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Carpet Grades Explained

Free Carpet Durability Guide Chart



Take a good look at this carpet sample. Can you answer these questions?


Nylon Berber Patterned Cut and Loop Style - Carpetprofessor.com1. What FIBER is this carpet made of... Nylon, Polyester, P.E.T. ?

2. What is the Carpet Style: Textured, Frieze, Berber, Cut & Loop?

3. Is this a good quality carpet? 

4. How long could it last in your home?

5. How much should this carpet cost per square foot?


If you don't know how to find the answers these basic 5 questions, then you probably need to learn a little more about choosing the right grade of carpet for your home! Let's fix that!


Sixty Years Ago... 

Virtually all residential carpet was made of heavy gauge nylon and built to last a lifetime. Not anymore! Today you must choose a carpet that is designed to meet or exceed your needs, goals and lifestyle. The last thing you want is to end up with a carpet that wears out way faster than you expect!


Most Residential Carpets Were Made of Nylon

  • There were basically three grades of nylon carpet to choose from, good, better, and best. 

  • The lowest grade carpet would last 10-15 years or more before showing any signs of wear. 

  • Medium and higher grades could easily last 20 to 30 years or more, even in heavy traffic applications! 

Many of these old carpets are still in use today in homes all across America, and many still look pretty good! Back then, carpets were made using a thick Nylon strand that resembled 6-pound fishing line. The carpet was not soft at all, but it was extremely durable. All homeowners had to do was give the carpet a deep cleaning every few years and it would bounce back and look practically like-new again, decade after decade.



Carpet Cost vs. Longevity Chart 2024 


In the carpet industry, seasoned professionals understand that the quality of the carpet you purchase is directly linked to the amount you spend. Cutting corners to save money will inevitably impact the carpet's quality, affecting its durability and longevity. Therefore, investing too little in new carpet may result in a compromise in quality and a shorter lifespan for the carpet you purchase. Personally, I think homeowners would be wise to choose carpet made of Nylon to get the best durability and longevity. Other types of Carpet Fibers have their pros and cons that you might want to consider. Prices shown below are estimates for the carpet only, and assumes you will be shopping at a Reputable, Locally-Owned Carpet Store near you. 


The chart below doesn't consider the type of carpet fiber you choose but rather how long your carpet may last based on your unique level of foot traffic. Take my free Carpet Foot-Traffic Test. (Estimated Minimum Prices Shown)

Carpet Cost vs. Longevity Chart 2024 

The prices shown are for the carpet only, Padding and Installation is extra.

Print or view this chart in a larger PDF format



Which Carpet Styles Do I Like Today?

Mohawk and Shaw both cater to the residential Carpet Market and have reasonable prices. There are certain carpet styles I prefer mainly because they are made of Nylon which is a very durable fiber. So to help you save time and energy, I've put together a short list of nylon carpet styles that I think are worthy of mentioning to my readers. If you want a durable long-lasting carpet, consider the styles I've listed below and ask to see them at your locally-owned carpet store. See my list of recommended carpet stores near you.



Mohawk's UltraStrand® Nylon Residential Collection


Style Numbers / Names (and Pile Face-Weight): 

1.     3J92 Blended Moments -40 oz

2.     3D37 Coastal Fashion I (Texture) -35 oz

3.     3D38 Coastal Fashion II (Texture) -45 oz

4.     3D39 Coastal Fashion III (Texture) -55 oz

5.     3G57 Enchanting Glamour -45 oz

6.     C389 Essential Charm -45 oz

7.     3C34 Essential Design I - 25 oz

8.     3C37 Essential Design II - 35 oz

9.     3H46 Exciting Selection I - 40 oz

10.  3H07 Glamorous Style -40 oz

11.  3I91 Linington Manor (Pattern) -38 oz

12.  3G07 Refined Structure -35 oz

13.  3I95 Timeless Structure (pattern) -35 oz


Click Here to Print My List (pdf)


Shaw's Anso® Nylon Residential Collection


Style Numbers / Names (and Pile Face-Weight): 

1.     E0528 Speed of Light -25 oz

2.     EA023 The Fair -34.1 oz

3.     EA024 In Savannah -34.1 oz

4.     EA499 Starting Place -29.2 oz

5.     EA500 Square One -25 oz

6.     EA501 Kick Off -25 oz

7.     EA502 Excel -25 oz

8.     EA505 Right Away -25 oz

9.     EA508 Inspiring -29.2 oz

10.  E0117 Westminster -34.1 oz

11.  E0548 Sandy Hollow Classic I – 39 oz

12.  E0549 Sandy Hollow Classic I - 15' wide - 39 oz

13.  E0550 Sandy Hollow Classic II - 48.8 oz

14.  E0551 Sandy Hollow Classic II - 15' wide - 48.8 oz

15.  E0554 Sandy Hollow Classic IV - 68.2 oz

16.  E0555 Sandy Hollow IV -15' wide - 68.2 oz


These are just some of the styles I like. Check out these nylon carpet styles at your local carpet retailer to see if you like the look, feel and price of these durable carpets. 


Click Here to Print My List (pdf)




Soft Nylon Carpet Fibers

Softness is a highly sought-after quality in nylon carpets, but achieving it often comes at a cost. Thinner fiber strands are used to create a super soft feel, but this compromises the carpet's durability and resilience. Popular soft nylon carpet styles, such as 'Caress' by Shaw and 'Tactesse' by Stainmaster, are more expensive and more susceptible to damage from abrasion, matting, and crushing of the pile. What is Fiber Denier?


Soft nylon carpets come in a variety of styles to fit any budget and application. While carpet manufacturers have cut corners to save money, they now offer a wider range of grades for every price point. Whether you're looking for a plush, luxurious feel or a more durable option, there's a nylon carpet style that will meet your needs.


Carpet Grades and Prices

The way I see it, manufacturers make about 12 basic grades of carpet. The trick is determining which grade of carpet is able to meet or exceed your expectations and hopefully still be affordable for you. Carpet prices will vary depending on the type of fiber the carpet is made from. 


Polyester, PET and Olefin are the least expensive. Sorona / Smartstrand and Nylon are more costly. Wool tops off the list as the most costly carpet fiber. Carpet prices are on the rise in 2024 and my pricing estimates may be a bit shy of what you actually find when out shopping for new carpet.


1. Lower-End Grades of Carpet

When it comes to carpeting for new homes, apartments, or rental properties, there are three main grades to choose from. These are often referred to as "builder-grade" or "apartment-grade" carpets, and they are designed to be affordable for those on a budget. However, it's important to note that these carpets are not meant to last for a long time. In fact, they typically only have a lifespan of 3 to 5 years, which is the average length of a tenant's stay. 


So, while they may be a good option for short-term use, they may not be the best choice for those looking for a long-lasting carpet solution. The face weights are generally 22 ounces to 28 ounces. Prices range from $12 - $22 per square yard for the carpet only. 


(If you are a landlord with apartments or a rental property owner or manager, visit my Landlord website. It is designed to help rental property owners save money on carpet and vinyl flooring replacement and repair costs.)


2. Medium Grade Levels

There are at least 6 medium-grade carpets for those who want a carpet to last for 6 to 12 years. Face-weights range from 30 to 40 ounces. Prices range $25 to $38 per yard for the carpet only. The fiber, pile height, tuft twist and pile density are the main four factors that determine how long the carpet will last and prices increase accordingly. What makes one carpet better than another?


3. High-End Carpet Grades

There are at least 6 high-end grades of carpet for those who want their carpet to last 12-20 years or more and are willing to pay dearly for it. Face-weights range from 40 to 60 ounces. Understanding Carpet Specifications. Prices range from $40 to $85 and up for the carpet only. Wool Carpets are most costly, usually well over $100 per square yard.



Higher Quality Carpets Provide...


More Durable Fibers

The two main nylon choices are Antron's Nylon 6.6 (Stainmaster) and Anso's Nylon 6. These fibers are easy to clean, very resilient, resist fading, great color choices, most durable, many styles to choose from, etc. Sorona (aka Smartstrand) may be a viable fiber option for you especially if stain resistance is more important over durability.


A Better Backing System

The carpet backing in higher grades will have a tighter weave and heavier construction. Better materials make it more durable and also helps prevent wrinkles. Some carpets have an enhanced backing system called Softbac® offered by Shaw.


Increased Pile Density

Higher density carpets tolerate heavier foot-traffic applications, have better stain resistance, clean easier and resist matting. Is it dense enough? It should be difficult to dig your fingers down into the pile and be able to reach the backing.


Higher Tuft-Twist

A higher tuft-twist rating make carpets retain their like-new appearance longer. Frieze styles are well known for having a high tuft twist rating, usually 7 twists or more per lineal inch of tuft. 


Better Quality Means Higher Cost

Be prepared to spend $45 to $85 per square yard for the carpet only. Pad and installation is extra. It is also common for installers to charge more for installation as higher quality carpets are usually much thicker, more difficult to handle and time consuming to install.


I've just mentioned 12 different grades of carpet to keep it simple. But actually there are dozens of grades of carpet to choose from, all at varying prices and warranty levels. Print and use my Carpet Durability Guide to help narrow down your final selections.


Print My Free

Carpet Durability Guide


Carpet Durability Guide Chart - Carpetprofessor.comIs the carpet you are considering durable enough to meet your needs, goals and lifestyle? This chart will help you determine the level of durability of any carpet, based on known manufacturing specifications.


(click on the image to view full size or print PDF)


Print all my Free Forms Charts and Guides




The Cost for Carpet Durability

A higher price does not always translate into a more durable or longer lasting carpet. Durability is determined on the consideration of all manufacturing specifications.


FOUR Carpet Specification Facts to Consider: 


1. Carpets with a pile-height over 3/4" are more prone to matting.

2. Carpets with a higher Pile-Density rating are more durable.

3. Face-weights above 60 ounces are not automatically more durable.

4. A higher Tuft Twist count, such as 6 or more, is a sign of a more durable carpet that will retain its like-new appearance longer. On the other hand, carpet with tufts having only 4 twists is a sign of a lower-grade carpet, often found in inexpensive plush styles. 


7 Tuft Twist Count

This Tuft has 7 Twists, a characteristic of a well-made, more durable carpet. Frieze styles have Tuft-Twist counts similar to this. Print out my free Carpet Durability Guide to get a better idea about how to compare carpets using manufacturing specifications. This is the only sure-fire way to determine what makes one carpet more durable than another. Learn more about Carpet Fibers 



In Conclusion...


Choosing the wrong grade of carpet is one of the biggest and most common mistakes homeowners make. Why? Because the carpet you buy MUST meet or exceed your needs and goals or you will not get the long-term results that you desire. Why spend thousands on new carpet that won't last as long as you anticipate?


1. How long do you want your new carpet to last? 

2. What is your Level of Foot-Traffic in your home? 

These are the 2 key questions that you need to consider and answer carefully. Then you can reveal the answer to this question: What Grade of Carpet Should I Buy? Take My Free Carpet Foot-Traffic Test to learn more.



CFI - Professional Training and Certification for Flooring Installers

It's getting harder to find qualified carpet installers. The International Certified Flooring Installers Association, Inc. (CFI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving flooring installation in the residential and commercial fields through training and certification. You might want to visit their website and try to locate a qualified carpet installer near you. They have a searchable database of certified installers near you. Find a CFI Certified Installer



Learn more:

 - How to choose new carpet and flooring like a pro!


~ My List of Carpet & Flooring Stores ~


Recommended Carpet and Flooring Dealers"I Only Recommend Locally-Owned Stores with Superior Service, Quality Products and Qualified Installers"


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