Carpet Buying Guide

Carpet Performance & Durability

A carpet's performance refers to how well it keeps its original look and feel over the years - or how well a carpet meets your expectations.

A carpet's performance depends on two factors:
1) Use - how the carpet is used, what it's exposed to and how well it's maintained
2) Construction - how well the carpet was built, which directly relates to how it will stand up to tough treatment

Carpets that perform well under harsh conditions are durable. The more durable a carpet, the longer it should keep its original appearance. If you want a carpet that will stay beautiful and perform well year after year, choose the one with the highest durability.

Carpet Perfomance & Durability - The Home Depot

Durability

Carpet durability depends on how the carpet was made. In particular, durability is a direct function of these three factors:

  • Fiber type
  • Twist
  • Density

You can find information on these factors in the construction specifications section of most carpet labels.

Carpet Fiber Type

A carpet's fiber type is the foundation of its durability. Of the four main carpet fiber types - nylon, polyester, olefin (polypropylene) and blended - nylon offers the greatest durability because of its ability to withstand abrasion and crushing. Polyester and olefin are less durable. Blended fibers reflect the durability of their component fibers. A nylon/olefin blend, for example, is not as resilient as pure nylon, but it is more durable than olefin alone.

Carpet Twist

Carpet twist indicates the number of times the carpet fiber is twisted per inch of length. A higher number means a tighter twist and a more durable carpet. The most durable carpets have tightly twisted yarns densely packed into the carpet.

Carpet Density

The density of a carpet reflects the number of individual tufts contained in each square yard of carpet. The density in a square yard depends on how close together the fibers are placed - or how tightly the fibers are packed - when tufted into the carpet's backing.

Density is measured as number of tufts per square yard of carpet. A higher number indicates a carpet with more fiber packed into each square yard, making it more durable (and often more expensive). If durability is important, compare the styles you like and choose the one with the highest density. 

Carpets with a higher fiber density provide:

  • Increased durability
  • Improved performance in high-traffic situations
  • Increased resistance to crushing
  • Enhanced stain and soil resistance

How does higher density increase durability? Higher density means more tightly packed fiber. When it comes to stain and soil resistance, for example, tightly packed fiber creates a barricade capable of blocking dirt and liquid from entering the carpet, keeping them on the surface where they are easier to clean.

Dirt and stains cause more damage to a carpet if they are allowed to penetrate more deeply. High-density fiber forms an effective shield that won't let them enter so your carpet stays beautiful longer. 

Stain & Soil Resistance

Two additional durability factors to consider are stain and soil resistance. Stain and soil resistance are natural traits of certain fibers. Other fibers are given stain and soil resistance with chemical treatments.

  • Nylon in its natural state absorbs moisture and stains, so it's always chemically treated while it's being made to give it resistance to stains and soil.
  • Polyester is naturally resistant to stains.
  • Olefin (polypropylene) is even more resistant to stains; it's also resistant to moisture, mildew and soil.

Higher-quality carpets may also be treated to resist fading, fiber pulling and other damaging conditions so they will last longer.

Look for stain and soil warranty information on the back of carpet samples at The Home Depot store.

PAR (Performance Appearance Rating)

The Performance Appearance Rating (PAR) provides a standard measure of a carpet's durability, making it easy to gauge and compare the durability of specific carpets. The PAR encompasses information about a carpet's fiber, density, construction and stain resistance.

PAR values are obtained in a walk test endorsed by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI). As defined by CRI, PAR values indicate the level of change you can expect in a carpet's surface appearance because of high-traffic use in a typical four-person household during the first year.

A high PAR value (4 or 5) indicates a high-performance carpet. You can expect it to look new much longer than a carpet with a lower PAR.

All carpet sold at The Home Depot has received a PAR rating. Look for it on the back of carpet samples at your local store.

Carpet Labels

The carpet label, located on the back of each sample, is a great source of information about a carpet's durability, so be sure to read labels carefully when comparing carpets.

Carpet labels typically have four main components:

Brand name - Shows the carpet manufacturer, a carpet maker's brand name or a retailer's brand name.
Collection name - Collections are groupings of carpets that usually have a common look or quality level.
Construction specifications - Information about how the carpet is made, which directly relates to durability. Attributes include fiber type, density, weight and measures of twist.
Certifications - Any certifications by independent agencies such as the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) or the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

Warranty

A good warranty means the carpet manufacturer will stand behind its products. Warranties cover manufacturer defects, as well as resistance to stains, wear, fading and static. Warranties vary from product to product - be sure to read warranty information carefully when choosing a carpet. See the carpet label for the warranty or ask an associate at The Home Depot store near you.

 
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