How to Determine Carpet Grades

Kevin Brown

How to Determine Carpet Grades

Carpet grades indicate a carpet’s lifespan and help determine its price. Pile height, backing, and density define the carpet’s grades.

How to Determine Carpet Grades

A higher price doesn’t guarantee carpet durability. Carpet specifications help narrow down grades.

Carpet grades are classified as low-end, medium, and high-end.

Low-end grade carpets, also called “builder carpets,” are the cheapest with a face weight of about 22 to 30 ounces. They come in neutral colors and are commonly used in apartments. These carpets are typically made of nylon or polyester fibers.

Low-end carpets can be identified by their twist, which measures around 2.5 times per inch. Their lifespan is 3-5 years.

Medium carpet grades.

Medium carpet grades come in a variety of colors and textures and are common in households for their mid-price and durability. These carpets last up to 15 years and have face weights of 30 to 40 ounces. A carpet with high fiber density lasts longer but costs more.

High-end carpets have the highest density rating, with a face weight of 40 to 60 ounces. The fibers are made from wool or nylon, known for their quality. High-end carpets in high-traffic areas hold up well. They are versatile and have a soft underfoot, with a wide selection of patterns in cut and loop designs.

High-end brands make the carpets fade and stain-resistant, extending their lifespan to 20+ years.

What determines a carpet grade?

Carpet grades and quality affect the price. While grading varies between stores, there are industry standard metrics for evaluating a carpet’s quality.

1. Face Weight

A carpet’s face weight is the weight of the yarn per square yard. Face weight helps compare the quality of two carpets made from the same material.

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Berber carpets with a higher face weight are of higher quality than those with a lower face weight. Most residential carpets have a face weight between 30 and 60 ounces. Luxury brands have a face weight of 100 ounces, which is considered the best.

Face weight indicates if a carpet has thick yarn but does not guarantee durability. When comparing different carpet types, also consider pile height, density, and tuft twist.

2. Fiber Density

Fiber density refers to how closely a carpet’s strands are stitched into the backing. You can calculate fiber density using a carpet’s face weight and pile height:

Carpet density = face weight * 36 / pile height in inches.

Thick carpets have higher fiber density, making them soft underfoot and durable. A carpet’s fiber density is also determined by the number of tufts per inch (gauge).

Carpet density is higher with more tufts across the width. For example, a carpet with ten tuft rows per inch has a 1/10 gauge.

Fiber type and construction are important factors when choosing an ideal carpet. Nylon and polyester are common materials for residential use. Both synthetic fibers are soft and stain-resistant.

4. Tuft Twist

During manufacturing, carpet tufts are twisted to maintain their original appearance. The number of twists on a carpet fiber varies. Frieze carpets have long fibers with a tight twist, and they last longer than other types.

Despite having a deep carpet pile, shaggy carpets resist matting due to the tuft twist. To determine a carpet’s tuft twist rating, isolate and measure one inch of fibers. Counting the twists within that length gives you the tuft twist.

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Some manufacturers state the twist level on the spec sheet, with levels between 5 and 7 being the best.

5. Pile Height

Pie height specifies the length or thickness of the carpet yarn, excluding the carpet backing. A thick pile feels luxurious but may flatten in high-traffic areas. The ideal pile height for stairs should be about 1.2 centimeters.

The height reduces the chances of matting and crushing. Most rooms need a pile height of around 1.9 centimeters. Carpets with longer fibers are suitable for low-traffic areas.

Manufacturers add labels to carpets. The label indicates the size, fiber type, density, and the “green” rating. A carpet label also includes details on the backing.

Checking the label gives you insights into the carpet’s quality.

What’s the ideal carpet thickness?

Berber-style carpets made of nylon or wool have the best texture. They’re inexpensive and easier to maintain. If you want a luxurious feel, choose a cotton carpet.

Higher carpet density makes the carpet more durable. The density should be 3,000 or higher for normal household use.

Face weight determines carpet quality. A higher face weight indicates higher quality. Consider the carpet’s pile height and density as well.

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