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More Carpet Buying Q & A

By Alan J Fletcher - Carpet Expert and Consumer Advocate


Where can I get or locate all the Carpet Specifications? 


Q. How can I get all the carpet construction information if it isn't displayed on the back of the carpet sample? I've been to several carpet dealers and only the face-weight seems easy to find....



Every manufacturer's carpet sample should have complete carpet specifications displayed on the back. But sadly, many carpet dealers remove the labels or use private labels which do not list all the specifications. They do this to prevent you from shopping around and comparison shopping. It's getting harder to find the carpet specs these days, but every dealer does have full access to the information you need. They might have to call the manufacturer or their mill rep if they don't have a "spec sheet" handy. Most carpet dealers can login to the carpet manufacturer website where all the information is freely available to all member dealers. Carpet Specifications Explained


You deserve to know exactly what you are buying. If any carpet dealer can't provide you with all the carpet information you ask for or say they don't have access to it, then you should leave and buy from a dealer who will provide you with it. The carpet specifications you need full access to are: 

  • Brand name,

  • Style name,

  • Color,

  • Length of warranty,

  • Fiber type,

  • Face weight,

  • Tuft Twist, 

  • Pile density,

  • Pile height,

  • Stain treatment

What do all these specs mean? Choosing new carpet is definitely confusing for even for some of the most well-educated people on the planet. That's why I wrote the book on "How To Buy Carpet Wisely". Learn everything you need to know. Check out my ebook at the bottom of this page.


Local Carpet Dealers Don't Show the Carpet Specifications?


Q.  Iíve tried to take your advice and look for the right Face Weight, Density and Tuft Twist to last 10-15 years.  The only places that publish these 3 qualities is the big retailers: Lowe's, Home Depot (some) and Menard's.  The local dealer carpet samples don't show the specifications.  The salespeople seem to know the face weight but often donít know the Tuft Twist or Pile Density.  The one carpet Iím considering buying that fits in our budget is a Martha Stewart Nylon from Home Depot.  Iím carpeting 288 sq feet (den area with lots of traffic and furniture) and have $1000 budget.  They will install and give memory foam pad for that price.  Iím concerned that density is only 1613 but face weight is 43.6.  They donít show the Tuft Twist either.  What do you think of this carpet?




Not all locally owned dealers are honest and reputable, I am sorry to say, and some carpet salespeople are reluctant take the time to provide their customers with carpet specifications because it is a "hassle" to do so. The problem is partly due to private labeling. Some stores don't want you to be able to shop around so they limit the carpet information available to the customer and change the style and color names to confuse you. I think that's what you have encountered with your local dealer visits. Here's what you need to know:


Every locally owned carpet dealer has three ways to locate the carpet specifications you need:


1. They can call the manufacturer - most mills are happy to fax or email the spec sheet.

2. They can go online to their mill account to find the specs. This may require a store manager to get the info.

3. They can call their mill rep to get the information. Every dealer has the cell phone number to their account rep.


It's true that the carpet makers are not putting the information on the samples like they used to, but any decent carpet salesperson should be happy to get you the information you seek. However, you have to ask for it and be patient enough to wait for the information to be acquired. Most folks narrow their carpet choices down to three or four and then ask for the spec sheets for them to compare them all side by side.


Home Depot, Lowe's and Menard's have been known to use private labels on their carpet samples to prevent folks from comparison shopping, but apparently they have negotiated with the mill to have some of the carpet specs shown on their samples and are wise for doing so. It certainly helps them "seem" be more transparent in that area. Unfortunately they may not be as transparent when it comes to providing quality installations and good customer service after the sale. From what I have read, many homeowners who have had a carpet complaint of some sort "after the sale" have not been happy with the way they were treated, having to call numerous times to try to get a remedy, and find that no one is ready and willing to step up and accept responsibility for the customer complaint at hand. This is another reason why I prefer buying from local dealers over the big box stores.


The Carpet you are considering is a decent frieze style carpet. It is a 10 year carpet if cared for and if you have medium foot traffic in your home. It has good face weight but low density (1613) as you know. The pile height is almost one inch (.98) and will contribute to the matting of the pile over a 10 year period. For a frieze I recommend a pile height of no more than 3/4" for the best wear and the least amount of matting. The taller the pile height the more prone the carpet is to matting. Carpet Fibers - What Consumers Need to Know


The $1000 price is reasonable for the 32 yards that you require. Basically you are buying a $20 per yd. carpet and paying an additional $10 per yard for the pad and installation. I think this is a good choice overall but this carpet will probably not last for 15 years in your application with high foot traffic. Personally I would not opt for the memory foam pad, I would choose an 8-pound density Rebond pad. I think there is way too much hype associated with the memory foams and not enough resilient support as a frieze style requires.


Follow-up response:

Thanks a lot Alan!  This was very helpful.  I just got a recommendation of another local dealer that I will go to today.  I will patiently wait for the specs as you mentioned and get spec sheets.  I think Iíll shop around a little more and get a shorter pile height as you suggested.  We have a lot of furniture in this room and I donít want it to mat from the furniture and heavy traffic.  Iíll look for 3/4 inch nap or shorter!  I hope the dealer Iím going to today is honest and reputable! 


Good Carpet Specifications?


I think that I have found the correct carpet for me. No pets, small home, 2 adults. Want something that is easy to take care of and wears well. I live in a wooded area, so fir needles can get tracked in, but basically, we donít wear shoes in the house and donít have any out of the ordinary things going on that would trash a carpet (non smoking etc) 


I am looking at a carpet that is 100% Solutia Inc Wear-Dated Nylon, Average face weight is 61.3, twist is 5.5, density is 3108. I donít know if this is good, bad or indifferent, because it is so hard to compare carpets. I know you recommend nylon. Do those numbers sound ok? Of course, our budget does play into this and we canít afford to just buy the most expensive carpet there is in order to be sure to get the best. Should we be looking at something different?


This sounds like a great carpet for you. However, your work is not done yet. You have not mentioned the price they are charging you for this carpet, and in order to help you be sure you get a good deal, I need to know the brand and style of this carpet and what store you plan on buying it from. You also still need to decide on the right pad, and get it installed properly. Give me some more details and I will help you save some dough. Also, tell me what zip code you live in. Maybe I can recommend a local dealer. Carpet Specifications Explained


Bad Carpet Seams?


When my wife and I were shopping for our new carpet I discovered your website. It was amazingly informative and saved us big trouble. We were starting from scratch and were all set to buy polyester from a discount store. Your site really got me thinking about long term value and instead we went to a local family carpet store that had been in the neighborhood for 40 years. We bought a beautiful 68 oz. Lee True Traditions ANSO Crush Resistor III with a 19# Ultimate Bigelow rubber waffle pad. They installed Monday and it's beautiful. Plush too, like walking on air.

However, I do notice the lines where the seams meet in doorways and such. I called our salesperson and she said that these lines would go away over time as the carpet wears in. She said to give it a couple weeks and if the lines don't go away to let her know and they'll make it right. This is our first (and I hope last) wall to wall carpet and I just wanted to get your opinion of this. How visible should seams be when first installed?


No seam is invisible and you should not expect perfection. However, you don't want your seams to look ugly forever so if they are not looking good to you today then don't let them put you off any longer. Your carpet seams won't look any better next week or next year. If your carpet seams are very obvious or unsightly today, you should expect them to come out and fix it immediately. DO NOT WAIT! Remember that no carpet seam is totally invisible, but you have every right to expect them to look reasonably nice and not be too noticeable. 


Apartment-Grade Carpet?


I live in Long Beach California and own an 827 sq. ft. condo that I will be renting. Approximately, how much should I pay for a nylon plush carpet? Don't count the extra fees, your website helped me out with that.



In a rental you could pay as little as $8.00 per yard for an apartment-grade nylon carpet, or pay a little more ($9-$14) for an upgraded nylon carpet. I don't recommend spending too much money on the carpet as renters rarely take proper care of it and you could end up replacing it more often than you like. Don't buy from a carpet retailer; buy from a carpet vendor who caters to apartments and rental property. Don't know of any? Call a local apartment complex and ask the property manager who they use for carpet replacements. Then call the carpet vendor and tell them you have an apartment that needs new carpet and want to have their representative come by with some samples; to measure your place and to give you a bid.  This is the best way for you to go and it will save you a lot of money. Sherwin Williams is a well known paint company, but few know that they also provide low cost carpet and vinyl replacements for apartments and rental properties through with their Floor Covering Division. Nylon Carpet Cost vs Longevity



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