Carpet Quality & Performance
Carpet performance is associated with many things, and it’s important for a specifier to understand how all the individual elements work. For example, the construction method should be appropriate for the end use and the traffic requirements; the yarn size needs to correlate with the gauge; the backing systems should be appropriate with the desired performance; and the dye technique has to be consistent with the end use.
The most common trap is relying on only one single construction factor to determine if a product will meet specifications. Therefore, while pile yarn density is important, so is the gauge, the yarn size and many other construction parameters that can be determined by individual manufacturers. That’s why it’s so important for specifiers and end users to explain how they want the product to perform and allow the manufacturers to make the construction decisions to meet the identified needs.
Carpet performance is associated, in part, with pile yarn density – the amount of pile yarn in a given volume of carpet face. For a given carpet weight, lower pile height and higher pile yarn density will yield the most performance for the money.
Density is also influenced by the number of tufts per inch when counting across a width of carpet. For example, a 1/8 gauge carpet has eight tuft rows per inch of width and a 1/10 gauge carpet has 10 rows per inch of width. Extra heavy traffic conditions require a density of 5,000 or more.
Appearance is an aesthetic choice, while texture retention is a performance issue. However, the two areas are closely related. Heavy foot traffic and soil can discolor carpet and should influence design decisions. Mid-tone colors and colors that blend with the general shade of local soil are the best to use in high traffic areas, especially near entrances. Manufacturers often recommend “walk-off” carpet systems for entryways. Walk-off carpet is designed to clean shoes of dirt and moisture and protect entrances from excess soiling. In addition, walk-off carpet systems increase foot safety and reduce slip and fall accidents. Eight feet of walk-off carpet is frequently considered to be optimal to protect interior carpet installations as well as enhance user safety and comfort.