The market is flooded with twist pile carpets – understandably so, as these account for about 75% of all carpet sales. The would-be buyer is faced with a bewildering array of ranges and manufacturers who, at first glance, appear to be offering exactly the same product. The twist pile carpet has a finish which, at first sight, is exactly the same as all the others. It is very difficult indeed to work out which are quality twist pile carpets an so value for money as there are so many to choose from. The best quality twist pile carpet will not only last longer,will also be better at retaining its original appearance. Poorer quality carpets look similar in the first instance, but they wear quickly. Worse still, within a few months of installation they often flatten, and therefore fade, producing the ugly ‘rabbit run’ effect. Flattened pile is abraded not on the ends of the yarn, but on the sides: this reduces the life-span of the carpet dramatically.
The best twist pile carpets have these characteristics
1) ‘Doubles’ yarn
This is extremely important. ‘Doubles’ is made by spinning a fine yarn in a clockwise direction, then spinning two of these together in an anti-clockwise direction to lock the fibres together. The result is a surface appearance which is twice as fine, and very much more resistant to crush than the common ‘singles’ yarn. Having said that; high quality singles yarn woven in tenth gauge carpet, (very closely woven) looks excellent, and is nearly as crush-resistant as an eighth gauge carpet made with doubles. Such close-woven carpets are comparatively rare. Tenth gauge, high wool grade, doubles yarn carpet, is the best you can buy.
2) Short and tight pile
The longer the pile, the more easily it can be bent over, so consider a short pile capet which will have more resistance to crushing.
3) Appropriate pile weight
You need to ask questions about the pile weight of a twist pile carpet before investing in one. The minimum requirement for heavy weat is 30 oz.sq.yard,but bear in mind that a short and tight 30 oz. is preferable to a long, loose 40 oz type. The tightly woven 50 oz. carpets are extremely durable.
4) Good quality yarn
The quality of wool carpets is difficult to assess at a cursory glance. Sheep cannot be contractually bound to produce yarn of a known quality, and many breeds produce yarn which is beautifully fine, but not good when trodden on. Poor quality pile is often betrayed by the appearance of little white fibres (shoddy). If you see an excess of these, look at the next carpet. Cheap wool carpets are usually a bad buy. A good 50/50 or a synthetic pile carpet would amost always be better value for money. Cheap carpets sometimes have a percentage of reclaimed wool in their pile. In this case ‘reclaimed’ is a euphemism for second-hand. It doesn’t wear well in carpets. There is often a huge disparity in the prices of twist pile carpets that ostensibly look the same. The differences between them, however, can usually be attributed to the ‘blend’ of the yarn used. Poor quality wool blends are the carpet worst buy – and there are many such carpets. The reason why pre-war carpets lasted a life-time was the excellent quality of the wool used in those days. These carpets looked marvellous when laid, then aged very slowly, with a truly dignified air. Occasionally we are asked to refit such carpets which have certainly given value for money.
5) Minimum nap (pile direction)
The best twist pile carpets have no discernible pile direction. The ones to steer clear of are those with a long, loose pile with a pronounced pile direction; they flatten very quickly. To understand why, place a pencil vertically on a firm surface and press the top and it won’t move. Now angle the pencil 45 degrees and repeat the test; it is now easily pressed down flat. Once flattened,you can’t raise this type of carpet pile and as we tend to tread on only a small part of our carpets, these flattened areas are easily discernable.
The following carpets are, in our opinion, the very best value available in their respective price ranges.
There is a huge range of twist pile carpets, from a basic polypropylene pile selling for about £10.00 per square metre (fitted) to a very heavy quality woven wilton in 80% wool selling for about £40.00 per square metre fitted.
The bulk of the twist piles are tufted products made in 80% wool, but not all 80% wool twist piles are the same.
The cheapest ones are made from single yarns, one strand of fibre that is then twisted.
The middle-of-the-range products are sold under various brand names but all entail using a single yarn, twisting it and then bonding the yarn with 10% polyester.
The top-of-the-range qualities are made from two-ply yarns, (in other words, two strands of fibre that are twisted together and then twisted again.
All types of twist pile carpets come in different pile weights, usually ranging from 32 oz to 50 oz. A 32 oz two-ply product will out-perform a 50 oz single yarn product.
Twists piles can be made in different gauges (a guage being the distance between the individual strands of yarn). The majority of these are eighth gauge, but many of the finer products are tenth gauge.