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Carpet Comparison

By Alan Fletcher - 30-year Carpet Expert & Trusted Consumer Advocate


What Makes One Carpet More Durable Than Another?


Carpet Quality and Durability is determined by several key factors including: the type of materials used; the fiber face-weight; and how well the carpet is constructed overall.


Here is KEY information you need to know before you begin shopping and before you make your final carpet selections. 


Let me explain about Carpet Specifications and where you can locate or obtain all the crucial information you need as you begin shopping for new carpet for your home, office or rental. 



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. 


The label might 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 these specifications are NOT listed on the manufacturer's carpet label. 


Why? They don't want you to ask too many questions. They just want you to choose your new carpet based on the color, the style, the feel and the price. Which is, the absolute worst way to select a new carpet for your home and will usually end in you being unhappy with your carpet selection a some point down the road. 


5 Main Carpet Specifications:

  1. Fiber Type

  2. Pile Height

  3. Tuft-Twist Rating

  4. Pile-Density Rating

  5. Pile Face-Weight


These 5 key Carpet "Specs" are the critical information you MUST have access to, to help you determine how durable the carpet is and whether or not it would be a good choice for your needs, goals and lifestyle. 


Sadly, many carpet manufacturers either don't provide complete information on the labels or retailers may remove, alter or refuse to provide the information that consumers need to make wise and informed carpet choices. 



Take My Free Carpet Foot- Traffic Test  

To help determine what grade of carpet you need to buy!



Why is it so difficult to comparison shop for carpet?


Most carpet stores carry the exact same carpet brands, styles and colors as other nearby carpet stores. Some carpet retailers may not be willing to provide you with the carpet specifications 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 down the street. In their mind, it's not fair for their commissioned salesperson to spend 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 believe all consumers deserve to have full and complete access to the carpet specifications. 


If your carpet retailer is not willing to provide you with all the carpet specs, then you might consider shopping somewhere else. Bear in mind that the salesperson will often have to call the carpet maker to gain access to the "spec sheet" and it could take a day or two to gather all the information for you. Be patient!



How To Shop For Carpet?


You should take your time shopping for carpet and gradually narrow down your selections to just a few carpets that you really like that may be suitable for your needs and 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. Now you can compare them side by side based on their specifications.


Study my Carpet Durability Chart to learn more.



Private Labels on Carpet Samples


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 changed 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 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



What is the PAR Rating?


Many 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 systems because I don't think it is an accurate true-to-life calculation. I suggest you take my free carpet foot traffic test to see what grade of carpet you might need for your home. 


Take my free Carpet Foot Traffic Test


More About Carpet Specifications




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: 


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). 




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 a Carpet look or appear worn out?


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.


This 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.


Carpet comparison, how to compare carpet, polyester vs. nylon carpet, nylon vs Smartstrand carpet, pet polyester vs. nylon carpet. tuft twist ratings, 



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Alan's Preferred Carpet Dealers

It's getting harder every day to find honest and reputable carpet dealers! That's why I created my own special hand-picked list of Reputable Carpet Dealers who are locally owned, give free estimates, offer fair and square pricing, have knowledgeable staff, provide accurate measuring and hire qualified installers. It doesn't get any better than that! Don't become the victim of a carpet scam!  

See who I recommend near you!


















Expert Carpet Buying Guide for Homeowners By Consumer Advocate

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Common Carpet Buying Questions and Answers    Honest Carpet Buying Questions and Answers   Free Consumer Carpet Buying Q A

Choosing the Right Carpet Pad     List of Carpet Manufacturing Websites    Top 20 Carpet Buying Questions & Answers

Carpet Specifications - Face Weight, Pile Density, Tuft Twist   Best and Worst Places to Buy Carpet  How Often Should I Vacuum?

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