Whenever the need arises to buy a new rug or change an old carpeting a lot of factors can influence your choice. Many homeowners only consider superficial physical attributes of the rugs they intend to purchase; like how soft the carpet nap feels or how colorful it looks without considering their durability. More so, there are literally thousands of choices of carpet out there in department stores. With so many choices, getting the right carpet for the right place in your home can be an extremely daunting process. However, carpet manufacturers have tried to make the choice for the right carpet for your home to be less stressful as possible by providing a carpet label or carpet specification sheet. These carpet labels are carpet durability charts that indicate the different specifications of the carpet so as to give a measure for the durability of the carpet and are typically found at the back of the rugs. Most carpet manufacturers provide these labels so as to streamline your choice. When you go to the department store and you notice that the label is missing, ask the salesperson for the carpet specification sheet. Carpet labels contain different carpet specifications and these specifications are more often times vague to homeowners looking to get a carpet.
Carpet Durability Chart
Some of the carpet specifications of the carpet durability chart you will find on the carpet label are:
- Face weight
- Type of Fiber
- Pile height
- Stitches per inch
Of these specifications, the Performance, Appearance, Retention (PAR) ratings is one of the most misunderstood specifications in carpets.
So what is carpet PAR ratings?
The Performance, Appearance, Retention ratings, sometimes called wear rating, of a carpet is a scale that rates how well a carpet will perform, that is it’s wearability over time when exposed to varying foot traffic wherever it is installed, and this scale is usually in a range of 1-5. This PAR carpet rating system was popularized by well-known carpet manufacturers like Mohawk and Shaw Carpets and has become a confusing and sometimes controversial carpet specification to homeowners and individual carpet buyers. What this specification implies is that when a carpet is to be installed in an area where you expect foot traffic to be high like the living room, it will be best to pick a carpet with a relatively higher carpet PAR ratings. Similarly, if less traffic is expected where you want to install the carpet the appropriate PAR rating for the carpet is chosen accordingly. In addition, a carpet par rating of 3.0-3.5 is considered average and as a result, the nap of such carpet is expected to wear moderately while a carpet with a rating of 1.5-2.5 (low rating) will wear down faster when exposed to the same amount of foot traffic. Likewise, a carpet with 4.0-5.0 (generally considered high carpet rating) will not wear down easily. For this reason, the area you intend to install a carpet can influence the carpet you choose and, indirectly so, the PAR rating. For example, the bedroom will be subject to much lower levels of foot traffic than the living room or the children’s playroom. While you may need a carpet with a very high rating for the living room a carpet with a moderate rating may suffice for the bedroom.
How Do Carpet Manufacturers Obtain These Carpet PAR Rating system?
The durability of carpet in terms of wear is an important factor to consider and can make a huge difference when installed in high foot traffic areas of the home. In order for carpet manufacturers to obtain the appropriate PAR rating scale, the carpets are put through strenuous laboratory wear tests. These tests involve machine simulation of foot traffic that tries to gauge the carpet’s durability over time and as a result can make a difference in predicting the wear and tear of the carpet in different trafficked areas of your home. This laboratory test known as Wear and Tear simulation on ASTM D5417, Vettermann Drum test, simulate the impact of 3-5 years of home use on carpets to gauge a good durability performance rating and a poor durability performance rating.
Can Carpet PAR Rating System Be Trusted?
Carpet manufacturers have done many laboratory testing and real-life research on both wear & tear in order to calibrate the appropriate scale rating for the carpet. In as much as these ratings give an indication of durability, in my opinion, you should not solely rely on them as the durability of carpeting is not only dependent on PAR ratings. As such, you should consider in addition to PAR ratings other factors like the areas where the carpet is to be installed, the number of persons in the home as well as the other carpet specifications.