“Trust Your Fiber, Not Your Finger Tips”
When you’ve been in floor covering for almost ten years you tend to notice certain similarities in the way a lot folks do things. One thing I’ve noticed is a particular test that is administered by many people searching for that perfect carpet is what I’ve come to refer to as “The Finger Test.”
This is where the customer digs their finger tips into the carpet to see how easy or difficult it is to feel the backing of the carpet. The theory behind this test is simple. “If it’s difficult to feel the carpet backing through the fibers, it’s a high quality carpet, if it’s easy to feel the backing, it’s garbage.” Little do most consumers know, this “test” is actually the subject of a lot water cooler banter between many flooring professionals. That’s because although this test seems to be incredibly popular, it’s also incredibly INACCURATE.
Back when carpet was in its hay-day, not much effort was put into improving the actual carpet fiber, so if the carpet manufacturers wanted a higher quality product, they simply packed in more fibers. The idea was for each fiber to be supported by the other fibers surrounding it. With THAT in mind, the “finger test” used to actually make sense!
Let’s fast forward to present day. Everyday, technology is improving everything around us and carpet fiber technology is no different! Lab geeks and bean counters are working tirelessly to make each individual carpet fiber stronger, yet softer at the same time. The result is a stronger fiber that doesn’t require all of those packed in fibers to keep each one standing upright. This makes some carpets seem less dense, but can actually be an overall higher quality carpet.
So when you shop for carpet, fight the urge to dig your fingertips into that carpet. Instead, focus on the what the fiber is and the carpet’s warranty. Try to pay close attention to the label, which will typically give you an idea of the quality. There’s a reason that one carpet can be guaranteed for 5 years and another for 25 years…SPOILER ALERT… it’s got nothing to do with your fingers!
But warranties are a whole other story for a whole other day…