and
crushing of the pile.
is the Carpet
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
well-made, more durable carpet. Frieze styles have tufts similar to
This tuft has 4 twists and is not as
durable. This is a sign of a lower-grade carpet. Inexpensive Plush and
Textured Plush styles often have tufts similar to this.
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.