Carpet Specifications -
Face Weight, Pile Density, Tuft Twist
By Alan Fletcher- Carpet expert and consumer advocate
Carpet "Specification" Label
the back of every retail Carpet Sample there should be a
manufacturer's label that shows the Type
of Fiber used to make the carpet pile; the Pile Density Rating;
the Face-Weight of the pile; and the Pile Height.
is must-have information that every homeowner needs to help determine how
durable the carpet is, to help determine its value; and determine whether or
not it would be a suitable choice to meet all your needs, goals and lifestyle.
should also be other important information shown on the manufacturer's label too, such as:
the type or brand of anti-stain treatments that may have been applied
(e.g., Scotchgard); The manufacturer's brand name (e.g., Shaw, Mohawk,
Beaulieu); the carpet style name (e.g., Enchanted Evening II) ; and
color name or color number (e.g., Emerald Forest Green or EFG-124).
the label is missing, or does not provide all the information you need, then
you need to ask the salesperson to provide you with a "Carpet Spec
Sheet". This is usually a one-page report from the carpet manufacturer that
provides all the carpet specifications regarding the carpet in question.
The carpet salesperson may have to call the manufacturer to request it, or
call their local carpet mill representative to request the carpet specifications you
salesperson said that Carpet Specifications are not available anymore!
is not true! There's only one carpet manufacturer that I have ever known to
refuse to provide carpet specifications to their dealers and to consumers, and
that mill is Karastan. All other carpet makers are willing to provide
carpet specifications to their dealers; and often to homeowners directly
either by phone, by fax, snail mail, email or on the internet. You may need to
be patient and give the salesperson sufficient time to call and get the
information for you. (It may take a few days)
if your carpet salesperson refuses to obtain all the carpet specifications you
need, then you might want to shop elsewhere. You can also call the carpet mill
yourself and ask for the carpet specs 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.
is Carpet Graded?
is graded by the quality and configuration of the materials used including;
the Fiber Type; the Fiber Face-Weight; the Tuft Twist Rating; the Pile
Density Rating; the Pile Height; and how well it is constructed overall
(Including Dye methods; Backing systems; and Manufacturing processes).
Determining which carpet is the absolute best
choice for a particular application can be quite difficult for even a seasoned
the Right Carpet Fiber
most critical factor for every homeowner to consider is the Fiber Type.
I have created a detailed web page that covers everything you need to know
about Carpet Fibers,
Nylon, Sorona®, Polyester Smartstrand®, Stainmaster®.
Pile Density Rating is the Key to Carpet Durability.
Density rating is determined by pile yarn weight, pile thickness and pile
height. Think of it like a densely wooded forest where the trees are thick and
packed closely together. Dig your fingers into the pile of the carpet. Are the
fibers tightly packed or can you easily see the carpet backing? The more
densely the tufts are packed together the more durable the carpet will be. Pile
Density is the key to having a carpet retain its like-new appearance longer.
Density ratings range from 1000 to 6000 and is determined using a
mathematical formula based on the Pile Height and the Fiber
is the formula: Fiber Face-Weight x 36, divided by pile height (in decimal
form) = Pile Density.
example, a 35 ounce face weight carpet with a half inch pile height would have
a pile density rating of 2520 (35 x 36 divided by .5 = 2520).
my free carpet foot traffic test to see what grade of carpet may be best for
your application and foot traffic level. Take my Free
Carpet Foot Traffic Test
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 between 20 ounces and 100 ounces, but the average
face weight for a residential carpet is about 45 ounces.
higher face weight does not automatically mean the carpet is a better grade;
is a higher quality; is more durable; or is more costly. Pile Density is the
most important factor next to Fiber Type.
is the Pile Height?
Pile Height measurement is not usually shown on the carpet sample,
however all you need is a tape measure to determine a close guess. I generally
recommend a pile height of less than 3/4" to help reduce the chance of
matting and crushing of the pile.
is the Carpet Tuft-Twist Rating?
Tuft Twist is a major key to having your carpet retain its like-new appearance
longer. With plush styles of carpets, the tufts of fibers are twisted in
the same way that people curl their hair. The carpet fibers are grouped
together into tufts and twisted while heat is applied to "set" the
fibers permanently, hence the term "heat set".
fiber, 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 the strands are twisted, heat is applied to "set" them
permanently, hence the term "heat set".
is very similar to the way women might use a curling iron to create curls in
their hairstyles. The tighter the tufts are twisted together, the more durable
the carpet will be, and the longer the carpet can maintain its like-new
tuft has 7 twists and is a sign of a well-made, more durable carpet. Frieze
styles have tufts similar to this.
tuft has 4 twists and is not as durable. This is a sign of a lower-grade
carpet. Inexpensive Plush and Textured Plush styles often have tufts
similar to this.
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 many other styles.
a Good Tuft-Twist Rating Matters
with a low Tuft Twist Rating (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 just start to
look bad. Once the tufts have blossomed and become matted down, it cannot be
this reason a Carpet with a higher Tuft-Twist (5.5 to 7.5) will retain
its like-new appearance longer and tolerate a higher level of foot traffic.
When comparing similar quality carpets side by side, you must consider the
tuft twist rating to help you determine which carpet is the better choice.
with a lower tuft twist rating tend to "blossom" more quickly and as
a result will be less durable and will appear word out sooner.
my Carpet Durability Chart above to better understand how carpet
durability is determined in part by the number of twists each tuft has. Frieze
styles typically have a very high tuft twist rating of at least 6 or more.
That's the main reason why frieze carpets tend to wear better and last longer
than many other carpet styles.
out my free Carpet Durability Chart Carpet Durability Guide Chart
Carpet Durability Chart and Guide
designed this Carpet Durability
Chart to help homeowners who are hoping to select the right grade or
quality of carpet to meet their needs and goals based on known carpet
manufacturing specifications. First, locate a carpet you are interested in
buying, then obtain all the carpet specifications from your carpet
retailer or from other sources.
Then use this chart to help determine the level of durability for that
carpet. Don’t forget to take my Free
Carpet Foot-Traffic Test to help determine what grade or
quality of carpet you need for your home.
Now add up all your
points to determine the durability of any carpet you are considering
than 120 = Poor 120
to 149 = Fair
150 to 199 = Good
200 and up = Best
Entertainment Purposes Only. ©Alan
Fletcher – All Rights Reserved.
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