Manufacturing Specifications Explained
Alan Fletcher -Carpet Expert and Consumer Advocate
Carpet Specifications is the key to buying new carpet wisely! Here is what homeowners need to know
about choosing new Carpet by understanding the importance of obtaining Carpet
Specifications. This is
"critical information" that every homeowner needs to know to help determine
how durable a carpet is, to help determine value; and able to meet their
needs, goals and lifestyle.
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 be other 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 the
color name or color number (e.g., Emerald Forest Green or EFG-124). You
will also find the warranty limits. Carpet Stain
Warranties - What Consumers Need To Know
Specifications are often hard to locate.
you find a carpet you like, you need to have full access to the specification
before you buy. If
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 manufacturers "Carpet
Spec Sheet". This is a one-page report from the carpet
manufacturer that provides all the carpet specifications regarding the carpet
style in question. The carpet salesperson may have to call the manufacturer to
ask for it, or call their local carpet mill representative to request the
specifications you need. This can be difficult, time consuming,
frustrating and challenging. (This is why I have built my own special
hand-picked list of recommended carpet dealers)
from a reader:
I’ve tried to follow your advice and look for the right Face-Weight, Pile-Density
and Tuft-Twist to last 10-15 years. The only places that I can find who have
these specifications listed on their carpet samples are the big box retailers.
The local carpet retailer near me doesn’t list the carpet specifications
on their samples. The salespeople might know the face-weights but often
don’t know the Tuft-Twist or Pile Density. Why don’t all carpet dealers
post carpet specifications on their samples?
locally owned carpet dealers do list all or some the carpet specs on their
carpet samples, but some do not list any at all. They might think the
customer should select their new carpet based on price, color and
perhaps a durability rating like Shaw’s PAR
Rating System. I firmly believe it’s very important for homeowners
to have complete access to all the carpet specifications. It’s the only
way to determine the grade or quality level of the carpet in question, and
to be able to determine if the carpet would be a good choice based
on the homeowners individual needs, goals, lifestyle and budget.
Carpet Foot Traffic Test to see what grade of carpet may be right for
all locally-owned dealers are honest and reputable, I am sorry to say, and
some carpet salespeople are reluctant take the time to provide their
customers with carpet specifications because it can be a
“hassle” to do so. The problem is partly due to private labeling, retail
competition, and partly due to salesperson laziness.
Some carpet retailers simply
don’t want you to be able to shop around for the lowest price (comparison
shop) so they limit the amount carpet information available to the customer. They
may even change the style and color names to make it difficult to compare
prices with other local retailers.
Every carpet dealer has three ways to locate Carpet Specifications:
They can call the Carpet manufacturer – most carpet mills are happy to fax
or email the spec sheet.
They can go online to their carpet mill account to find the
specifications. This may
require a store manager to get the information.
They can call their carpet mill rep to get the information. Every carpet
the cell phone number to their account representative.
true that the carpet manufacturers are not putting the detailed
construction information on their carpet samples like they used to in
the past, but any decent carpet salesperson should be willing to get
you the information you seek. However, you have to ask for it and be patient
enough to wait for the information to be acquired, and it may take a day or
two for the salesperson to get it.
Most homeowners take several carpet
samples home for a few days and narrow their carpet selections
down to three or four good choices and then ask for the spec sheets for them
all to compare them all side by side. Take your time making your final
selection and don’t be afraid to take a week or two to think about it.
Never let any salesperson pressure you into buying right now for any reason.
It’s common for salespeople to urge you into buying right now by
saying the sale will be ending soon or that the current prices are
about to increase.
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 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 absolutely refuses to obtain all the carpet
specifications you ask for, then you might want to shop elsewhere. You can
also call the carpet manufacturer 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.
find or locate Carpet Specs? Find out how to figure them out for yourself.
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 carpet
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 Face-weight.
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 (1/2") pile height would have
a pile density rating of 2520
(35 x 36 divided by .5 = 2520). Learn
my free carpet foot traffic test to see what grade of carpet may be best for
your home application and level of foot traffic. 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.