How Long Will My Carpet Last?
All about Carpet Durability, Carpet Cost and specifications
All About Carpet Durability and Foot Traffic for Your Home,
Carpet Cost, Carpet Durability,
How Long Does Carpet Last?
There are several carpet specifications that will help determine if a carpet can handle your level of foot traffic. The main factors most homeowners must consider are:
There are several different types of carpet fibers to choose from. For example; Nylon is known as the most durable fiber available today and is also the most expensive to manufacture. But not all nylon fibers are created equal. Some are more durable than others and some nylon fibers are made softer than others due to the diameter or “denier” of the strand. The thinner the fiber strand the softer the carpet will feel. But does a softer feel make for a less durable carpet? I think so…
When groups of fiber strands are gathered together and twisted they form into “Tufts” These tufts are inserted into the carpet backing to create various styles of carpet. When the tufts are twisted together they use heat to “set” the tufts – similar to how women use a curling iron to curl their hair. The number of twists formed per lineal inch is how they determine the “Tuft Twist” rating. Most plush style carpets have a tuft twist rating of 4 to 6.
Frieze styles are known for having a tuft twist rating of 6 to 8. Generally speaking, the higher the tuft twist rating the longer your carpet will retain it’s “like new” appearance. This is because over time the tufts may begin to lose their twist or “blossom”, causing the carpet to gradually lose it’s like new appearance.. Some carpet fibers are able hold their “twist” better than others and this ability is known as being more “resilient” Nylon is the most resilient carpet fiber available today. Polyester is the least resilient carpet fiber.
Carpet face-weight is the weight of the fiber that is used to manufacture the carpet pile. Face weights range from 20 ounces to 120 ounces and most residential carpets sold today are between 30 to 60 ounces. Generally speaking, the higher the face-weight, the more durable the carpet will be. But this does not always hold true. If the pile height is too tall, it may be more prone to matting and crushing. Depending on your level of foot traffic, you may need to limit the pile height and increase the face weight. This is what we call the “Pile Density” rating.
Pile Height /Density Rating
Using a mathematical formula we can take the Pile height and pile face-weight to determine the Pile Density rating. Generally speaking, the higher the pile density the more durable a carpet will be. This holds true more often when the pile height is not too high as to limit the potential for matting and crushing of the pile. Once the carpet tufts begin to fall over, crush and collapse the carpet will lose its like-new appearance. Some carpet fibers are more prone to matting and crushing than others. With nylon carpet, a good cleaning may help restore the tufts to their original upright position and allow your carpet to regain some or all of its like new appearance. However, carpets made from other fibers may not yield the same favorable results. What is the best pile height and density rating for the carpet that will best serve your needs and goals?
Why Don’t Carpet Dealers List Specifications on their Carpet Samples Anymore?
Question: I’ve tried to take 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 don’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. The one carpet I’m considering buying that fits in our budget is a Martha Stewart Nylon from Home Depot. I’m carpeting 288 sq feet (den area with lots of traffic and furniture) and have $1000 budget. They will install and give memory foam pad for that price. I’m concerned that density is only 1613 but face weight is 43.6. Their samples don’t show the Tuft Twist rating either. Why Don’t All Flooring Retailers List Carpet Specifications on their Carpet Samples? Thanks, Tom
Many 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. Take my Free Carpet Foot Traffic Test to see what grade of carpet may be right for your home.
Not 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 comare prices with other local retailers. I think that’s what you may have encountered with your recent local carpet dealer visits.
Here’s what you need to know:
Every locally owned carpet dealer has three ways to locate the carpet specifications you are looking for:
1. They can call the Carpet manufacturer – most carpet mills are happy to fax or email the spec sheet.
2. They can go online to their carpet mill account to find the specs. This may require a store manager to get the info.
3. They can call their carpet mill rep to get the information. Every dealer has the cell phone number to their account rep.
It’s 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.
Big Box stores and corporately owned carpet chains have been known to use private labels on their carpet samples to prevent consumers from comparison shopping, but Home Depot and Lowe’s apparently have negotiated with the carpet makers to have some of the carpet specifications shown on their samples and I think they are wise for doing so. It certainly helps them “seem” be more transparent in that area. Unfortunately they may not be as transparent when it comes to providing quality installations and customer service after the sale. From what I have read, many homeowners who have had a carpet complaint of some sort “after the sale” have not been happy with the way they were treated, often having to call numerous times to try to get a remedy, only to find that no one is ready and willing to step up and accept responsibility for the customer complaint at hand. This is another reason why I prefer buying carpet from a local dealer over the big box stores. I firmly believe locally owned carpet retailers have much better customer service before, during and after the sale.
Tom, The Carpet you are considering is a decent quality nylon frieze-style carpet. It looks to me like a 10-year carpet if well cared for and if you have medium foot traffic in your home. It has good face-weight but low pile density (1613) as you know. The pile height is almost one inch (.98) and will contribute to the matting down of the pile over a 10 year period. For a frieze I recommend a pile height of no more than 3/4″ for the best wear and the least amount of matting. The taller the pile height the more prone the carpet is to matting, regardless of what fiber is selected. Carpets made of nylon will always wear better and longer than any other fiber – all other construction specifications being equal. Learn more about Carpet Fibers
The $1000 price tag is reasonable for the 32 yards that you require. Basically you are buying a $20 per yard carpet and paying an additional $10 per yard for the pad and installation combined. I think this is a good choice overall but this carpet will probably not last for 15 years in your application with high foot traffic as you have stated. Personally I would not opt for the memory foam pad, I would choose an 8-pound density Rebond pad. I think there is way too much hype associated with the memory foams and not enough resilient support as a frieze style requires.
Thanks a lot Alan! This was very helpful. I just got a recommendation of another local dealer that I will go to today. I will patiently wait for the specs as you mentioned and get spec sheets. I think I’ll shop around a little more and get a shorter pile height as you suggested. I’ll look for 3/4 inch nap or shorter! I hope the dealer I’m going to today is honest and reputable! Tom
Visit my website to learn more about carpet specifications and how to select the right carpet for you… http://www.abccarpets.com