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You only buy carpet about every 10 years, so it is very difficult to know if you are picking the right quality for your home. The choices seem endless, should I choose plush, twist or loop pile? Which fibre is best for me? Wool, wool blend, nylon, polyester or a polymer made from natural corn sugar.

No one carpet fibre is inherently ‘better’ than any other. Each fibre comes in a variety of weights, qualities and price ranges. The most important point is to choose a fibre, style and construction to suit your lifestyle and budget, that’s suitable for the room in which it will be placed.

Every shop you go to, has a different story, some salesmen will tell you that every carpet in their store is heavy duty.

So who do you trust? How can you avoid an expensive mistake and make an informed decision?

The good news is, there is an independent carpet rating scheme


The Carpet Institute of Australia has developed the Australian Carpet Classification Scheme (ACCS).

It’s a national industry labelling and grading system for carpets of all types of carpets and all carpet fibres and is used by all the major suppliers. 

An ACCS label gives the carpet a star-rating out of six for residential use and four for commercial or contract use, indicating how well it performed in a number of independently assessed wear and performance tests. The more stars the better the quality and performance will be.

  • The label also says whether it should be used in areas of light, medium, heavy or extra-heavy traffic.
  • Check the label has a registration number to be sure it’s genuine.
  • For residential high-traffic areas, such as entrance-ways, stairs and halls, it’s advisable to go for a heavy-duty carpet rating (Residential from 4 stars) . Children’s playrooms also usually take a lot of punishment, so a highly durable carpet is worth considering there too.
  • Carpets with an ACCS label carry a minimum statutory two-year warranty, though the manufacturer may also provide additional warranties. Many are backed up by a manufacturer’s wear warranty of 10 or 15 years
  • Wool carpets may also have a Woolmark or Fernmark label. These grading schemes are run by the Woolmark Company and Wools of New Zealand respectively and show that the carpet has met certain quality and durability standards

Carpets that have been graded as either domestic heavy duty or extra heavy duty have been tested to meet to the requirements of the more trafficked areas of your home.

ACCS rating labels may also carry a ‘Stair’ icon which means the product is suitable for use on stairs. Carpet installed on stairs is subject to severe wear and, as a result, will demonstrate change in appearance in a shorter time than a carpet installed on a level surface. This is due to the narrow trafficking pattern as well as the particular foot action that occurs on the stair tread and nosing. A primary requirement for a carpet to be considered as ‘suitable for use on stairs’ is that it must meet the specifications for Residential Heavy Duty as a minimum. There is also a minimum pile density, a maximum pile height and the carpet must not show ‘grin-through to the backing’ when bent around a stair nosing.