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How to Select the Right Grade of Carpet

By Alan Fletcher - 30-Year Carpet Expert and Trusted Consumer Advocate


Sixty years ago... all wall to wall carpet was made so well it could easily last a 20 to 30 years or more, even in high traffic applications. That's because it was constructed well and made of nylon.


Today there are so many different grades of carpet available that you MUST be very careful to select a carpet that is designed to meet or exceed your needs, goals and lifestyle or else you will end up with a carpet that wears out years sooner than you anticipate.


Back in the 1960's, there were basically three grades of carpet to choose from. Good, better and best. The lowest grade carpet was still designed to last 10-20 years or more before it would show any signs of wearing out. Medium and high grades could easily last a lifetime. Many of these 60 year old carpets are still in use today in homes all across America, and they still look great after a thorough cleaning. These carpets all had one thing in common... Nylon!


We still find nylon carpets in homes that were originally installed in the 50's, 60's and 1970's. They all wore like iron because they were all made of a heavy-gauge NYLON filament. All homeowners had to do was give them a good cleaning every few years and their carpet would look like new again, year after year.


Today, like everything else, carpets are not made nearly as durable as they once were. Today carpet makers cut corners wherever they can to save money and be able to offer a different grade of carpet to meet every type of application. Carpet manufacturers today make many different grades of carpet to choose from, and every price point imaginable. The trick for homeowners is knowing which grade of carpet to buy that can meet all their expectations and still be within their budget. 


Here is a basic explanation of carpet grades and how they might fit into your needs and budget...



Carpet Grades Explained:


There are at least 3 grades of low-end carpets designed for apartments, rental property and is typically called "builders Grade" carpet. These low-cost carpets are only designed to last 3 to 5 years at best. The face weights are generally 22 ounces to 30 ounces. Prices range from $8 per square yard to $15 per square yard for the carpet only. If you are a landlord with apartments or rental property, visit my Landlord Floors Website designed to help you save money on carpet and flooring replacement costs.


There are at least 6 medium carpet grades for those who want a carpet to last for 6 to 15 years. Face-weights range from 30 ounces to 40 ounces. Prices range $18 to $30 per yard for the carpet only. The pile height, tuft twist and pile density are three factors that determine how long the carpet will last and prices increase accordingly. What makes one carpet better than another?


There are at least 3 high-end grades for those who want their carpet to last 15-20 years or more and are willing to pay dearly for it. 


With high-end grades of carpet, you can expect:


  • The best quality fiber, usually Nylon 6.6, 6.0 or wool. These are well constructed, easier to clean, more resilient, resist fading, better color choices, more durable, more styles to choose from, etc.

  • You always get a much better backing system. The backing will have a much tighter weave, heavier construction, quality materials and more durable. 

  • The pile density will be higher, often rated more than 3000. Higher density carpets can tolerate higher traffic applications and and increased ease of cleaning.

  • The tuft-twist rating will be higher (in the 5 to 7 range). Higher tuft-twists make carpets retain their like-new appearance longer. 

  • Costs will be $45 to $85 per square yard for carpet only. Pad and installation is extra. Expect to pay more for installation as these higher quality carpets are heavier and more difficult to install. 


I've just mentioned 12 different grades of carpet to make it easy to understand. But in reality, there are literally hundreds of varying grade levels of carpet to choose from, all at varying prices and warranty levels. Local carpet retailers don't have enough space to display every carpet brand, style or color available. 



Selecting New Carpet is Confusing


We are all taught the believe that more is better than less. That heavier is better than light-weight. With choosing new carpet, you cannot assume these things. For example, A higher priced carpet does not automatically mean it is a higher quality carpet. A carpet with a taller pile-height can be less durable. Carpets with higher face-weights are not more durable. 


A thin carpet made with Nylon is usually more durable than a thick carpet made from Polyester. The type of fiber you choose is very critical. Nylon is always a better choice than Polyester if you want your carpet to last a long time and not mat down quickly.


Choosing the wrong grade of carpet is the biggest mistake you can make. Why? Because the carpet you buy MUST meet your needs and goals or you will not get the results that you desire. Why spend thousands on a carpet that won't last as long as you hope? How Much Does Carpet Cost?


Need to buy a good quality carpet? Why spend thousands on a cheaply-made, low-quality carpet that will wear out and mat down before you know it? On the other side of the coin, why spend hundreds or thousands more than you need to,  if your going to move in a couple of years? 


Let's be sensible...


If you want your carpet to last for just 5 years, you shouldn't spend more any than is necessary to achieve that goal. The trick is knowing how to determine which grade of carpet can do the best job for you at the lowest possible cost. 



Don't Blindly Trust Any Carpet Salesperson. 


Some carpet salespeople are very knowledgeable and helpful, and will gladly take the time to help you choose new carpet wisely. Some carpet salespeople are not helpful and are NOT willing to help you achieve your goals. Why? Commissioned salespeople don't always take the time to ask you all the important questions that are necessary to help you choose new carpet wisely. They will just ask you how much you have to spend and lead you to a carpet in your price range. Then they will applaud any carpet choice you make and say it is a good choice, whether it is a good choice for your needs and goals or not. Homeowners need to learn how to choose the right carpet and avoid bad advice from sly carpet salespeople. 


Start by taking my free Carpet Foot Traffic Test to see what grade of carpet will best meet your needs and goals. Then read my website articles to learn how to choose the Right Grade of Carpet for the Best possible Price from a trusted locally-owned carpet dealer that I recommend near you!






Alan's Preferred Carpet Dealers

It's getting harder everyday to find an honest and reputable carpet dealer! That's why I have been putting together my own special hand-picked list of Carpet Dealers who are locally owned, give free estimates, offer fair prices, have knowledgeable staff, provide honest measuring and hire qualified installers. See who I recommend near you!


How to select carpet and pad, get qualified installation, avoid carpet scams and get a fair deal! How to choose Carpet, selecting carpet, best carpet selection, choosing carpet, best carpet choice.


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