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Key To Choosing New Carpet Wisely!
Do Homeowners Need Carpet Specifications?
carpet is a major homeowner expense and many homeowners choose the wrong grade of
carpet and end up making a very costly mistake.
If you want to make a wise
carpet selection and be sure to get your full monies worth, you need to know
what carpet grade or quality level of carpet you need to buy for your home.
Carpet Specifications is the ONLY sure-fire way for you to know if the carpet
you select is able to tolerate the level of foot traffic you have in your
home. This also reveals how long it will last and retain its like-new
the wrong grade of carpet and it WILL certainly wear out faster than you
anticipate and you will not be happy with the outcome. Take
my free Carpet Foot-Traffic
Test to see where you stand.
locating all the carpet specifications you need 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 are
reluctant to freely provide carpet specifications to their dealers and their
Ways Dealers Get Carpet Specifications
Dealers can call the Carpet Manufacturer directly –
most carpet mills are happy to fax or email the carpet " spec sheet".
You can also call the carpet manufacturer yourself as long as you have all the
key information about the carpet in question. The manufacturer; the style name;
the color name; or color number.
Dealers can login to their online carpet mill account - to
gain access to carpet specifications. This may require a store manager to login
to obtain the information you want. It is easy for them to do, if they are
willing to take the time to do it.
Dealers can call their Carpet Mill Representative to
obtain the information you need. Every carpet retailer has the cell phone number
to reach their carpet account representative. It may take a day or two for their
mill rep to provide the carpet specs you want, but they can provide it if they
are willing to take the time. If they don't, then I suggest you buy from another
dealer who will!
the Carpet Manufacturer Yourself
can call and ask for the carpet specifications 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.
When it comes to Pile Height, Pile Density and Face-Weight...
might not be a big problem if
you can find or even closely guesstimate two out of three carpet specs, then you can easily figure
out the third specification...Using simple mathematics!
I explain in detail what you need to do, and how you can quickly and easily
figure out all the carpet specifications you need to acquire, even if the
dealers refuse to give
you hardly any information at all!
Main Carpet Specifications:
The Pile Height measurement is not
usually shown on the carpet sample, however all you need is a tape measure.
Don't include the carpet backing, just the soft fibers from the backing up.
Convert the measurement into a decimal for calculating purposes. Example= One half inch (1/2") is equal to
(.5) decimal. See chart below
Decimal to Fractions Conversion
0.125 = 1/8
0.1875 = 3/16
0.250 = 1/4
0.3125 = 5/16
0.375 = 3/8
0.4375 = 7/16
0.5625 = 9/16
0.625 = 5/8
0.6875 = 11/16
0.750 = 3/4
0.8125 = 13/16
0.875 = 7/8
1.0000 = 1"
from Reducing the Pile Height
residential applications with heavy foot traffic, I recommend a pile height of less
than 3/4" to help reduce matting and crushing of the
pile. Why? A shorter Pile-Height makes carpet more durable, easier to clean and
more stain resistant. Commercial grade carpets
have a short
pile height and a dense pile. This is why they tolerate heavy foot traffic for
decades. This is the recipe for
success used in offices, airports and banks.
Looped-Berber Carpet Styles
Berber styles are best when the loops are smaller and tightly packed together.
Large loops tend to fall over and look worn out very quickly. Inexpensive looped
Berber styles tend to have larger loops and are typically made from Olefin,
which a durable fiber but hard to keep clean fiber (it tends to attract
grades of looped Berber styles are typically made from Nylon and have smaller
loops and are much more durable and easier to keep clean. Nylon Berber styles
are often 4 times as costly as a Berber made from Olefin, however a Nylon Berber
will easily last at least 4 times longer and retain its like-new appearance much
longer too. A good quality Nylon looped Berber style will cost about $20 to $35
plus pad and install.
styles require a special padding that is more dense with a lower profile.
For example a good quality Rebond padding, 1/4" to 3/8" thickness and
a density of at least 8 pounds. Some prefer a rubber pad or a synthetic fiber or
wool pad for basements. How to choose the
Pile Density is a mathematical calculation based
on 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.
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 the most important
factor next to Fiber Type.
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.
carpets have a face-weight somewhere between 20 ounces and 100 ounces, but the
average face-weight for a residential carpet is about 35 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.
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.
To Calculate Carpet Specs Yourself?
assume you don't know what the Pile Density rating is of a
carpet you are interested in buying, but you do know the Face-Weight and
is a number between 1 and 100.
Height is a Fraction turned into a decimal (like .75 for 3/4").
Decimal to Inches (fraction) Conversion Table above)
Face-Weight x 36 ÷ Pile Height = Pile Density
(e.g.) (30 X 36 ÷ 0.50 =
this example, what we know is that the face weight is 30 ounces and the pile height is 0.5
(one half inch).
can now use Rule
#1 to determine the Pile Density Rating.
assume you don't know what the Face-Weight rating is of a
carpet you are interested in buying, but you do know the Pile Height
and Pile Density.
Density x Pile Height ÷ 36 = Face Weight
(e.g.) (2160 X 0.50 ÷ 36 =
this example, what we know is that the Pile Density is 2160 and the
pile height is 0.5 (one half inch).
can now use Rule #2 to determine the Face-Weight in ounces.
assume you don't know what the Pile Height is of a carpet you
are interested in buying, but you do know the Face-Weight
and the Pile Density.
36 ÷ Density x Face-weight = Pile Height
(36 ÷ 2160 X 30 = 0.499998 (0.5))
In this example, what we know is that the Pile Density is 2160 and the Face
Weight is 30 ounces.
can now use Rule #3 to determine the Pile Height in decimals, which can
quickly be converted into a fraction of an inch using the chart above.
don't know the Tuft-Twist rating of a carpet you are interested
fibers, 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 these strands are twisted, heat is applied to "set" them
permanently, hence the term "heat set" or "perm". This
is very similar to the way women might use a curling iron to create and set
curls into their hairstyles.
The tighter the tufts are twisted together
the longer the carpet is able to maintain its "like-new" appearance.
is not difficult to guesstimate the number of Tuft-Twists of a carpet you are
considering. Tuft-Twist is really quite simple. When
you look at a carpet you can look closely at the tuft and easily count the
number of twists
yourself. You just need to remember that it is based on the number of twists
per lineal inch of tuft.
are Tufts that are one-inch long.
I have used two colors to show the number of twists.
Tuft Twist Rating is based on the number of twists per lineal inch of
Tuft has 7 twists and is a sign
of a well-made carpet. Frieze styles have tufts similar to this and cost about $30 per square yard on average, or $3.33 per
Tuft has 4 twists and is not as
good. This is a sign of a lower-grade carpet. Inexpensive Plush and Textured
Plush styles often have tufts similar to this and range from $10 to $20 per
square yard or $1.11 to $2.22 per square foot. More expensive styles have higher
is Tuft Twist Important?
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 per lineal inch) and is why they are well-known for their
durability and retaining a like-new appearance longer than many other styles.
When you look at a potential carpet to buy you can look at the tuft and count
the twists yourself. Looped Berber carpets have twisted tufts too, but it is
very hard to count them with the naked eye. Most looped Berber styles will state
the tuft twist rating on the sample or the manufacturer's spec sheet.
few important Carpet facts no one else will
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. 10 pound pad density would be better. Learn more about Carpet Padding
with a lower Tuft Twist Rating (of 3 to 5), tend to untwist or “blossom”
at the tuft tips more quickly, thus creating a worn out, frizzy looking or
matted down appearance. Carpets seldom wear out from the loss of fiber, they
just start to mat down; gradually lose the luster and shine; and start looking bad. Once the tufts have blossomed and become matted down, it cannot be
reversed or repaired.
Facts to Remember:
Tuft Twist Rating is based on the number of twists per lineal inch
of the tuft. A tuft that is only a half inch long you would need to
double the twist count to figure out what the twist rating is.
fairly easy to guess the number of twists with the naked eye. Compare with
other known-specs carpet samples and view side by side.
Tuft Twist count usually range from 3.0 to 7.5. Lesser quality carpets will
have a lower number of Tuft Twists.
higher the Tuft Twist the longer your new carpet will retain its like-new
"Blossom" or blooming is a common
carpet condition where the Tuft begins to un-twist and starts to look
worn out, matted down and ugly!
carpets with a lower Tuft Twist rating try to compensate with a higher Pile
of Polyester and PET Polyester carpets often use this strategy to increase durability
and reduce matting and crushing of the pile.
and Polyester are very soft fibers however they are not very resilient. This
means they are inherently prone to matting down and crushing of the pile,
medium to heavy traffic applications.
Carpet made from PET Polyester and Polyester fibers
cost less than Nylon, but if you want your carpet to last a long
time and you have medium to heavy foot traffic, then I suggest you choose a
carpet made of nylon.
I would also discourage you
from buying PTT, Triexta, Sorona, aka Mohawk Smartstrand if you have a
Moderate to heavy traffic application. P.E.T. is
an abbreviation that has nothing to do with your pets, it stands for
Polyethylene Terephthalate, a plastic commonly used to manufacture plastic
water or pop bottles.
is the most durable and most resilient fiber used to make carpet, second to none.
It is more costly to manufacture and it is not as soft as a P.E.T or
Polyester or the Smartstrand (aka PTT or Triexta) fiber. However Nylon will typically last years longer
if properly cared for and will resist matting and crushing of the pile
better than any other fiber.
It's an eye opening
experience to read a New Carpet Warranty. There are many limitations and
exclusions. It's easy to see that they try to make it
very difficult to substantiate a valid claim.
follow the manufacturers care and maintenance requirements to the letter
or risk voiding the warranty altogether. Don't buy carpet based
solely on the warranty limits, consider all the specifications.
are many different fibers to choose from. These are the most common.
(Sorona / PTT)
fiber you select will determine how long your carpet will last and how well it
will resist stains. My Fiber Chart
shows various fibers and fiber blends available today.
on the image to view or print)