What Makes One
Carpet Better Than Another?
quality is determined by several factors including: The
type and quality of materials used; The amount of fiber face-weight; and how
well it is constructed. Here is some important
information you need to know before you make your final carpet selection.
me explain a little about Carpet Specifications and where you can
locate or obtain all this critical information as you are shopping for new
carpet for your home. This is the first page of many you should read on my
free website before you make your final carpet and padding selection.
What is the PAR
Carpet Rating System?
confuse the PAR rating with carpet durability in your home. Some carpet manufacturers have a durability
scale they use to help inform consumers. It is usually based on a number from one to
five, with five being the most durable. I don't like these rating systems
because I think it is not an accurate true-to-life calculation you can depend
on. If you don't know what grade of carpet you need, I suggest you
take my free carpet foot traffic test to see what grade of carpet you might need
for your home. Don't spend too much or too little on new carpet and padding. Take
my free Carpet
Foot Traffic Test
The Carpet "Specification" Label
On the back of every carpet sample
there should be a label that shows the Name of the
Manufacturer, the Type of
Fiber used to make the carpet pile, the fiber Face-Weight,
Warranty information and the Carpet
Style name and Carpet Color name.
The label might reveal which anti-stain or anti-static treatments have
been applied. It may also include the Pile Density
Rating, Pile height and the Tuft Twist, but in most cases these specifications are NOT listed on the carpet
Carpet manufacturing specifications are the key bits of information you need to
help determine the carpet's durability level and whether or not it would be a good choice
based on the level of foot traffic you have in your home.
Many carpet manufacturers
provide complete product information on their carpet samples. Some carpet
retailers are reluctant to call the manufacturer and request this information
and provide complete carpet specs to their customers. Homeowners can call the
mill direct and request carpet specifications. I have compiled a list of carpet
mill websites and phone numbers for you. List
of Carpet Mill Websites and Phone Numbers
They want to make it difficult for you to comparison shop.
retailers carry many of the the exact same carpet
brands, styles and colors as other nearby carpet dealers. Some carpet retailers
may not be willing to provide you with the carpet specifications to make it harder for you to comparison
They want to make it hard for you to shop for a lower price on
the exact same carpet at another dealer down the street. In their mind, it's not fair for their
commissioned salesperson to spend several hours helping a customer find the perfect
carpet... then for that customer to buy 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 shop around for the best deals, I firmly believe
consumers should have access to complete and accurate carpet manufacturing specifications.
How To Shop For
You should take your time shopping for carpet
and gradually narrow down your selection to just a few carpet types that you
really like, that may be suitable for your needs and that are within your price
range. 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.
Bear in mind that the
carpet retailer will have to call the carpet mill and request the "spec sheet" and it could take a day or two
for them to obtain all the information for you. Be patient! However, if your carpet retailer is not willing to
call the mill or make an effort to provide you with the carpet specs you need, then you might consider shopping somewhere
else. One of the hardest specs to obtain is the Tuft Twist. If you have good
eyesight you can usually make an educated guess about this specification by
looking at the carpet. Here is what I mean...
The Tuft Twist
What is a tuft?
Carpet fibers 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
This tuft has 7 twists and is a sign of a well-made carpet.
This tuft 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
tend to have a higher tuft twist (over 6) and is why they
are well-known for their durability and retaining a like-new appearance longer
than most other carpet styles..
The Tuft Twist is based on
the number of twists per "lineal inch" of tuft.
The Tuft Twist
values usually range from 3.0 to 8.0, the higher the better.
What makes a Carpet look or appear worn out?
Carpets with a low Tuft Twist (3
to 5) tend to untwist or “blossom”
at the yarn tips
more quickly thus creating a worn out or
matted down appearance. The illustration at left shows how a tuft may appear if
it has blossomed.
For this reason, a Carpet with a higher
Tuft Twist value will retain its like-new appearance longer and tolerate a higher level of foot-traffic. When comparing carpets side by side,
you must consider the Tuft Twist to help you determine which carpet is the
better choice. Carpets with a lower Tuft Twist tend to "blossom"
more quickly and as a result will appear worn-out sooner.
simple Tuft Twist 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 Style Carpets tend to wear better and last longer than many other