We could write pages on carpet construction. Being educated on carpet construction allows you determine which carpets are well made and those that are not. Fortunately, you don’t need to know every detail. This report will guide you through what carpet shoppers need to know while sparing the useless details.
Face weight is the weight (in ounces) per square yard of carpet. This gives you a good insight of the density of the carpet fibers, and therefore is a big factor of carpet durability. However, sometimes it can be a little misleading because the weight can be influenced by factors that do not affect the durability, the primary example being the height of the carpet fibers. In example, assume you’re shopping and come across two similar carpets. We’ll call them Carpet A and Carpet B. Carpet A has a higher face weight than Carpet B. What you don’t know is that Carpet A’s fiber length is double that of Carpet B’s. Despite having a lower face weight, it turns out that Carpet B is the dense, higher quality carpet.
A carpet’s weight including the tufts and the backing (primary, secondary and the lamination between) is the total weight. The weight of the backing makes up a significant portion of the total weight, but it gives us little to no insight on the durability of the carpet. Total weights will be much higher than face weights.
A carpet’s density rating is given by the following formula:
[density rating] = [face weight]*36/[pile height]
Knowing the exact equation isn’t important. What is important is that the density rating takes the face weight and manipulates it so that the height of the fiber doesn’t factor into the number. This makes the density rating a more accurate indicator of a carpet’s durability. Density ratings are much higher numbers than face weights or total weights, so the three numbers cannot be compared.
There are no specific standards for wear rating. It is usually a 1-5 rating system created by the manufacturer to indicate the durability of the carpet. Since the rating is created by the same company selling the carpet, it’s in your best interest to not put too much stock in this rating. Reading this website should allow you to make a mental “wear rating” of your own.
The number of twists in a one inch strand of carpet is its twist level. Carpet with fewer twists can unravel. Think of braided hair. The more tightly it’s braided, the less chance it will come undone. The number of twists is sometimes overlooked but is an important factor for carpet durability. Too low of twists and you may be very disappointed in an otherwise high quality carpet. On the other hand, a carpet with a high number of twists can compensate for a lower density.
Frequently Asked Questions about Carpet Construction
What face weight should I look for in carpet?
Face weights normally range from 20-70 ounces. If you want carpet to last, buy a carpet with a face weight over 35 ounces. As discussed above, there may be a few exceptions where lower face weights are acceptable. Some of those exceptions would be if the carpet has a very high twist level, density, or will be in a room that isn’t frequently used.
What density carpet do I need?
Carpet density ranges from 1000-7000. For homes you plan on living in for a while, you’ll want a density rating 2000 or greater.
How many twists do I need in my carpet?
You’ll want to look for carpet with a twist level of 5 or more. The higher the twist level the better. Three or four twists can lead to poor performance.
*What's next? Now that you have the basics of carpet construction down, check out the most important factor in carpet durability: types of carpet. You may also be interested in carpet styles. If you have all of the basics of carpet down, you'll love our FREE carpet buying tips.