How To Judge Carpet Quality
The main aspects of carpet quality involve carpet density, twist, and pile height. Denser carpets will last longer and feel more comfortable underneath bare feet. The denser and higher a carpet is, the more material the carpet requires which thus inflates the price. The saying "You get what you pay for," is particularly true when it comes to judging carpet quality.
When shopping for carpet, some stores will list right on the carpet sample its exact specifications including density, twist, and pile height. Unfortunately more and more carpet stores have stopped providing this information. They want to make it difficult to compare the quality of the carpet between stores, instead relying upon their salesmen to convince you that their carpet is better. Fortunately it's not that difficult to simply eyeball the carpet. Obviously a denser, more tightly twisted carpet with a higher pile is going to be of a considerably higher quality than a carpet through which the backing shows. When examining cut pile carpet one indicator of quality is whether or not you can see its backing when you bend the carpet sample. Especially with a formal plush, you should really have to work to view the backing through the carpet. Some friezes are so lightly packed together that it almost seems like there's more backing than carpet fiber. You want to avoid these carpets.
Carpet density is simply how closely a carpet's individual tufts are packed together. Carpets with a high density will resist crushing, matting, and overall wear much better than carpet with a low density. To determine a carpet's density bend the sample back. A high quality carpet will show very little, if any backing when bent. A low quality carpet will show quite a bit of backing. Dig your fingers into the sample and see how easy it is to feel the backing through the carpet sample.
A denser carpet will feel much more luxurious and soft when walking across it barefoot. Carpet density is the first thing you should look for when considering a particular carpet. Don't try to save money in this area! Some unscrupulous carpet salesmen will tell you it's not that important. Don't believe them.
Carpet twist refers to how many times a carpet's fiber has been spun before being heat set. The more revolutions the twist has, the better the carpet is. A more tightly twisted carpet will withstand wear over time better than one with less twist. Most carpet consists of at least two piles (individual carpet strands) that are twisted together before being heat set.
To discern the quality of a carpet's twist examine its ends. They should be tight and neat. Loose or flared open strands are an indication of sub par quality. The twist on formal plush carpets should be particularly tight and level.
Carpet Pile Height
Carpet pile height is how far the carpet extends above the primary backing. It's simply how tall the carpet is. Obviously, the higher a carpet extends the more material it consists of which in turn bumps up the price. Viewing a carpet's pile height in addition to its density is critical in determining carpet quality. While you might want a lower carpet pile on your stairs, generally the higher the pile the better.
When considering various carpet samples with comparable twist and density, keep in mind that the one with the greater pile height will usually wear better, and feel more comfortable underneath ones feet.