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Carpet Grades Explained
Free Carpet Durability Guide Chart
Take a good look at this carpet sample. Can you answer these questions?
2. What is the Carpet Style: Textured, Frieze, Berber, Cut & Loop?
3. Is this a good quality carpet?
4. How long would it last in your home?
5. How much should this carpet cost?
If you don't know how to find the answers these basic 5 questions, then you probably need to learn a little more about choosing the right grade of carpet for your home! Let's fix that!
Sixty Years Ago...
Virtually all residential carpet was made of heavy gauge nylon and built to last a lifetime. Not anymore! Today you must choose a carpet that is designed to meet or exceed your needs, goals and lifestyle. The last thing you want is to end up with a carpet that wears out way faster than you expect!
Most Residential Carpets Were Made of Nylon.
Many of these old carpets are still in use today in homes all across America, and many still look pretty good! Back then, carpets were made using a thick Nylon strand that resembled 6-pound fishing line. The carpet was not soft at all, but it was extremely durable. All homeowners had to do was give the carpet a deep cleaning every few years and it would bounce back and look practically like-new again, decade after decade.
Which Carpet Styles Do I Like Today?
Mohawk and Shaw both cater to the residential Carpet Market and have reasonable prices. There are certain carpet styles I prefer mainly because they are made of Nylon which is a very durable fiber. So to help you save time and energy, I've put together a short list of nylon carpet styles that I think are worthy of mentioning to my readers. If you want a durable long-lasting carpet, consider the styles I've listed below and ask to see them at your locally-owned carpet store. See my list of recommended carpet stores near you.
UltraStrand® Nylon Residential Collection
Blended Moments 40 oz
Coastal Fashion I (Texture) 35 oz
Coastal Fashion II (Texture) 45 oz
Coastal Fashion III (Texture) 55 oz
Enchanting Glamour 45 oz
Essential Charm 45 oz
Essential Design I - 25 oz
Essential Design II - 35 oz
Exciting Selection I - 40 oz
Glamorous Style 40 oz
Linington Manor (Pattern) 38 oz
Refined Structure 35 oz
Timeless Structure (pattern) 35 oz
Anso® Nylon Residential Collection
Speed of Light 25 oz
The Fair 34.1 oz
In Savannah 34.1 oz
Starting Place 29.2 oz
Square One 25 oz
Kick Off 25 oz
Excel 25 oz
Right Away 25 oz
Inspiring 29.2 oz
Westminster 34.1 oz
Hollow Classic I – 39 oz
Hollow Classic I - 15' wide - 39 oz
Hollow Classic II - 48.8 oz
Sandy Hollow Classic II - 15' wide - 48.8 oz
Hollow Classic IV - 68.2 oz
Sandy Hollow IV -15' wide - 68.2 oz
These are just some of the styles I like. Check out these nylon carpet styles at your local carpet retailer to see if you like the look, feel and price of these durable carpets.
Soft Nylon Carpet Fibers
Softness is a highly sought-after quality in nylon carpets, but achieving it often comes at a cost. Thinner fiber strands are used to create a super soft feel, but this compromises the carpet's durability and resilience. Popular soft nylon carpet styles, such as 'Caress' by Shaw and 'Tactesse' by Stainmaster, are more expensive and more susceptible to damage from abrasion, matting, and crushing of the pile. What is Fiber Denier?
Soft nylon carpets come in a variety of styles to fit any budget and application. While carpet manufacturers have cut corners to save money, they now offer a wider range of grades for every price point. Whether you're looking for a plush, luxurious feel or a more durable option, there's a nylon carpet style that will meet your needs.
Carpet Prices and Grades
The way I see it, manufacturers make about 12 basic grades of carpet. The trick is determining which grade of carpet is able to meet or exceed your expectations and hopefully still be affordable. Carpet prices will vary depending on the type of fiber the carpet is made from.
Polyester, PET and Olefin are the least expensive. Sorona / Smartstrand and Nylon are more costly. Wool tops off the list as the most costly carpet fiber. Carpet prices are on the rise in 2023 and my pricing estimates may be a bit shy of what you actually find when shopping for new carpet.
1. Lower-End Grades of Carpet
When it comes to carpeting for new homes, apartments, or rental properties, there are three main grades to choose from. These are often referred to as "builder-grade" or "apartment-grade" carpets, and they are designed to be affordable for those on a budget. However, it's important to note that these carpets are not meant to last for a long time. In fact, they typically only have a lifespan of 3 to 5 years, which is the average length of a tenant's stay.
So, while they may be a good option for short-term use, they may not be the best choice for those looking for a long-lasting carpet solution. The face weights are generally 22 ounces to 28 ounces. Prices range from $12 - $22 per square yard for the carpet only.
(If you are a landlord with apartments or a rental property owner or manager, visit my Landlord website. It is designed to help rental property owners save money on carpet and vinyl flooring replacement and repair costs.)
2. Medium Grade Levels
There are at least 6 medium-grade carpets for those who want a carpet to last for 6 to 12 years. Face-weights range from 30 to 40 ounces. Prices range $25 to $38 per yard for the carpet only. The fiber, pile height, tuft twist and pile density are the main four factors that determine how long the carpet will last and prices increase accordingly. What makes one carpet better than another?
3. High-End Carpet Grades
There are at least 6 high-end grades of carpet for those who want their carpet to last 12-20 years or more and are willing to pay dearly for it. Face-weights range from 40 to 60 ounces. Understanding Carpet Specifications. Prices range from $40 to $85 and up for the carpet only. Wool Carpets are most costly, usually well over $100 per square yard.
Higher Quality Carpets Provide...
More Durable Fibers
The two main nylon choices are Antron's Nylon 6.6 (Stainmaster) and Anso's Nylon 6. These fibers are easy to clean, very resilient, resist fading, great color choices, most durable, many styles to choose from, etc. Sorona (aka Smartstrand) may be a viable fiber option for you especially if stain resistance is more important over durability.
A Better Backing System
The carpet backing in higher grades will have a tighter weave and heavier construction. Better materials make it more durable and also helps prevent wrinkles. Some carpets have an enhanced backing system called Softbac® offered by Shaw.
Increased Pile Density
Higher density carpets tolerate heavier foot-traffic applications, have better stain resistance, clean easier and resist matting. Is it dense enough? It should be difficult to dig your fingers down into the pile and be able to reach the backing.
A higher tuft-twist rating make carpets retain their like-new appearance longer. Frieze styles are well known for having a high tuft twist rating, usually 7 twists or more per lineal inch of tuft.
Better Quality Means Higher Cost
Be prepared to spend $45 to $85 per square yard for the carpet only. Pad and installation is extra. It is also common for installers to charge more for installation as higher quality carpets are usually much thicker, more difficult to handle and time consuming to install.
I've just mentioned 12 different grades of carpet to keep it simple. But actually there are dozens of grades of carpet to choose from, all at varying prices and warranty levels. Print and use my Carpet Durability Guide to help narrow down your final selections.
Print My Free
Is the carpet you are considering durable enough to meet your needs, goals and lifestyle? This chart will help you determine the level of durability of any carpet, based on known manufacturing specifications.
(click on the image to view full size or print)
Print all my Free Forms Charts and Guides
The Cost for Carpet Durability
A higher price does not always translate into a more durable or longer lasting carpet. Durability is determined on the consideration of all manufacturing specifications.
FOUR Carpet Specification Facts to Consider:
4. A higher Tuft Twist count, such as 6 or more, is a sign of a more durable carpet that will retain its like-new appearance longer. On the other hand, carpet with tufts having only 4 twists is a sign of a lower-grade carpet, often found in inexpensive plush styles. This Tuft has 7 Twists a characteristic of a well-made, more durable carpet. Frieze carpet styles have Tuft-Twist counts similar to this.
Print out my free Carpet Durability Guide to get a better idea about how to compare carpets using manufacturing specifications. This is the only sure-fire way to determine what makes one carpet more durable than another. Learn more about Carpet Fibers
Choosing the wrong grade of carpet is one of the biggest and most common mistakes homeowners make. Why? Because the carpet you buy MUST meet or exceed your needs and goals or you will not get the long-term results that you desire. Why spend thousands on new carpet that won't last as long as you anticipate?
These are the 2 key questions that you need to consider and answer carefully. Then you can reveal the answer the burning question: What Grade of Carpet Should I Buy? Take My Free Carpet Foot-Traffic Test to learn more.
CFI - Professional Training and Certification for Flooring Installers
It's getting harder to find qualified carpet installers. The International Certified Flooring Installers Association, Inc. (CFI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving flooring installation in the residential and commercial fields through training and certification. You might want to visit their website and try to locate a qualified carpet installer near you. They have a searchable database of certified installers near you. Find a CFI Certified Installer