Carpets & Carpet Quality Carpet quality and grades are not all the same. When shopping for carpet flooring, you should be aware of how the grade and quality can impact your satisfaction with the product.
In some cases, there may be a noticable difference when seeing or touching the carpet to indicate a high or low quality. In other cases, the grade is not nearly so apparent. Carpet cost is always a factor, but low-priced carpet is no great deal if it is going to look attractive for only a short period of time before, basically, wearing out. Understanding Carpet Quality and Grades Of course, you don’t have to purchase the most expensive carpet or rug in order to obtain a quality product; you can hit a happy medium where carpet prices and quality meet.
Carpet quality is, in part, determined by the type of fiber used to create the carpet, combined with the twist, density and finish of the fiber or blend of fiber. Density of fiber refers to the amount of fiber or yarn used in the carpet and how close together the tufts or loops are placed. Density is measured at the back of the carpet where the base of each tuft can be seen. Carpet, which is low density, will not wear well over time. Basically, the more tufts you see on the back and the less backing you see, the better the carpet density.
Some carpets and rugs are made from continuous fibers, while others are created from staple fibers, or spun fibers. Actually the staple fiber is simply short fibers spun to create yarn. Wool carpet is an example of staple fiber, as are most all-natural fibers. While continuous fibers are woven into yarn, they contain longer, usually man-made fibers and, unlike natural materials, do not shed.
Carpet can be crafted from nylon which is a synthetic fiber, nylon which is a wear-resistant man-made fiber, olefin which is often known as polypropylene and is a strong, strain resistant man-made fiber. Polyester is a non-natural fiber used for it resilience and lost cost. Polyester is also soft when crafted into a thick cut pile finish. Acrylic may feel like wool but it doesn’t cost nearly as much however it is not yet as commonly used in carpet flooring.
Wool is the main natural fiber currently used in carpets. However, with new eco-friendly products, it is likely we will see a change in this soon but since wool is a renewable resource, it has little negative green impact. It is the most expensive fiber for carpeting and should not be placed in direct sunlight because it will fade. Any of the above fibers can be used to create blends of fibers to craft carpet.
There is no true universal standard for carpet grading yet some manufacturers indicate the grade of their products for comparison purposes. If you are comparing carpets from a single manufacturer, you can compare the grade, if given. However, if you are shopping through several brands, it is better to look for a rating that indicates the carpet is meant for high traffic, medium traffic or low traffic. Of course, there is no legal standard in this rating either, but it does give you a better idea of the carpet you are comparing.
Lastly, you’ll want to choose the carpet finish you prefer. You may like plush cut, Saxony’s smooth even cut pile finish, Frieze carpet which has extra yarn twists to better hide footprints. Textured finish might be the right choice for your needs. Berber carpet offers short looped yarns and is great for high traffic. Cut and loop carpet combines cut pile with loops for texture and patterns and can be quite impressive, appearing sculptured and very artistic. Multi-level loop carpet uses several loop heights to add pizzazz to the carpet.
Armed with this awareness of carpet grades and quality differences, you will go into the marketplace as a wise shopper. This will ensure you purchase carpet products which will work well in the areas of your home in which you wish to place new carpeting and the carpet will remain beautiful and functional for many years to come.