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What Are Moderate, Heavy, Severe, and Extreme Carpet Ratings?

The Carpet and Rug Institute, located in Dalton, Georgia, is the industry’s leading research facility in the United States. It aims to provide information backed by science to educate buyers and sellers alike. This driving purpose is what ultimately led to the creation of TARR.

What to Know About Carpet Ratings

What Is TARR?

TARR stands for texture appearance retention ratings. This model was created by The Carpet and Rug Institute, or CRI, to provide specifics around foot traffic and commercial carpet. When a TARR is attached to a carpet, buyers will be able to discern how well (or not) the flooring is expected to withstand an anticipated level of foot traffic. Every carpet present for CRI’s research endured 12,000 cycles as a hexapod bounced around a cylinder with carpet within.

The outcome of this study was the founding of the popular carpet ratings––moderate, heavy, and severe. The rankings refer to “moderate foot traffic” and the like while also referencing the potential for change. Lower numbers on the scale mean greater potential for change over time in the carpet’s texture and appearance. Moderate is the base and builds up to severe, so those labeled “moderate” are going to experience less foot traffic than “severe” and are going to experience a change in appearance more easily over time.

The Break Down

CRI has provided extensive research to support this claim, which means there are plenty of charts with data to learn from. TARR also has a fourth rating, referred to as “Special end-use” classification, in which the carpeting of this category belongs to transportation, such as buses, elevators, or airports. Think of this as “Extreme” when compared to Moderate, Heavy, and Severe because, according to TARR, these spaces are going to experience the most foot traffic while needed to maintain texture and appearance the longest. The hope with TARR is to be able to discern the end-use for commercial flooring, whether its office carpet or public venues, and decide what will best suit that space based on its rating.


Industrial carpet with a moderate TARR is going to be the ideal flooring for public spaces that don’t experience too much foot traffic. This includes personal offices in banks and schools and sleeping rooms in hospitals and college dorms. Through CRI’s breakdown, it’s clear that these spaces are not frequented by many people at one or during the day, but over the course of a decade, there may be hundreds or thousands of people who cross the carpet of this area.


Commercial carpet with a heavy TARR can be tricky to attach a function or purpose because most spaces might clearly be moderate or severe, while heavy ratings can be a little less evident. Carpets with this ranking are going to be used in all kinds of communal spaces, from conference rooms in banks, libraries, and college dorms to lounges and consultation rooms in hospitals. These spaces typically hold larger groups of people at one time as well as witness thousands of lives passing by on a daily or weekly basis.


Carpet flooring with a severe TARR includes every other public space imaginable. Entrances and foyers are notorious severe ratings because they experience the highest foot traffic and have the greatest need for maintaining texture and appearance. Other spaces include child care centers, dining areas, lobbies, and waiting areas. Not only do masses of people pass through these spaces on a daily basis, they also tend to linger. This increases the severity of foot traffic as well as the complexity with sustaining texture and appearance over time.


These “special” spaces, such as buses, elevators, stairs, and airports, experience unparalleled foot traffic, which is why it can be difficult to fit them into any category but their own––extreme. The spaces themselves may feel randomly thrown together in this grouping, but the extreme nature of foot traffic is what bonds them. Nowhere else in office buildings or hospitals is this extreme rating found, which is why these few but mighty commercial flooring options are collectively labeled as the most of the most.

Starting to understand TARR a little better? We encourage you to take the next step by visiting Ozburn-Hessey Company, a collection of established professionals whose experience knows no bounds. With your end-use application in mind, Ozburn-Hessey will know just the right TARR and commercial carpet that you need. Don’t hesitate to contact Ozburn-Hessey Company today!

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