How to Determine Carpet Grades

Carpet grades indicate how long a carpet should last and can help you get an idea of how much you should be paying. The pile height, backing, and density determine carpet grades.

How to Determine Carpet Grades

A higher price doesn’t always guarantee that a carpet is durable. Instead, carpet specifications help narrow down to a specific grade.

Carpet Grades Explained

There are three categories of carpet grades: low-end, medium, and high-end.

1. Low-end Grade

Low-end carpet grades, also known as “builder carpets”, are the cheapest types. They have a low face weight, approximately 22 to 30 ounces. Low-end grade carpets are mostly available in neutral colors.

These carpets are common in apartments and often feature nylon or polyester fibers.

You can identify a low-end carpet by checking the twist. The carpets have fewer twists, measuring about 2.5 times per inch. Low-end grade carpets last for 3-5 years.

2. Medium Carpet Grade

Medium carpet grades come in a wide variety of colors and textures. They’re common in households since they’re mid-priced and provide durability.

These carpets last up to 15 years and have face weights of 30 to 40 ounces. A carpet with high fiber density lasts longer but costs more than one with fewer threads.

3. High-end Carpet Grade

High-end carpets have the highest density rating, with a face weight of 40 to 60 ounces. The fibers are of the best quality, often made from wool or nylon. High-end carpets in high-traffic areas like family rooms and playrooms hold up well.

Luxury carpets are versatile and have a soft underfoot. They’re available in cut and loop designs with a wide selection of patterns. High-end brands make the carpets fade and stain-resistant, which makes them last for 20+ years.

What Determines a Carpet Grade?

Carpet grades and quality influence the carpet’s price. While carpet grading varies from store to store, there are industry standard metrics to gauge a carpet’s quality.

1. Face Weight

A carpet’s face weight is the pile (yarn) weight per square yard. Face weight helps compare the quality of two carpets made from the same material.

Berber carpets with a higher face weight are of higher quality than ones with a lower face weight. Most residential carpets have a face weight of between 30 and 60 ounces. The best face weight for carpets is 100 ounces, found in luxury brands.

Face weight is useful in determining if a carpet has thick yarn, but it does not guarantee durability. When comparing different carpet types, check the pile height, density, and tuft twist.

2. Fiber Density

Fiber density refers to how close a carpet’s strands are stitched into the backing. You can calculate the fiber density using a carpet’s face weight and the pile height:

Carpet density = face weight *36 / pile height in inches.

Thick carpets have a higher fiber density, which makes them soft underfoot and durable. A carpet’s fiber density is also determined by the number of tufts per inch (gauge).

The carpet density is higher if there are more tufts across the width. For instance, a carpet with ten tuft rows per inch has a 1/10 gauge.

3. Fiber Type and Construction

Fiber type and construction are important when choosing the ideal carpet. Nylon and Polyester are common carpet materials for residential use. Both synthetic fibers are soft and stain-resistant.

A nylon carpet will outlast a comparable polyester carpet, but it’s also costlier. Nylon is the best carpet for high-traffic areas like stairs and hallways. Natural carpet fiber types like wool and cotton are also durable.

4. Tuft Twist

During manufacturing, carpet tufts are twisted to keep their original appearance. The number of twists on a carpet fiber varies. Frieze carpets have long fibers with a tight twist. They last longer than other carpet types.

Despite having a deep carpet pile, shaggy carpets resist matting because of the tuft twist. To determine a carpet’s tuft twist rating, isolate some fibers and measure one inch in length.

Counting the number of twists within that length gives you the carpet’s tuft twist. Some manufacturers also state the twist level on the spec sheet. Carpets with twist levels between 5 and 7 are the best.

5. Pile Height

Pie height specifies the length or thickness of the carpet yarn, excluding the carpet backing. A thick pile feels luxurious but may flatten in high-traffic areas. The ideal pile height for stairs should be about 1.2 centimeters.

The height reduces the chances of matting and crushing. Most rooms need a pile height of around 1.9 centimeters. Carpets with longer fibers are suitable for low-traffic areas.

6. Other Carpet Label Details

Manufacturers add labels to carpets. The label indicates the size, fiber type, density, and the “green” rating. A carpet label also includes details on the backing.

Checking the label gives you insights into the carpet’s quality.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

What’s the ideal carpet thickness?

Choose a residential carpet that’s not more than 7/16 inches thick. It should also not be less than ¼ inch. The ideal density is 6 pounds per cubic foot.

Which carpet texture is best?

Berber-style carpets made of nylon or wool have the best texture. They’re inexpensive and easier to maintain. If you have a luxurious feel, choose a carpet made of cotton.

Is a higher carpet density better?

A higher density is better as it makes the carpet more durable. The carpet should have a density value of 3,000 or higher for normal household use.

Does face weight matter?

Face weight determines the quality of a carpet. A higher face weight indicates that the carpet is of a higher quality. You should also consider the carpet’s pile height and density.