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 reveals the Carpet Specifications including:
are the must-have specifications that every homeowner needs to help determine how
durable the carpet is; To help determine its value; To determine whether or
not it would be a suitable choice to meet your needs, goals, lifestyle and
should also be other important facts shown on the manufacturer's label too, such as:
The type or brand of anti-stain treatments that
have been applied
The manufacturer's brand name (e.g., Shaw, Mohawk,
Carpet style name (e.g., Enchanted Evening II) ;
color name or color number (e.g., Emerald Forest Green or EFG-124).
the label is missing, or does not provide all the carpet 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
need. If this is the case, be patient, it may take a couple of days to
obtain the carpet specifications you request. You will find that most homeowners
never ask for carpet specs and you will be among the few that do. Most homeowner
buy new carpet based on color, style, softness and price. You want to make your
purchase based on the carpet's ability to perform well over the period of
time you require, as well as to choose the color and style you prefer.
Carpet cost should never be the main consideration if you want your new carpet
to last as long as possible and be able to handle your level of foot-traffic.
The Salesperson Says 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 homeowners, 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)
Carpet Specs? Call The Manufacturer Yourself!
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 Carpet 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 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 Carpet 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.