Free Carpet Information and Buying Guide
By Alan Fletcher - 30 Yr Carpet Expert and Consumer Advocate - I Do Not Sell or Install Carpet.
Sometimes locating all the carpet specifications to help you make wise and informed carpet-buying choices can be difficult, if not nearly impossible, depending on where you shop for carpet.
Some carpet manufacturers have been reluctant to provide carpet specifications to their dealers and their customers. They would rather you make your choice based on color and style.
When it comes to Pile height, Pile Density and Face-Weight... You can figure them out all by yourself, if you can figure out two out of three specifications you can still extrapolate the third specification... Mathematically!
Below I explain in detail what you need to do, and how you can figure out the main 3 carpet specifications you need to have.
Top 3 Carpet Specifications
1. What is Carpet Pile Density?
Pile Density is a mathematical calculation based on the fiber Face-Weight and Pile Height. Think of a heavily wooded forest. The more closely packed together the trees are, the more dense the forest is.
The same goes for carpet. You want a carpet with the tufts packed tightly together. This helps the carpet resist matting and crushing of the pile and increases longevity.
Pile Density is a major factor to consider when it comes to carpet durability too, almost as important as the type of Carpet Fiber you select.
Face-Weight x 36
÷ Pile Height = Pile Density
In this example, we know the face weight is 30 ounces and the pile height is 0.5 (one half inch).
We can now use
#1 to determine the Pile Density Rating.
2. What is Carpet Face-Weight?
Most carpet samples show the carpet Face-Weight or it can be obtained from the manufacturer. You can call the manufacturer and ask for it or you can ask the salesperson to get it for you.
Face-weight 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 somewhere between 20 ounces and 100 ounces, but the average face-weight for a residential carpet is about 30 to 60 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.
Fortunately, these three carpet specs are mathematically related which is good news for you. If you can figure out one, or two out of the three specs, then you can easily figure out all the other specifications using the formulas I reveal below!
Don't worry about the number 36 or what it means, as it is a constant industry factor with all these calculations.
x Pile Height ÷ 36 = Face Weight
In this example, what we know is that the Pile Density is 2160 and the pile height is 0.5 (one half inch).
We can now use
to determine the Face-Weight in ounces.
3. What is Carpet Pile Height?
Let's assume you don't know what the Pile Height is of a carpet you are interested in buying. With a simple ruler you can measure the pile height yourself.
If you want your carpet to last longer, I recommend a Carpet Pile Height of less the 3/4".
On stairs, I recommend a Carpet Pile Height of 1/2" or less and a Carpet Padding Thickness of 7/16" or less and a Pile Density Rating of at least 8-pounds.
Learn more about How to choose the correct Carpet Padding
36 ÷ Pile Density x Face-weight = Pile Height
(e.g.) (36 ÷ 2160 X 30 = 0.499998 (0.5))
We use Formula #3 to determine the Pile Height in decimals and converted into a fraction using the chart below.
Decimal to Inches