Flooring and Carpeting/Carpet Pile Height


I had new saxony carpeting installed in my home about a week ago and I noticed that it didn't feel as plush as the sample in the store.  So, I went back to the store to compare a scrap of the installed carpet against the sample to see if they may have ordered the wrong grade of carpet.  The carpet density and color seemed to match the sample perfectly, so it appeared that it did come from the correct manufacturer and was the correct grade.  However, the pile height on the sample was 1/2-inch, but the pile height of the carpet installed in my home was almost 1/8-inch shorter.  Is this normal or is this something the manufacturer/store should correct?

While it is possible, first check the following:
1. Since your carpet was just installed it may just be a case of what we term roll compression where the pile is compressed from simply being rolled as opposed to a store sample that has been out in the open/handled/aerated. If you are comparing pile height be sure to pilate your installed carpet (brush it with an even flat bladed blunt object such as a stiff piece of cardboard, the hard cover of a notebook, etc) to get the pile standing evenly when comparing it to a store sample.
2.Some styles have high and low tufts that are an intended part of the design. This means that some of the tufts will be shorter and others will be taller. Be sure you are comparing similar tufts. This can be tricky on a multi-level design.
3.If there is a twist to the tufts, count the amount of twists in a tuft. They should be the same as the store sample. Remember though, that on a multi-level, the shorter tufts will obviously have less twists per tufts. Also look to see how close the twists are along the tuft shaft. If the carpet you have received has less twists than the store sample (more space between twists and therefore not twisted as tightly), it may not perform as well.

If you do all this and find that you have actually received a shorter pile, then contact your dealer to have it checked and either ask for an allowance or replacement. While this is not a common occurrence, I have seen these and it can happen. You should get what you have paid for.

Tip: If the dealer or an inspector finds that the pile is shorter but the amount of twist and density/gauge is the same (tuft rows per inch) you may want to consider keeping the carpet (with an allowance).  The shorter the pile, the less the carpet will compress with traffic. Also,  an unintended shorter pile does not signify a latent manufacturing defect. This can happen, for example, with a change in design and the dealer has an old sample.  

Let me know if you need further info.

Good luck!

Flooring and Carpeting

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R Adams


Certified Installer 1966-1976, Certified Carpet Cleaning Instructor 1976-1985, Certified Commercial and Residential Floor Inspector since 1985 is available to answer questions on problems with carpet or other flooring, and carpet cleaning. I can guide you as to whether you may have a valid claim against a manufacturer/installer/dealer/cleaning company.


Floor covering Installer 1966-1976 Carpet Cleaning Instructor 1976-1985 Floor Covering Inspector 1985- present

Floor Covering Inspector Training School; FCITS Floor Covering Inspection Technical Services; FITS Certified Claims Inspectors Association; CCIA

Hartford Courant

B.S. Chemistry 1971 A.S. Physical Science 1969 Armstrong Certified Installer 1972 3M Certified Carpet Cleaning Specialist 1976 FCITS Certified in Carpet and Hard Surface, Commercial and Residential

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