Category Archives: Carpet

Why you need carpet protectors for rolling chairs.

Do I need one of those hard plastic chair mats under my rolling chair?  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.

Carpet-delamination

You are looking at the back of this carpet.  The carpet has delaminated in the corner.  Delamination is a fancy word that means the primary and secondary backing have separated.  This piece was cut out from an area where a client had a rolling chair on the carpet without a carpet protector.  The repeated rolling and stretching of the carpet fabric has compromised the adhesive used to bind the primary and secondary backing of this carpet.

Once a carpet has delaminated, you will get wrinkles in the carpet that are impossible to get out.  This is NOT a manufacturing defect.

To protect yourself, you will want one of these:

Chair-mat

These plastic mats are inexpensive, and will prevent the delamination of the carpet caused by the repeated rolling action of the chair.

It’s not just rolling chairs that can cause this.  Rolling carts and wheelchairs can also cause delamination of the carpet and ugly, permanent wrinkles.  If you have these situations in your home or business, it is essential that you tell us so we can suggest appropriate flooring for your situation.

The Electric Straightedge

The ultimate in productivity and precision: The electric straightedge.  Just plug it in.  Wait ten minutes for it to warm up, and your cuts will be nice . . . and . . . straight.

Presented to Don Corley as a gag gift at our Christmas party.  We just had to share it.

electric-straight-edge

Are You Sensitive to Odors?

Some of us are more sensitive to odors than others.  Some people can wear fragrance.  I can’t be near fragrance unless it is very subtle.  But other odors I can tolerate.  Each person is different.

New Carpet Smell

New carpet has an odor, just as new cars, and new clothing do.  The odors associated with carpet are the originating fiber(s) and if the carpet is tufted, glue.  The glue used in carpet is latex based, so the odor is similar to latex paint, but much less.

While I am sensitive to fragrances, I am not sensitive to new carpet smell.  Each person is different.  Some people like the taste of strawberries, some are turned off by them.

A Free Service

If you know you are sensitive to new carpet odor, we offer a free service to help mitigate the new carpet smell.  When we bind rugs, we float them on an air table.  An air table is like a giant air hockey table.  If you let us know you are sensitive to new carpet odor (the vast majority of people are not), we’ll be happy to unwrap your carpet prior to installation and put it on our air table overnight.  The air table will blow air through your carpet and this helps to mitigate (not eliminate) new carpet odor.

Most carpet facilities do not do binding or do not have an air table and are unable to do this for you.  But we are happy to.

 

The Infamous “Fork Test”.

I wish I was making this up.  It is absolutely amazing to me the strange notions that people have about what constitutes quality.

One day, about 15 years ago, a couple came into our store to return some carpet samples they had borrowed.  The husband also brings in a fork.  How many people bring a fork into a carpet store?  In all my years helping people beautify their home, exactly one.

The infamous fork test

Can you test carpet quality with a fork?

The husband then roughly abrades the carpet with the tines of the fork.  Naturally, this has distorted and frayed the yarns.  This is totally expected behavior on the part of the carpet.  It is totally unexpected behavior on the part of the client.

The husband says to me: “When I do THIS to the carpet, see what happens?  I want a carpet that doesn’t do that.”  Where do I even begin?  Do they have a problem with strangers sneaking into their home and vigorously abrading their carpet with a fork?  Or do they have a family member that likes to do this?

Carpet is a product that is made from yarn.  Let’s consider some other products that are made from yarn.  A sweater sounds good.  Yes, if I take a fork and roughly abrade the sweater with it, the sweater will then be unwearable.  How about an afghan blanket?  Yes, same thing.  The blanket will look lousy after abrading it with the tines of a fork.

You wonder if this man takes his fork car shopping with him to test the body panels.

Flooring should stand up to normal use.  Normal use is walking on it.  Normal use is NOT:

  • Abrading it with a fork
  • Agitating it with power tools
  • Driving vehicles on it (some exceptions, depending on floor type)
  • Pouring acid on it.
  • And so on.

A legitimate test for carpet durability is one that simulates walking on it.  In the industry, this would be the hexapod drum test.  The drum test is used to simulate a lot of foot traffic over a much shorter length of time than actually walking on the carpet.  A round drum is lined on the inside with carpet.  Inside the drum is placed a hexapod.  A hexapod is shaped like a “jack” in the game of “jacks” played by children, except that the hexapod is much bigger.  The hexapod is free to bounce around on the carpet in irregular patterns as the drum is rotated.  The edges of the object are usually coated with rubber to simulate as closely as possible the impact of foot traffic.  Notice that the industry does not use forks or knives for the object inside the drum.  We use something that has about the same consistency as a shoe.

Using the drum test, we would find that the carpet the husband destroyed within 10 seconds with a fork, actually lasts a very long time with normal foot traffic.

My Carpet Flooded! What Do I Do?

What to Do about Flooded Carpet.

Your carpet flooded?  I’m very sorry to hear of your troubles.  Here’s what you need to know.

The Danger

The main risk when carpet floods is mold.  Mold smells terrible, and can cause adverse health effects including but not limited to: allergic reactions, asthma, and respiratory infections. Some molds can produce toxins.  It is essential that we do not allow mold to grow or exist in our indoor living areas.  While mold exists everywhere in our environment, excessive moisture causes mold to multiply quickly.

Wet carpet can also cause other problems such as delamination.  That’s when the excessive moisture weakens the glue that holds the primary backing to the secondary backing and they separate.  There is no effective fix for this when this happens.

Nevertheless, the primary danger is mold.

How Fast Do I Need to Act?

You need to act right away.  The EPA says to have the carpet (and padding) completely dry within 48 hours of it first getting flooded to protect yourself from runaway mold growth.  Drying that carpet will take time, so if you delay, the likelihood of saving the carpet is diminishing quickly.

What Do I Need to Do?

For ALL carpets

  • Address the cause of the flooding and fix it.
  • If the flooding is caused by sewage or other toxic waste, stop.  Get professional help from someone who does restoration.  They will dispose of the carpet and clean the area so it is safe to reuse.
  • If you smell a strong mildew smell, stop.  Get professional help from someone who does restoration.  They will clean the area so it is safe to reuse.  The carpet may need to be discarded.
  • You may want to get professional help anyway.  Saving a flooded carpet is a lot of work.
  • If you have standing water, use pumps to get the water out. Buy or rent if necessary, and speed is essential here, as standing water will affect not just carpet, but wallboard and everything else it contacts.

If Your Carpet is Glued Down

  • Use a wet-vac to carefully and thoroughly remove as much water as you can.  Slowly moving the nozzle over each area will remove more water than quickly sweeping back and forth.
  • Use fans and blowers to circulate air over the carpet.  If weather permits, open windows to reduce excess humidity and speed the drying process. Use dehumidifiers to further reduce humidity.

If Your Carpet is Loose with No Pad

  • Use a wet-vac to carefully and thoroughly remove as much water as you can.  Slowly moving the nozzle over each area will remove more water than quickly sweeping back and forth.
  • Use fans and blowers to circulate air over and under the carpet.  If weather permits, open windows to reduce excess humidity and speed the drying process. Use dehumidifiers to further reduce humidity.

If Your Carpet is Loose with a Pad Under It

  • Remove the pad and dispose of it. Pads act like a sponge and are very difficult to dry out within 48 hours when they are flooded.  While it may be possible to save the pad, we suggest new pad.  Padding is relatively inexpensive, especially compared with the effort of drying it within 48 hours.  It is safer and healthier to get new pad.
  • Use a wet-vac to carefully and thoroughly remove as much water as you can.  Slowly moving the nozzle over each area will remove more water than quickly sweeping back and forth.
  • Use fans and blowers to circulate air over and under the carpet.  If weather permits, open windows to reduce excess humidity and speed the drying process. Use dehumidifiers to further reduce humidity.

If Your Carpet is Professionally Installed Over Pad

  • Use gloves to protect from cuts.  The tackstrip at the edge of the room has many steel nails sticking up.  You do not want to puncture your hand with these nails when you already have a less than sanitary situation.   If you do puncture yourself with one of these nails, consult your doctor about Tetanus. Are you sure you want to be doing this?  Professional help is a phone call away.
  • Carefully pull up the carpet to avoid damaging it.  Use a pair of pliers to firmly grip the carpet at the corner.  Once you have the carpet started, it should lift away from the tackstrip.
  • You are pulling up the carpet so you can remove and dispose of the padding that is underneath the carpet.  Forget about trying to save the pad.  It can be replaced for relatively low cost compared to your carpet.
  • Once you have the padding removed, lay the carpet back down flat.  You don’t want the carpet bunched up.
  • Use a wet-vac to carefully and thoroughly remove as much water as you can.  Slowly moving the nozzle over each area will remove more water than quickly sweeping back and forth.
  • Use fans and blowers to circulate air over and under the carpet.  If weather permits, open windows to remove excess humidity and speed the drying process.  Use dehumidifiers to further reduce humidity.

Blowers

We recommend commercial centrifuge blowers to dry carpet quickly.  Commercial blowers can be placed to blow air underneath loose carpet, which greatly speeds drying.  They also move much more air than household fans.  You may be able to rent commercial blowers locally.

Monitor the Drying Process

You want to monitor the drying process to be sure your carpet dries quickly. It may be necessary to re-position fans and blowers so the carpet dries evenly.

Once the Carpet is Dry

Once the carpet and floor is dry, you can replace the pads.  If your carpet was installed, you can now re-install the carpet.  We suggest professional carpet installers for this work.  Re-installing previously flooded carpet is a lot of work as the carpet is often stiff and hard to stretch.  Since carpet is a textile, there are some cases where the carpet will have shrunk.  It could be impossible to re-install the carpet if it has shrunk too much.

Be sure to empty and clean the interior of the wet-vac.  Never leave standing water inside a wet-vac.

I sincerely hope your effort to save the carpet was successful.  I’ve helped many clients, and when someone needs to replace a carpet that was flooded, it is no fun for anyone.  My client’s are stressed.  The entire process is stressful.

Usually when people are buying new carpet, they are redecorating and the whole process is joyous and fun.  Let’s hope I see you only during one of these fun and joyous times!