Why is my carpet wearing out?

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Old 02-02-07, 06:43 PM
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Why is my carpet wearing out?

When it comes to purchasing carpet, it seems everywhere you go, a friendly salesperson will sooner or later say; “you’ll never wear out this carpet”. So for one reason or another you buy the “wear proof” carpet, have it installed and shortly thereafter it begins to look as if a herd of elephants have made it part of their migration route. And, to make matters worse, when the retailer / their friendly representative pays the consumer a visit to see the problem for themselves, often times the consumer is told; “your carpet is worn out”. From that point on the situation generally goes from bad to worse and leaves the consumer distraught from the whole experience and gives the carpet industry yet another black eye.

Of all the Flooring Inspectors I’ve had contact with, NONE have ever heard of a legitimate claim for “wear” against a carpet / fiber manufacture. It’s not that aren’t any complaints for wear because they are all to frequent, but the key word here is “Legitimate”. The reason why carpet / fiber manufactures can offer such extravagant wear warranties is; extensive testing has proven synthetic carpet fibers DO NOT wear out, they’ll instead “ugly out” which is entirely different. Yet when a consumer hears “you’ll never wear out this carpet”, it’s often times mistook as meaning; this carpet will retain its appearance (i.e. won’t ugly out) for the X amount years specified in the wear warranty, which is not the case. "Wear" and "appearance retention" are entirely different.

If a carpet “uglies out” it generally falls under a Texture Retention warranty as opposed to the Wear warranty. (NOTE: Appearance retention loss / the possible causes thereof are beyond the scope of this post but, I will deal with them in the future.) However, some manufactures included both Wear and Texture Retention warranties under the same heading which, in my opinion, unintentionally confounds the consumer but, I do understand the reasoning for combining them. Be that as it may, one should keep in mind that simply because a carpet has a Wear / Appearance Retention warranties, it does not necessarily mean the carpet will hold up under the conditions in which it will be subjected. Manufactures leave that responsibility to the retailers who MUST, but often times don’t, “qualify” the end use or user.

Carpet and fiber manufactures make a multitude of products engineered to withstand the rigors of “normal use”. In the flooring industry, the term “normal use” generally means: The environment in which the product(s) is installed / the traffic to which it is subjected. It’s the responsibility of the retailer / salesperson to ensure the requirements of the materials being sold match those of the consumer. If a retailer cannot be certain that a particular carpet will meet all of the consumers needs and expectations, they should not make the sale for the sake of making a sale.

In other words, if a salesperson sells the consumer a carpet, any carpet, that was not designed to withstand the "normal" rigors of the environment in which it will be installed, then the salesperson would have oversold the product by not qualifying the end use / user.

In conclusion: “Wear”, and the possible causes thereof, CANNOT be established without proper field / lab testing by a qualified person(s). For one to simply look at a carpet and say it is “worn out” doesn’t make it so.

“Texture Retention” is not the same as “wear”. The two are entirely different. There is a myriad of reasons why a carpet may show signs of texture retention loss. They range from: improper carpet cushion, improper installation, improper maintenance, overselling the product(s) by not qualifying the end use or user, etc.. Loss of Texture Retention and the possible causes thereof, CANNOT be established without proper field / lab testing by a qualified person(s).

I hope this post doesn’t deter anyone from purchasing carpet for when its sold, installed and maintained correctly, it is a wonderful product that can give the consumer years of comfort beyond that of any other floor covering.
 

Last edited by ClaimsInspector; 02-04-07 at 01:54 AM. Reason: spelling errors
  #2  
Old 02-03-07, 07:30 PM
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We just bought carpet from LOWES. I know people were like why lowes!?? But I am realy impressed so far!! Installed it in November and looks amazing still. And we have a 7mo old!! There has been the occasional spills, pukes, and so on but nothing a spot shampoo (if stained) can't fix! We went there because of the financing option. We aren't made of money so 0% is great!! Other places were 6 mo 0% or no financing at all and carpet was about 500 more!!
When we were at lowes I asked a lot of ?'s b/c I know nothing about carpet. They were telling me that the pad makes a huge difference on wear and longgevity of the carpet. We bought a 1/2in pad that has a fluid barrier on top. So that is one factor to look at when buying carpet.
 
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Old 02-03-07, 08:18 PM
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It is a shame to see this post slowly float down. Maybe we should add this to the sticky posts so it won't float down.
 
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Old 02-03-07, 08:47 PM
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I am in need of new carpet in my den, which is connected to my kitchen and laundry room so it gets ALOT of foot traffic. Maybe you can recommend a good brand of berber carpet that I can have put down with the recommended padding, etc. The phrase "you get what you pay for" is true with most things and I am sure that it is true with carpet as well. I am looking for a med to top end carpet.

thanks
 
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Old 02-04-07, 12:07 AM
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I won't endorse a brand name but if I were you I'd lean towards a carpet made by one of the major manufacturers. If you're looking at Berbers for a high residential traffic area, you'd want to get a low pile carpet with high FHA density numbers, one that is designed for high residential traffic and the carpet fiber should be made of Nylon. STAY AWAY from Berbers made of Polyester / Polypropylene (AKA Olefin)!! One of the reasons I say that is: Polyester / Polypropylene carpet fibers have an affinity for oil. Meaning they love it. They will soak it up from your socks, skin, even from the paws of a dog / cat. And what happens when fabrics get oily? They get dirty faster and they tend to hold onto that oil.

Color is up to you but the earth tones tend to hide dirt pretty good and patterned carpets tend to hide traffic areas (i.e. areas of concentrated foot traffic).

As for the cushion, a thin dense (re)bond 3/8" (.375") inches thick and rated at 6.5 lbs or better would work. Personally I wouldn't go any lower then 8 lbs and even lean towards 10 lbs IF you can find it. STAY AWAY from those thick soft carpet cushions. Cushions that are too thick / low density WILL, I repeat WILL cause problems (i.e. wrinkles, delamination, split seams, etc..) down the road.

Ok, so what is carpet FHA density? The formula for computing FHA density is: 36 x ounces of FACE weight, divided by carpet pile height (measured from the top of the pile to where it first enters the backing) = Density, (i.e. 36 x 20 oz [face weight as opposed to finished weight] = 720 divided by .250 pile height = 2880). The density number is actually the number of ounces of yarn which a 3' x 3' x 3' cube (cubic yard) of a carpet would contain. From what information you've told us, an FHA density of 4200 - 5000 should be fine.

Also look for a carpet with a symmetrical stitch and gauge count (i.e. 12 x 12). Usually these numbers are listed on the back of the swatch but if not, you can figure the stitch to gauge ratio by counting the tufts along one inch of carpet going end to end then along one inch from side to side which would give you a total of 144 tufts per inch. Personally, I'd try to find one with a 10 x 10 count or better.

Furthermore, don't be duped into thinking the higher the face weight (i.e. 80 ounce carpet) the better. You could have an 80 ounce carpet that, for all practical purposes, wouldn't be suited to install in a dog house. For example, it may have low (8x8) stitch to gauge ratio which would result in longer tufts in order to obtain the 80 ounce weight. I know that may sound a little confusing so stop and thing about it. What you take away from the one, you must make up for with the other in order to stay at the 80 ounces. Long tufts with low S-G ratios will usually result in premature matting because the fibers will fall in on themselves (viz, those beautiful, green, gold, brown orange or red shag carpets of the 1970's). On the other hand, an 80 ounce carpet with a 12x12 S-G ratio would have a lower pile height simply because there would be more tufts per inch.

Also, some shady carpet dealers will tell you the shipping weight (i.e. finish weight) of a carpet as opposed to the actual face weight of the carpet because, the shipping weight is always higher. Therefore a carpet may have an actual face weight of 60 ounces but its shipping weight may be 80 ounces.. Tsk, tsk..

Also, if you happen to be present when the carpet is being installed, here are three very important things to watch for:

1) If your carpet will have seams make sure the installers use an appropriate seam sealer and properly treat BOTH edges prior to seaming. Properly treat means: The seam sealer must be applied to the edges trimmed for seaming, and cover the thickness of both the primary and secondary backing without contaminating the face yarn. Latex seam sealer or thermoplastic are acceptable. If they don't use either or try to feed you a line of BS as to why they don't need to seal the seams, you'd be well advised to toss them out the door. Furthermore, Latex seam sealer (the white stuff) DOES NOT mean El***'s School glue. Don't laugh, I've seen it done more then once.

2) Prior to them seaming the carpet, examine the seaming iron and make sure the temperature dial is set NO HIGHER then 2 1/2 - 3 before and during the seaming process. The reason being is: The melting temperature of polypropylene (i.e ActionBac, which most carpet backings are made of) is around 250 degree Fahrenheit which is generally around 2 1/2 -3 with most seaming irons. Now before anybody jumps down my throat about add-on heat shields, or some other wizz-bang gadget for seaming irons, let me say this. When was the last time you seen a heat shield used? I personally have yet to see an installer use one. So, better safe then sorry. (Rule of Thumb: If the seaming iron is producing smoke, it's to hot!!)

3) The use of a Power Stretcher is mandatory!! You'll know a Power Stretcher when you see one. It'll have a series of connected poles that go from wall to wall. Devices used as a substitute for, or an attachment to (e.g. something that looks like a stinger from a giant hornet and is attached to the rear of the Power Stretcher), may cause injury, damage carpet or subfloors, or result in an inadequate amount of stretch and are not acceptable. PERIOD!! If the installers try to tell you otherwise, again, you'd be well advised to toss them out the door.



Hope this helps..
 

Last edited by ClaimsInspector; 02-06-07 at 01:34 PM. Reason: spelling errors.. Again!!
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Old 02-04-07, 01:45 AM
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Originally Posted by diyplank View Post
When we were at lowes I asked a lot of ?'s b/c I know nothing about carpet. They were telling me that the pad makes a huge difference on wear and longgevity of the carpet.
There's that word "wear" again.. FYI: Carpet cushion / the lack thereof IS NOT a contributing factor when it comes to carpet "wear". Consider this: If the addition of carpet cushion helped to prevent "wear", we'd see overwhelming evidence of "wear" with direct glue down carpet installations (i.e. where no carpet cushion is used) but, direct glue down installations tend to out last most carpets that have been installed over cushion.

Not trying to be argumentative, just stating a fact.
 
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Old 02-04-07, 08:31 AM
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When talking about cushion, yes a firm cushion will keep the secondary backed, tufted carpet, from delaminating the two backings, in traffic lanes and the carpet will hold a tighter stretch for a longer period of time.
 
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Old 02-04-07, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by ClaimsInspector View Post
Also, if you happen to be present when the carpet is being installed, here are three very important things to watch for:

1) If your carpet will have seams make sure the installers use an appropriate seam sealer and properly treat BOTH edges prior to seaming. Properly treat means: The seam sealer must be applied to the edges trimmed for seaming, and cover the thickness of both the primary and secondary backing without contaminating the face yarn. Latex seam sealer (white) or thermoplastic (applied with a Hot Melt Glue Gun) are acceptable. If they don't use either or try to feed you a line of BS as to why they don't need to seal the seams, you'd be well advised to toss them out the door. Furthermore, Latex seam sealer (the white stuff) DOES NOT mean El***'s School glue. Don't laugh, I've seen it done more then once.




That is funny!!!!




Originally Posted by ClaimsInspector View Post
2) Prior to them seaming the carpet, examine the seaming iron and make sure the temperature dial is set NO HIGHER then 2 1/2 before and during the seaming process. The reason being is: The melting temperature of polypropylene (which most carpet backing are made of) is around 250 degree Fahrenheit which is generally around 2 1/2 with most seaming irons. Now before anybody jumps down my throat about add-on heat shields, or some other wizz-bang gadget for seaming irons, let me say this. When was the last time you seen a heat shield used? I personally have yet to see an installer use one. So, better safe then sorry.






All Manufacturers seam irons are different. Crains thermostat is different then Roberts, as is Orcon's much different then my Taylor(likes it near 3). My Crain likes it near 3

So the 2 suggestion is not correct because of different manufactured irons, especially when dealing with felt backing carpets, like Shaws Softbac, where a hot iron is required.

Ever try to thermoseal with a teflon heat sheild??? It ain't happening!!!
Keeping a clean iron works wonders in keeping iron temps down.




Originally Posted by ClaimsInspector View Post
3) The use of a Power Stretcher is mandatory!! You'll know a Power Stretcher when you see one. It'll have a series of connected poles that go from wall to wall. Devices used as a substitute for, or an attachment to (e.g. something that looks like a stinger from a giant hornet and is attached to the rear of the Power Stretcher), may cause injury, damage carpet or subfloors, or result in an inadequate amount of stretch and are not acceptable. PERIOD!! If the installers try to tell you otherwise, again, you'd be well advised to toss them out the door.




Ya, don't let them be a kicker jockey!!!! Pole stretchers are mandatory.
 
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Old 02-04-07, 02:01 PM
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WOW, thanks for the info. I am happy that there are people that wont go along with all the BS that a salesman will dish out. If I had a question about something I always tried to ask the person that works with the item rather than the slaesman that is selling the item.
 
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Old 02-04-07, 03:00 PM
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GREAT thread/sticky! Very useful information! Thanks ClaimsInspector!
 
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Old 02-27-07, 04:07 PM
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Question

Hi, all!

While we're talking about this, can you give me some pros and cons in getting high traffic carpet? I mean, from the term I would think that it may not be as fibrous as the usual carpets we see. But does it have disadvantages when cleaning because the threading is thicker or whatever? Not really sure, I might sound stupid here but I need some help.
Thanks!

Also, what are the best brand carpets out there?

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Old 02-27-07, 11:41 PM
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For high traffic stick to a nylon generation 6.6 looped low pile IMHO. A little more expensive than other choices, but will hold its pattern and shape better than olefin or poly. Down side is it can be harder to clean than olefin, but if maintained will be a good investment.

one thing salesman dont tell people is the ability to clean the carpets vs the durability. Common sense has to be the main goal here: Dont put carpet in kitchens and bathrooms were you know there will be water or spill issues. I have seen people buy the stuff and stick it everywhere. Even million dollar commerical buildings, for one reason or another are brainwashed to toss it down in areas that would boggle the mind. Then the owner or managers are confused to as why the carpets are wearing or matting....they start blaming the persons maintaining it or NOT maintaining it. But in the end it comes down to common sense. Cleaned carpets in commercial settings many years and just keep shaking my head at certain things out there. I agree that many carpets down wear out, they just get to a point were they are matted down and are no longer appealing to look at. or the carpet is put in a high traffic area prone to spills and the maintainance itself is causing a further wear issue.
 
 

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