Face weight is the carpet pile per square yard of carpet, measured in ounces. The face weight does not include the backing materials, only the weight of the carpet fibers. This is important to understand because different types of fibers will have different weights, and comparing two carpets made of different materials will not paint you a full picture of carpet quality. In addition, face weight should not be confused with a carpet’s total weight, which includes the weight of the backing and the carpet fibers.
Here’s a way to think about this in simple terms: Imagine you had two T-shirts of the same style, size, and material. These two shirts are identical, except one is thicker than the other. Comparing the thickness or the weight of the two shirts would be equivalent to comparing the face weight of two carpets. If the two shirts, or the two carpets, were made from different materials, then comparing their face weight or thickness alone wouldn’t necessarily tell you which has better quality.
People looking for new carpets often think that face weight is a determining factor in carpet quality, but this isn’t always the case despite being a key selling point. The face weight of the carpet doesn’t mean that it is more durable or that it will last longer. In fact, a carpet with a lower face weight might outlast a carpet made of different materials with a higher face weight because of the construction and characteristics of the fibers. For example, Berber carpets often have lower face weights than Saxony carpets. A Berber carpet with a lower face weight might outlast a Saxony carpet with a higher face weight.
Factors to consider, in addition to face weight, in determining the quality of a carpet include fiber twist, fiber type, density, durability, and carpet style. By taking a look at all of these factors together, you will get a holistic understanding of the pros and cons of the different types of carpet you are considering.