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Carpet Grades Explained

and Free Carpet Durability Guide Chart



Take a look at this carpet sample:


Nylon Berber Patterned Cut and Loop Style - Carpetprofessor.com1. What FIBER is this carpet made of... Nylon, Polyester, P.E.T. ?

2. What is this Carpet Style... Plush, Textured, Frieze, Berber?

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 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!



During the 1950's and 60's, most residential carpets were made of Nylon. 

  • There were basically three grades of nylon carpet to choose from, good, better, and best. 

  • The lowest grade carpet would last 10-15 years or more before showing any signs of wear. 

  • Medium and higher grades could easily last 20 to 30 years or more, even in heavy traffic applications! 


Many of these vintage wall-to-wall carpets are still in use today in homes all across America, and many still look pretty good! Back then, carpets were mainly made with a thick Nylon fiber strand. It was not soft, but it was extremely durable. All homeowners had to do was give the carpet a good steam cleaning every few years and it would look almost like-new again, decade after decade.



Soft Carpet Fibers

Today everyone wants their carpet to feel super soft, but that is achieved by making the fiber strand thinner. Doing that compromises durability and resiliency. Softer carpets made today are more easily damaged by abrasion and are more prone to matting and crushing of the pile. What is Fiber Denier?


Carpets are not made nearly as durable as they once were. Carpet manufacturers cut corners wherever they can to save money. By doing so they now offer a larger variety of grades for every price point. There is a grade of carpet for virtually every type of application and budget.



Carpet Grades and Cost

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. Save money with Carpet Remnants


1. Low-End Grades of Carpet

There are at least 3 grades of low quality carpets designed for apartments and rental property and is typically called "builder-grade" or "apartment-grade" carpet. These low-cost carpets are only designed to last 3 to 5 years at best. The face weights are generally 22 ounces to 28 ounces. Prices range from $10 - $18 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 Grades of Carpet

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 $20 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 $65 and up for the carpet only. Wool Carpets are most costly, usually well over $100 per square yard.



Higher Grades Provide...


More Durable Fibers

The two nylon choices are Antron's Nylon 6.6 (Stainmaster) or Anso Nylon 6.0. These fibers are easy to clean, very resilient, resist fading, great color choices, most durable, many styles to choose from, etc. Sorona or Smartstrand may be a good fiber choice especially if stain resistance is a main concern.


A Better Backing System

The backing will have a tighter weave and heavier construction, better materials and is more durable. This also helps prevent wrinkling and delaminating. Some carpets have an enhanced backing system called Softbac® to help prevent wrinkles.


Increased Pile Density

Higher density carpets tolerate heavier foot-traffic applications, have better stain resistance and resist matting.


Higher Tuft-Twist

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.


Higher Cost

Be prepared to spend $45 to $85 per square yard for the carpet only. Pad and installation is extra. It is common 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

Carpet Durability Guide Chart


Carpet Durability Guide Chart - Carpetprofessor.comIs 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.


Three Carpet Specification Facts to Consider: 


1. Carpets with a pile-height over 3/4" are more prone to matting.

2. Carpets with a higher Pile-Density rating are more durable.

3. Face-weights over 60 ounces are not always more durable.



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



In Conclusion...


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?


1. How long do you want your new carpet to last? 

2. What is your level of foot-traffic in your home? 


These are 2 key questions that you need to consider and answer carefully. Then you can discover the answer this question: Take My Free Carpet Foot-Traffic Test



Learn more:

 - How to choose new carpet and flooring like a pro!


~ My List of Carpet & Flooring Stores ~


Recommended Carpet and Flooring Dealers"I Only Recommend Locally-Owned Stores with Superior Service, Quality Products and Qualified Installers"


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