It’s said that a secret is something that we don’t know yet.
When it comes to buying carpet there are lots of secrets because it is such a complex subject. Well, it is to those that aren’t in the know!
One of the biggest secrets is actually not unknown – it just gets ignored.
For so many years I have seen consumers buy carpet based on the feel of the pile. They love to stroke the pile surface to experience the softness and bury their fingers deep into a long pile rather than a short one.
Of course that’s pretty normal – we all like soft, warm and cosy.
If the carpet is being installed in a luxury area like a bedroom, that’s OK.
But for other heavily used areas in the home, it will pay you to think about the pile density rather than the pile height. A retailer may talk to you about a pile weight and say that it’s a ‘heavy weight’ carpet. That may sound good to know. But will it stay looking good over the long term?
If the weight of the carpet is judged by the combination of pile height and pile density, then you will get better wear results and long term, value for money.
How do you know?
Ask the retailer to tell you the pile weight and then check the tuft gauge or ‘stitch rate’. For instance, an 1/8″gauge carpet has eight tufts per inch, a 1/10″ has ten tufts per inch and a 5/32″ gauge carpet has 6.4 tufts per inch.
The greater the number and the closer together the tufts are, the denser the carpet pile will be and the better the resistance to crushing or flattening.
Popular wool twist pile carpets are sold in weights of 40, 50 or 60 ounces. The common tuft gauge for these is 1/8″ or 1/10″. Select a nice tight 50 ounce 1/10″ gauge twist over say, a 5/32″ pile, and the shorter denser pile will outperform the looser one every time.
For many people, appearance retention is the one big issue with carpets. Carpets may not wear out, but they do get flattened and look ugly if the pile is too open and lose.
Because you walk all over your carpets, they need to withstand the pressure.
Now it’s not a secret anymore. Next time you buy a carpet – keep the pile tight and you’ll get the look right.