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How To Compare Carpet


What Makes One Carpet... More Durable Than Another?


Carpet Quality and Durability is determined by several factors including: the Fiber Type; the fiber Face-Weight; the Pile Density. This defines how well the carpet is constructed overall. This is key information you need to obtain and consider before you make your final carpet selections.


There are unique manufacturing specifications available for every carpet manufactured today. Sometimes it can be difficult to obtain all the Carpet Specifications from a carpet retailer. I can help you with that. Before you begin shopping for new carpet, I suggest you take my free carpet foot traffic test to help determine what grade of carpet you might need for your home. Carpet Foot-Traffic Test



The "Carpet Specification" Label


On the back of every Carpet Sample there should be a manufacturer's label that shows the name of the manufacturer; the Type of Fiber used to make the carpet pile; the limited warranty information and the carpet style and color names. 


This label might also reveal which anti-stain or anti-static treatments have been applied. It may also include the Pile Density Rating, Pile height, Face-Weight and the Tuft Twist rating, but in most cases all these specifications are NOT listed on the back of the carpet sample. 


Why? They want to keep it simple. They don't want to confuse you, and they don't want you to ask too many questions. They want you to choose your new carpet quickly, based on color, style, feel... and of course, the price. Which is the absolute worst way for any homeowner to choose new carpet. 


Choosing new carpet without considering all the specifications will likely end in you being unhappy with your carpet durability and performance a some point down the road. Here are the five carpet specifications you need to ask for and obtain from your salesperson:


The 5 Main Carpet Specifications:


carpet display rack - carpet professor1. Fiber Type

2. Pile Height

3. Tuft-Twist Rating

4. Pile Density Rating

5. Pile Face-Weight



These 5 main "Carpet Specifications" are the most critical information you must have when shopping for new carpet. 



Print and Use my Free 

Carpet Durability Guide Chart 

It is designed to help narrow down your final carpet choices.


(Click on the image to view or print)

 Carpet Durability Guide Chart - Carpet Professor

Knowing Carpet Specifications will help you determine how durable a carpet is, and if it would be a good choice for your unique needs, goals and lifestyle. 


Sadly, some carpet manufacturers refuse to provide or place a complete list of specifications on the back of their carpet samples. Some Carpet salespeople may intentionally refuse to provide this critical information to you. 


Don't be the victim of a Carpet Scam! Learn how to combat this common carpet scam and learn how to gain access to all the carpet specifications you require. 



How to locate Carpet Specifications?

Once you find several carpets you really like, you need to get the carpet specifications for each carpet before you agree to buy. You need to ask for the manufacturer's spec sheet. The Spec Sheet is a one-page report from the carpet manufacturer that provides all the carpet specifications regarding the carpet style in question. 


Carpet Spec Sheet Example - (Carpet Spec Sheet)


The carpet salesperson may have to call the manufacturer to ask for it, find it in their computer database or call their local carpet mill representative to request the specifications you need. This can be difficult, time consuming, frustrating  and challenging. If all else fails, you can always call the carpet manufacturer yourself and ask them to email it to you. Sometimes that works. Here is a list of carpet manufacturer toll-free 800 numbers and their websites.



Q. What Grade of Carpet Should I Choose for Heavy Foot-Traffic?


If you want your new carpet to last as long as possible you need to choose a Carpet made of Nylon. It is the most durable synthetic fiber available today. Carpet Fibers and Carpet Durability


Take My Free Carpet Foot-Traffic Test to help determine what grade of carpet you need to buy to meet your needs, goals, lifestyle and budget! It is absolutely critical for you to select the grade of carpet (and padding) that is capable of withstanding your unique level of Foot-Traffic you have in your home. 



Carpet Comparison Confusion?

Most carpet stores carry the exact same carpet brands, styles and colors as other nearby carpet stores, with some exceptions. Some carpet retailers may not be willing to provide you with the carpet specifications just  to make it harder for you to comparison shop. They don't want you to shop for a lower price on the exact same carpet at a discount store down the street.


In their mind, it's not fair for their salesperson to spend time helping you find the perfect carpet, measure your home, pet your dog and then discover that you purchased the exact same carpet down the street because it was a few dollars cheaper. While I do understand their frustration with dealing with customers who want to shop around for the best deals, I believe all consumers deserve to have full and complete access to the carpet specifications and prices.



Getting a slightly cheaper price at the discount carpet retailer down the street may not end well for you in the long run. Not all carpet and flooring retailers are honest and reliable. If something ever goes wrong, as they often do, a reputable locally-owned carpet dealer will do whatever it takes to make sure you are a satisfied customer. Some dealers may have a lower price but how about their customer service before and after the sale? Some dealers have lower prices but use shoddy installers. Some dealers have lower prices but won't return your calls when you have a problem or complaint. 


These are just a few of the reasons why I have my own preferred list of carpet dealers that I recommend to my readers. Don't become the victim of a carpet scam! See who I recommend near you!


Tell Tale Sign?

If your carpet retailer is not willing to provide you with all the carpet specs you ask for, then you should consider shopping somewhere else. If they say the carpet specs are not available, they either don't know or they don't care. Either way, it says a lot about them. Bear in mind that the salesperson may have to call the carpet manufacturer to gain access to the "spec sheet" you requested and it could take a day or two for them to gather all the information for you. Be patient!





The Smart Way To Shop For New Carpet?

You should always take your time shopping for carpet and gradually narrow down your selections to just a few carpets that you really like. Choose those styles that are most suitable for your needs and goals first, and second, fall within your price range. 


You might want to consider doing your new carpet project in stages if the grade of carpet you require is more costly than you anticipated. Perhaps you can do the bedrooms and stairs first, then do the living areas when more funds are available. This way you can make sure your carpet will be able to last as long as you intend. 


If you go with a lower grade, your carpet will not last as long as you intend and you may need to replace your carpet much sooner than you think. Then before you make your final choice, ask the salesperson to provide you with a spec-sheet for each of those carpets you are considering. 


Now you can compare them side by side based on their specifications and price. Print out my free Carpet Durability Chart to learn more about choosing new carpet wisely!





What Are Private Labels?

One problem you may encounter when shopping for carpet at home improvement stores like Lowe's or Home Depot, is that they have placed private labels on all their carpet samples. 


They have deliberately altered the style and color names to prevent you from being able to comparison shop at other local carpet stores. What this means to you is that if you find a carpet that you really like, you will have a very hard time finding the exact same carpet at another carpet store. 


This is a sneaky trick that prevents you from determining if their prices are fair and reasonable. I consider "private labeling" a Carpet Scam! Chances are good that the exact same carpet is available at other local carpet stores in your area but are selling under a different style and color name. 


Using private labels is how they prevent you from comparing their prices with other nearby carpet retailers. This is also how they can get away with charging you more for the carpet, padding and installation. They try very hard to take away your right to shop around to find the best deal. 


Are their prices fair? How would you know if you are unable to comparison shop? For this reason and many others, I do not recommend buying carpet or flooring from any home improvement store. Common Consumer Carpet Buying Mistakes


Carpet Tuft Twist


What is a Tuft? 

Carpet fibers, strands or "filaments" are grouped together to form tufts and twisted while heat is applied to "set" the fibers permanently, hence the term "heat set". The tighter the filaments are twisted the more durable the carpet will be.


For Example: 


7 tuft twists example

This tuft has 7 twists and is a sign of a well-made carpet. I have used green and white to better show the twisting of the tuft. In this example the tuft is one-inch long (tall). 



4 tuft twists example

This tuft only 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 always have a higher Tuft Twist rating (usually over 6) and is why Frieze styles are well-known for their durability and retaining a like-new appearance longer than most other carpet styles. (I am referring to Frieze styles made of 100% Nylon)

  • The Tuft Twist rating is based on the number of twists per "lineal inch" of tuft. 

  • The Tuft Twist rating numbers usually range from 3.0 to 7.5


What Makes Carpet Look Bad or Ugly?

Carpets with a low Tuft-Twist rating (3 to 5) are more likely to untwist or “blossom” at the yarn tips more quickly... thus creating a worn out or matted down appearance.


blooming tuft example - carpet professorThis example shows a single tuft that has unraveled thereby making the carpet look matted down and ugly looking. Nothing can be done to repair a carpet when this happens. 



Tufts cannot be re-twisted. Carpets with a lower Tuft Twist rating tend to "blossom" more quickly and as a result will appear worn out much more quickly. 


This is why it is important to choose a new Carpet with a higher Tuft-Twist rating. It will resist untwisting of the tuft; retain its like-new appearance longer and tolerate a higher level of foot traffic. When comparing new carpet side by side, you must consider the Tuft Twist to help determine which carpet may be the better choice. 


Study this simple 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 other styles.



What is the "PAR" Carpet Rating System?

Some carpet manufacturers have a durability scale they use to inform consumers. It is usually based on a number from one to five, with five being the most durable. I don't like their rating system because I don't think it is an accurate true-to-life calculation.



Print My Free  

Carpet Shopping Form

Designed to help you ask all the right questions and make wise and informed choices.


(click on the image to view or print)


Carpet Shopping Form -



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