Flooring and Carpeting/Mohawk Frieze Carpet
I am looking for carpeting in my living room, stairs, and upper hallway. I live in Ohio and have young adult children and no pets. I'm considering a Frieze that I'm told is made by Mohawk. I working with Empire Carpeting who puts their own label on it, "Garden Row" Frieze with SmartStrand. It comes with a 20yr. warranty. First of all, have you any knowledge of Empire Carpeting that you can share? Secondly, how do I know if this is a good carpeting? Since it's under a different label than Mohawk, I'm not able to research it on the Mohawk website. I don't know the faceweight, or twist, or density, and even if I did, how do I know what to look for?
While I have done many inspections for Empire, I do not keep a database of their brands. So without me actually seeing the sample I cant give you a first hand opinion if it is "good" carpet. But I can give you some pointers on what to look for when picking out carpet:
With regard to a frieze, many people confuse "true" frieze carpet styles with textured or trackless carpet styles sold as frieze carpet styles. You may be looking at a textured or trackless carpet style rather than a true Frieze carpet style. Most carpet wholesalers assume consumers want textured or trackless carpet when the consumer asks for Frieze. A true Frieze has an extremely high carpet twist level. Most carpet styles have 3.5 to 5 turns (twists) per inch. A good frieze may have 7-9 turns per inch and the high carpet twist level causes the carpet tuft to kink or turn back upon itself giving it a curled appearance.
A high twist level is the first component of what to look for in carpet. This higher twist is extremely important as twist level can have an enormous impact on performance. Products with higher twist levels have the tendency to hold their original appearance longer than lower twist products. The lower the twist the more the tendency to untwist or blossom at the yarn tips creating a trafficked or non defined appearance; as the yarn tips untwist, they begin to intermingle with other yarn tips and a matted appearance is displayed. Also, the tighter the twist the denser the pile becomes. Why? Because as it is more tightly twisted there becomes a need to provide more coverage, otherwise you will see the backing. Next, what is the wear rating? Density has a lot to do with wear ratings, and the lower the density the lower the wear rating. Pile density ranges from 1000 to 6000. Lower density means more tendency to pile crush, loss of texture retention or definition and matting. Also what is the manufacturer's warranty with regard to texture retention? I would not buy any carpet without at least some texture retention warranty (this is NOT the same as "wear' warranty).
Note: This does not mean you need to buy a true frieze to get a good performing carpet. Its just that true friezes have a very high twist to start with. In real simple terms, I recommend to ALL my clients prior to purchase that they select a carpet with the lowest pile height they can stand (aesthetically) and the tightest twist they can afford. This combination makes for good performance and ease of vacuuming. Next, look for earth tones and multicolors or flecks as these will tend not to show soil as rapidly as solid and non earth tones such as blue. Remember. there are two styles of carpet available; cut pile and loop. The down side of some cut pile styles is that they can show traffic lanes a little more than loop style and can show variations in shading (light/dark depending upon the angle which it is viewed. Loop carpet will show less traffic patterns and will usually not show shading variations BUT can get pulls and runs (like in a stocking). So if you have adult traffic/usage & no pets and like the loop style that is the one you should pick. If you have varied traffic/usage and/or pets I would go with a cut pile. There are also cut and loops that have the combination of advantages & disadvantages.
Tip that others will not tell you: Always take a sample home (the biggest you can get) to see how it will look in your lighting and THEN place the sample down at your feet while you sit on the couch and twist your foot into the sample for about 10 minutes. Does it show any pile distortion? If so, pick something else.
Let me know if you need more help.