How to Choose the Correct Grade of Carpet

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Buying new carpeting can be a confusing experience. Carpeting comes in many materials from many manufacturers, in a variety of grades and colors. Salespeople can be aggressive, making promises that no type of carpeting can really fulfill. The best way to begin your carpet-buying excursion is to educate yourself as much as possible before you enter the store. Know how much carpeting you will need and what type of traffic occurs in each room. If you have children or pets, you may need carpeting with special wear and stain resistance.

  • Examine your current carpeting for wear patterns. Flooring will usually show areas of high traffic, stains from eating and drinking and other evidence of wear.

  • Determine the wear needs of the room. A lower grade of carpeting may be suitable for a bedroom that sees little foot traffic. High-traffic areas like family rooms, living rooms and hallways require a higher, longer-wearing grade of carpet.

  • Research carpeting materials. Some types of carpeting, like berber, are longer wearing and are easier to clean.

  • Visit several carpet stores. Learn the range of carpet grades at each store

  • Examine the carpet fiber of each grade. Notice the depth of the pile and the thickness of the fibers.

  • Look at the carpet backing. Higher-grade carpeting has fibers that are tightly bound to the backing and close together. This type of carpeting will resist wear and crushing from traffic.

  • Choose the grade suitable for each type of room usage.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some manufacturers have a rating system to indicate the carpet's ability to resist wear. According to The Carpet & Rug Institute, this scale runs from 5, with high ability to withstand various wear conditions, to 1, carpet that will show wear sooner. A rating of 2.5 to 4 will provide a normal amount of wearability. Not all manufacturers provide these ratings.
  • According to LivingWithMyHome.com, face weight and density tells you much about the carpeting you are considering. Face weight is a measure of the number of ounces of fabric per square foot. Density is how close together the fibers are attached to the backing.
  • Nylon is one of the most popular materials for carpeting but can stain unless treated with a stain protection finish. It is a durable material for carpeting and will resist wear, according to Learn.BuildDirect.com.
  • Wool is the most expensive type of carpeting because it resists stain and dirt and is very durable. Wool can fade in direct sunlight, however.
  • The salesperson is generally not a good adviser for what grade of carpeting you will need. Higher grades of carpeting cost more and provide a higher rate of commission for the salesperson, so you will likely be steered to a higher grade than is necessary for your use.
  • Longer fibered carpeting can have a high face weight but have less wearability than shorter, denser carpeting.

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