Carpet Information and Buying Guide
Fletcher - Carpet Expert / Consumer Advocate - Retired after 30 years, do
not sell or install carpet.
locating all the carpet specifications you need to help you make wise and
informed carpet-buying choices can be difficult, if not nearly impossible,
depending on where you shop for carpet.
Some carpet manufacturers are
reluctant to provide carpet specifications to their dealers and their
customers. When it comes to Pile height, Pile Density and Face-Weight...
can figure them out all by yourself, if
you can figure out two out of three specifications you can still extrapolate the third specification... Mathematically!
I explain in detail what you need to do, and how you can quickly and easily
figure out all the carpet specifications you need, even if they refuse to give
you any information at all!
Here's what consumers need to
know. Lets consider these three main carpet
What is Carpet Pile Density?
Density is a mathematical calculation based on the fiber Face-Weight and Pile
Height. Think of a heavily wooded forest. The more closely packed together the
trees are, the more dense the forest is. The same goes for carpet. You want a
carpet with the tufts packed tightly together. This helps the carpet resist
matting and crushing of the pile and increases longevity. Pile Density is
a major factor to consider when it comes to carpet durability too, almost as
important as the type of Carpet Fiber
Formula #1: Face-Weight x 36
÷ Pile Height = Pile Density
(e.g.) (30 X 36
÷ 0.50 = 2160)
this example, we know the face weight is 30 ounces
and the pile height is 0.5 (one half inch). We can now use Formula
#1 to determine the Pile Density Rating.
What is Carpet Face-Weight?
carpet samples show the carpet Face-Weight or it can be obtained from the
manufacturer. You can call the manufacturer and ask for it or you can ask the
salesperson to get it for you. 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 somewhere between 20 ounces and 100 ounces, but the
average face-weight for a residential carpet is about 35 to 60 ounces. A
higher face-weight does not automatically mean the carpet is a better grade; is
a higher quality; is more durable; or is more costly.
these three carpet specs are mathematically related which is good news for you.
If you can figure out one, or two out of the three specs, then you can easily
figure out all the other specifications using the formulas I reveal below! Don't
worry about the number 36 or what it means, as it is a constant industry factor
with all these calculations.
Formula #2: Pile Density
x Pile Height ÷ 36 = Face Weight
(e.g.) (2160 X 0.50 ÷
36 = 30)
this example, what we know is that the Pile Density is 2160 and the
pile height is 0.5 (one half inch). We can now use Formula #2
to determine the Face-Weight in ounces.
What is Carpet Pile Height?
assume you don't know what the Pile Height is of a carpet you are
interested in buying. With a simple ruler you can measure the pile height
yourself. If you want your carpet to last
longer, I recommend a Carpet Pile Height of less the 3/4". On stairs, I
recommend a Carpet Pile Height of 1/2" or less and a Carpet Padding
Thickness of 7/16" or less and a Pile Density Rating of at least
8-pounds. Learn more about How
to choose the correct Carpet Padding
Formula #3: 36
÷ Pile Density x Face-weight = Pile Height
(36 ÷ 2160 X 30 = 0.499998 (0.5))
In this example, what
we know is that the Pile Density is 2160 and the Face
Weight is 30 ounces. We can now use Formula #3 to determine
the Pile Height in decimals, which can quickly be converted into a
fraction of an inch using the chart below.
Durability: For best durability I recommend a carpet pile height
of 3/4" or less.
on Stairs: I recommend a carpet pile height of 1/2" or
Padding: I suggest a padding thickness of 7/16" or less and a density rating
of at least 8-pounds or more.
Decimal to Inches
0.125 = 1/8
0.1875 = 3/16
0.250 = 1/4
0.3125 = 5/16
0.375 = 3/8
0.4375 = 7/16
0.500 = 1/2
0.5625 = 9/16
0.625 = 5/8
0.6875 = 11/16
0.750 = 3/4
0.8125 = 13/16
0.875 = 7/8
is Carpet Tuft-Twist?
Tuft-Twist Rating is based on the number of twists per lineal inch of
is not difficult to guesstimate the Tuft-Twist of a carpet you are
Tuft twist is really quite simple to figure because you can count
the twists yourself.
one inch tall Tuft has 7 twists
and is a sign of a well-made durable carpet.
Frieze Styles have A TWIST
rating similar to
this and prices start about $30 per square yard for the carpet only.
one inch tall Tuft has 4 twists
and is not as durable. This is a sign of a lower-grade carpet.
and Textured Plush styles often have tufts similar to this and range from $12
to $18 per square yard.
More expensive Carpets have higher Tuft-Twist and Pile
Density ratings and are designed to tolerate moderate to heavy foot traffic, last longer and be more durable.
Carpet Specifications Explained
Understanding Carpet Specifications