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Understanding Carpet Properties Classifications

2019-06-14 10:48
Long term appearance retention: EN 1307
The European standard for test and classification of textile floorings, EN 1307, is a standard that rates carpets on long term appearance retention. In order for a carpet product to be EN 1307 certified, it must go through an extensive testing program to determine both identification and performance characteristics. In order to determine identification characteristics, various elements are measured such as total mass, pile mass, pile density, total thickness, pile thickness, tuft number and backing thickness. Performance characteristics are divided into basic requirements such as long term appearance retention, colour fastness and additional requirements such as castor chair suitability, suitability for use on stairs, electrical properties, thermal resistance and fraying behaviour. Further requirements are imposed on carpet tiles, including total carpet weight, dimension, variation of size, squareness and straightness of edges, curling, damage at cut edge and dimensional stability. 
Fire classification:
The flammability characteristics of building materials, including carpets, greatly affect the speed at which a fire can spread. The slower a fire spreads, the greater the chance a building’s occupants can escape safely. Two fire tests and smoke tests are required for a carpet to achieve classification under European standards. For additional safety, many carpets are also treated with flame retardants. Brominated fire retardants are banned in some countries due to adverse effects on health and the environment. A safer alternative are flame retardant fillers that prevent flame spread and suppress smoke by releasing water molecules to ensure a prolonged evacuation time.
Colour fastness testing:
Carpets are tested for colour fastness using dry rubbing, wet rubbing and wet spot resistance tests. When testing is completed, any colour change is assessed against a standard grey scale from 1-5, with 5 being the best result.
Light fastness:
Carpets are tested for light fastness using artificial light to simulate exposure to daylight. The result of the light fastness test must be a minimum of 5 out of a total 8. In rooms with skylights or large windows, consider a carpet with a higher value.
Light reflection value:
The ability to adjust the levels of light reflection is important for the comfort and final look of your project. A light-coloured carpet will reflect a greater proportion of light and will also require more maintenance to protect the appearance of the carpet. Understanding the light reflectance will also help you to efficiently plan lighting and visual contrast. Light reflection denotes the percentage of visible light reflected to the light of the human eye. If you have a LRV of 15, the surface in question reflects 15 % of the light striking it.
Vettermann Drum test: ISO 10361
To qualify for ISO 10361 classification a carpet must undergo the Vettermann Drum test, which is applied for detecting changes in appearance, which makes it comparable to the EN 1307. While the EN 1307 is a measurement of properties and attempts to give an idea of the recommended use on a general level, the ISO 10361 is a simulation test and is only concerned with foot traffic. By simulating walkways, the Vettermann Drum test provides an indication of the carpet’s ability to retain its appearance, which is particularly important for high traffic projects and areas like walkways and entrances.


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