here are plenty of fiber types of carpet and carpet styles to choose from. Learn more about why carpet is a great choice for your home flooring.
There are a variety of carpet styles, patterns and colors to choose from to satisfy any personal style and match any décor.
Carpet’s cushioned surface absorbs sound and is less noisy to walk on than hard surface flooring.
When considering affordability, carpet is one of the most economical flooring products to have installed.
The insulating properties of carpet provide additional warmth underfoot during cold seasons.
Carpet is a non-slip surface that is safe underfoot and provides a cushion to prevent breakage when delicate items are accidentally dropped.
Most synthetic carpets are treated with static, stain and soil resistant treatments, making them easy to clean and maintain.
If you have any unanswered questions on carpet styles after reading through this guide, check out our Carpet FAQ page or get in touch with your closest Flooring America professional for more information.
Carpet Fiber Comparison:
To pick the right carpet fiber, consider how you live in each room. There are four basic types of carpet fiber:
Nylon is the most durable and stain resistant carpet fiber available, when treated with stain protection. It is the fiber of choice for homes with pets and children and for those who entertain a lot. Perfect for heavy traffic in hallways and stairs.
Polyester is known for its luxurious look, feel and wonderful selection of colors and styles. It’s a good value for homes with a normal amount of traffic.
Olefin offers good stain and moisture resistance, but scores below nylon and polyester for wearability It is best suited for loop pile construction or high, very dense cut piles.
Favored for its natural beauty. Wool carpet has natural soil resistance qualities, but is not inherently stain resistant. Wool looks good for a long time and is well constructed.
Over 90% of residential carpet is manufactured as tufted carpet. A tufting machine works like an oversized sewing machine with hundreds of needles that insert loops of fiber (tufts or stitches) into the carpet’s backing to form the face pile of the carpet.
How long your carpet will last depends on how well it is made. Quality construction will affect the durability, appearance and price of the carpet and is most influenced by the twist of the fibers and the density of the tufts.
Twist refers to how tightly the fiber (carpet yarn) has been twisted. The tighter the yarn is twisted, the better the carpet will stand up to crushing and matting.This is especially important in cut pile carpet, because the tips are exposed and can easily become untwisted. Frieze carpet has the highest twist level at about 7-9 twists per inch (TPI), whereas most cut pile carpet styles have between 3-6 twists per inch.
Density refers to both the amount, and how tightly packed together the fibers are within the carpet. The closer together the fibers are placed, the denser the carpet will be, and the better it will wear and perform.
Ways to check for carpet density include trying to reach the carpet backing by pressing your fingers on the carpet fibers. The more difficult it is to reach the backing, the denser the carpet. Or with outward facing tufts, bend the carpet into a U-shape and look at how much of the carpet backing is visible. The less backing that shows, the denser the carpet.
Stain Resistant Carpet: What Level Do You Need?
Consider how you live in each room. If you have kids, pets, and high traffic areas or entertain a lot, you will want to choose a carpet with stain resistance. The desire to protect your home with quality stain resistance won’t limit your choice of carpet styles and colors.
The primary factor in determining stain resistance is carpet fiber type: nylon, polyester, olefin or wool. Beyond fiber type, most manufacturers apply post-production stain protection treatments to enhance the natural stain resistant properties of any fiber. Ask your Flooring America Sales Professional for assistance in making a flooring choice to suit your lifestyle. And, be sure to reference our Five Star Selection System to help guide you to the right level of warranty protection.
Carpet texture refers to how the fibers of the carpet are attached to the backing of the carpet. Primarily, there are three different types of carpet texture.
Cut pile carpet consists of yarns that are cut at the ends. The soft feel of cut pile carpet makes it a perfect choice for the most comfortable areas of your home – bedrooms, living rooms and family rooms.There are five basic styles of cut pile carpet: Velvet, Saxony, Frieze, Shag, and Cable, each provide a different look and texture. The primary difference among these styles is the amount of twist in the yarns that will ultimately influence the carpet’s durability.
Loop carpet has yarns that are looped and uncut on the carpet surface. The pile height can vary from low, tightly constructed to a more luxurious high-level pile. Loop carpet has, strength and soil hiding capabilities. This style is ideal for heavy traffic areas. Berber is the most popular style of loop carpet that can be constructed as a level-loop or multi-loop carpet.
As the name suggests, this carpet has a combination of high cut tufts and lower loops in a variety of sculptured patterns. Cut-loop carpets offer good performance but are slightly less durable than loop carpets.
There are two popular methods for dying carpet; both methods offer great color.
The fiber is dyed before the fiber are woven. This method gives the carpet stronger stain and fade resistance, along with resistance to harsh cleaning agents, such as bleach.
This method is completed during the post-tufting process and most suitable for woven carpet. It is a process that achieves solid colors.
Think of your floor as the fifth wall that connects all other design elements in the room. Consider the walls, window treatments and other furnishings when choosing a color scheme. Bring fabric and color samples when you visit our store, where our flooring experts will assist you.
All these elements make a difference in how your floor will look. Don’t forget to check out Installation to learn all about the little details that make a big difference when transitioning from old floors to new.
Between fiber type, texture and color, there is a lot to consider when selecting the right carpet for your home. Use our My Design Finder tool to select a style that fits your lifestyle or reach out to your local Flooring America expert for more information.
Can You Install Linoleum Over Carpet Padding?
Linoleum is one of the more flexible types of flooring material you can use in your home, but it still has to be installed on a rated type of substrate for the proper finish result and warranty coverage. Just like ceramic tile, linoleum needs to be installed on a flat surface that will bond with the adhesive used in installation, such as plywood or cement, but not carpet or carpet padding.
Linoleum flooring material is almost exactly like ceramic tile in its installation protocol. A flat, clean surface is required for the tiles or sheets to be installed properly, and they are installed against each other within an overall pattern. Linoleum cannot bend more than just slightly, otherwise the product will snap in half, plus the tiles butt up against each other so lippage is a concern. A flat surface is required.
While the surface does need to be flat and capable of bonding with whatever adhesive you have chosen to use with your linoleum, it also needs to be a type of underlayment that is approved for use with linoleum. As a general rule, linoleum doesn’t have the weight or stability requirements of ceramic tile, so concrete board underlayment isn’t required. Instead, plywood, concrete or any other type of flat surface will do.
Padding for carpet is in no way flat enough to provide an adequate surface for gluing down linoleum. It is also far too flexible to accommodate any type of hard or semihard flooring surface on top of it, because the cushioned aspects of the padding would lead to a person stepping on a piece of linoleum tile that sinks into a cushioned spot beneath the weight of an individual.
The Bare Basics
For best results when dealing with a remodeling project, you need to strip the carpet, the padding and everything else all the way back down to the original rough flooring for the home, which is probably particle board or plywood. Once you have finished, you can remove all the staples and nails and ensure the floor is flat enough to begin the installation.
Thermal Properties of Plywood
Changes in temperature can have a profound effect on building materials, and although plywood doesn’t react as dramatically to extreme temperatures as some other materials do, its thermal properties can help determine what construction roles it’s best suited to play. Plywood’s thermal properties also figure into the home’s insulation calculations when using it as exterior sheathing and subfloor materials.
A material’s thermal conductivity is its ability to transmit heat from one side of the material to the other. Thermal conductivity is presented as a K-value, and the higher this value is, the better able it is to conduct heat. Conductivity can be an issue in situations such as the installation of an underfloor hydronic heating system, where you want the flooring to conduct heat. Plywood typically has a K-value of 1 or less, while ceramic tile, for example, has a K-value of about 12.5. Tile is clearly the better choice for installation above an in-floor heating system with the plywood subfloor beneath the hydronic tubing.
Almost all solid substances expand when they get hot and contract when they get cold, but compared to substances such as most metals, wood expands very little when the temperature increases. Thermal expansion doesn’t have much of an effect on plywood; it expands minimally per inch of the panel’s length for every one degree Fahrenheit of temperature increase, and that’s only when the majority of the panel’s plies have grain that’s perpendicular to the panel surface. Plywood expands much more when it’s exposed to moisture, so thermal expansion in itself is only a concern when construction tolerances are extremely tight and the moisture content of the wood is precisely controlled.
Thermal resistance is the material’s ability to resist the transmission of heat, the inverse of its thermal conductivity — the better a material’s thermal resistance, the more stable the temperature difference on either side of the material. Thermal resistance is indicated as an R-value; materials with high R-values are better insulators than those with low values. Fiberglass batt insulation, for example, typically has an R value greater than 3 per inch of thickness; a 1-inch-thick plywood panel has an R-value of about 1.25, so it’s a significantly less efficient insulator and isn’t enough, by itself, to adequately insulate exterior walls.
Exposure to high temperatures causes plywood to degrade and lose structural strength. Strength loss caused by temperatures between 70 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit is temporary, and the loss will be recovered when the temperature is reduced. Temperatures above 200 degrees will likely cause permanent damage. Such high temperatures are rarely encountered in residential construction, but they may be an issue when plywood is used as roof sheathing in warm climates.
What Type of Glue Do You Use for Granite Countertops?
Granite countertops can be installed in a variety of ways, depending on whether you are working with tiles versus slabs, in addition to the specifications of the slabs and tiles. One of the most expensive types of material you can install in your home, granite countertops are normally installed with one of several different types of glue, depending on the type of installation involved.
Epoxy glue is the most common type of glue used in granite installations, as it is one of the few types of adhesives that can provide a bond that is as strong as the stone itself. A complex blend of resins and hardeners, epoxy glue can be used for the installation of the slabs, as well as the glue used to join two pieces together, such as with two slabs for more thickness, or where two slabs butt up against each other.
Tile mastic is an all-purpose type of glue that can be used with natural stone installations in limited circumstances. While travertine and tumbled marble are softer stones that will soak up the resins and other materials from the mastic, potentially staining the stone, granite is hard enough that the byproducts never have a chance to penetrate beyond the bond. While it can be used to install slabs, it is most commonly used with tile applications.
General Adhesive Glue
All-purpose construction adhesive glue can be used for granite slab installations, although it is generally only used on the bottom layer of the slab to adhere the slab to the plywood decking for the countertop. It cannot be used to bond two pieces of granite together because it does not cure as hard as the granite, and there are also issues with moisture entrapment and the adhesive never drying out.
For caulking joints between transitional surfaces such as where the backsplash meets the countertop or where the countertop material meets a wall, you can use silicone caulk to fill the joint with a clear layer of filler compound. While it is generally only used for joint filling, there are also specialty silicones designed to work as adhesives with granite.
The Proper Installation of Hardie Board
Hardiebacker, sometimes called “Hardie board,” refers to a cement-based panel manufactured by the James Hardie Co. that is used as the substrate for ceramic and stone tile installations. Hardie board is installed over a plywood or OSB base for floors, counter tops or any horizontal surface and applied to vertical wall framing over water-resistant drywall. Proper installation of Hardie board follows a basic procedure that ensures a secure, stable surface to support the tile.
Inspect the surface that the Hardie board is to be applied to. Check that all the nail or screw heads are driven flush to the surface.
Prepare an amount of thin-set mortar mix, if applicable, according the manufacturer’s directions. Note: Mortar is not required on wall installations and you can proceed to Step 3.
Lay out the first sheet of Hardie board. Measure the surface dimensions where it is to be installed and mark any necessary cuts on the Hardie board surface. In addition, for wall installations, cut the length of the sheet so that the end joint, if required, splits on the vertical center line of a wall stud.
Score the cut lines marked in Step 3 to cut the Hardie board. Align the blade of a drywall square or other metal straightedge with the cut line and use a carbide-edged knife to firmly score the line. After scoring, press down on one side of the scored line while lifting up on the outer edge of the panel to snap the Hardie board at the cut line.
Spread a layer of thin-set mortar over the horizontal surface, if applicable, using a notched tile trowel. For wall installation, proceed to Step 6.
Position the piece of Hardie board onto the thin-set mortar or against the wall and attach it to the surface using backer-board screws. Spacing for the screws should be approximately 6 to 8 inches across the piece and 2 to 3 inches from the edges.
Complete the installation of the Hardie board panels by repeating Steps 4 through 6, as applicable.
Apply fiberglass tape to all the seams where the Hardie board panels meet to complete the substrate preparation. Span each seam evenly with the tape. The Hardie board is ready for tile application.
How Often Should You Replace Carpets?
While your carpets don’t have an expiration date, several signs indicate it may be time to replace that floor covering. Threadbare areas, warping or stretching, and odors or stains that do not go away no matter how often you clean the carpet are all clues that it may be time to replace that old carpet.
While a carpet may not need to be replaced just because it’s old, a typical lifespan for modern carpeting is five to 15 years, depending upon the quality of its construction and the amount of foot traffic it receives on a regular basis. A carpet in a spare, rarely used bedroom will last longer than the same carpeting in the main hallway in your home, simply because it is rarely tread upon. Even in a seldom-used room, the padding beneath the carpeting may deteriorate over time, especially if it’s not of high quality. Once the padding deteriorates, the carpeting may feel lumpy or not as comfortable underfoot, and it may wear out more quickly.
Flattened Fibers and Contorted Carpets
If your carpet’s pile once stood tall but now looks flat and matted in some areas no matter how hard you try to remedy the situation, the carpet may be past its prime. Polyester and olefin fibers are prone to matting, especially in the areas walked upon the most. Even Berber carpeting made from looped fibers may succumb to matting over time. If you’ve cleaned, combed and done all you could to fluff old carpeting back up, but nothing seems to help, it’s time to replace the carpet. A carpet that seems stretched beyond its original shape, creating ripples, warps and tripping points throughout the room, is also ready for replacement.
Even a carpet with short fibers, designed to be durable and last for years, wears out eventually. If you can see horizontal threads of the backing material through the top of the carpeting in some areas, it’s time to replace that carpet. No amount of cleaning or fluffing will remedy the situation. Fraying along edges or in thinning areas of the carpet is another sign it’s time to take out the old and bring in the new. These types of wear are likely to occur in heavily used areas such as hallways, stairs and the footpath between frequently used rooms.
If the carpet’s shade is significantly lighter in one area than another, or if the entire carpet seems to be a different hue than when you purchased it, its fibers have faded. Age and exposure to sunlight, air and cleaning materials may change the color of dye on some carpet fibers. While fading alone may not be enough to warrant replacing the carpet if it still seems in fairly good shape, you may want to replace it if the color appears uneven or if it has other issues.
Scents and Stains
If you’ve just cleaned the carpet and it still smells like a wet dog — even if you don’t have a pet — it may be time to replace that funky floor covering. Carpet traps dirt, dust, debris and allergens, and over time, it becomes more difficult to remove all of the problematic materials even with a deep cleaning, which may also be an issue for those with asthma and allergies. As for stains, you may be able to hide a stain or two under furniture, but several stains that do not disappear even after professional cleaning may mean it’s time to consider a new carpet, especially if the stains are in a highly visible area and the carpet is past its prime.
Cost of Carpet Vs. Laminate Flooring
It can be difficult to choose between laminate flooring and carpet when outfitting a room. It’s important to consider the function of a room and the sort of activities — and people and pets — that will likely be in the space. The cost of carpet is generally much cheaper than the cost of laminate flooring, but laminate flooring has the advantage of being longer-lasting, easier to clean, and less likely to suffer weather damage. If the area you are considering sees a great deal of foot traffic, laminate flooring and an area rug might be a better choice than carpeting, but there are numerous other factors to consider.
Advantages of Carpet vs. Laminate
Carpeting adds a softer, warmer feel and look to a room, and it’s a popular choice for bedrooms and living rooms for this reason. Lowes carpet, for example, comes in a vast variety of materials, patterns, and colors, and recent advances in technology have made it more stain-resistant than carpets of the past.
Carpets also create a warming effect in a room which is great if your space is in a cold climate. However, in the hot months, the heat of a carpet can feel needlessly oppressive and somewhat stifling. Depending on the environment you live in, carpet can help make your space seem cozier and warmer, and it can go a long way to helping to tie a room’s color scheme together.
Disadvantages of Carpet
Stain-resistant does not mean stain-proof, and carpet can get destroyed more easily than laminate, especially in high-traffic areas like hallways. It also takes more effort to clean, and ground-in dirt can destroy the fibers. Better quality carpet with stain-resistant treatment will last longer, but will also cost more than a laminate floor.
Like laminate, carpet is made using adhesives and chemicals that people with chemical sensitivities may wish to avoid. Formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, and acetone are chemicals that can be found in some carpets. For more information, ask your retailer or the manufacturer for the material safety data sheet (MSDS) available for the product you are installing.
Advantages of Laminate
Laminate flooring is very durable and is a good choice for hallways and entryways. It’s easy to keep clean, and doesn’t harbor allergens, odors and pet-borne insects like carpeting can. Regardless of your taste in decor, it is almost guaranteed that you will find a style of laminate flooring to suit your interior style.
Laminate comes in a wide variety of styles, mostly meant to simulate the look of stone or wood; the top layer is a graphic representation of whatever surface the laminate is meant to resemble. If one section of a laminate floor becomes damaged, it’s possible to replace damaged sections without redoing the entire floor. Laminate flooring cost tends to be higher than the cost of carpet installation.
In general, installing laminate flooring is an easier task than installing carpet for the do-it-yourself homeowner. The savings made by installing laminate yourself may reduce the cost of laminate flooring to a comparable level with professionally installed carpet. However, if you don’t have experience with laminate floor installing it might be better done by a professional so you can avoid any of the issues that could arise during a DIY project that might potentially result in additional expenditure.
Disadvantages of Laminate
The top layer of laminate is easily scratched by furniture or by dust and grime and may lose its luster if not frequently swept. Laminate is also ruined by excess moisture; any spills or standing water must be promptly cleaned up, and wet mopping is a bad idea. Many types of laminate are made with formaldehyde, and off-gassing of volatile organic compounds may be a problem. Some floors are treated to prevent this, but as with stain-resistant carpet, the price will be higher as a result.
How to Lighten Carpet
Carpets are available in various colors and materials to give homeowners a variety of options. However, carpeting can be quite expensive and many people do not have the extra money to purchase new carpeting. Therefore, when areas of your carpeting become darkened by stains, you are left to deal with the unsightly spots. Fortunately, a variety of common and inexpensive household items can help lighten your carpet and hide the dark spots.
Don a pair of rubber gloves and open doors and windows to vent the bleach fumes. Fill a bucket with 1 gallon warm water. Add 1 cup chlorine bleach and mix thoroughly with a spoon. Increase the amount of bleach for a more dramatic lightening effect.
Pour the mixture into a spray bottle. Saturate the area of the carpet you want lightened with the bleach mixture. Scrub the mixture into the carpet fibers with a scrub brush. Continue applying the mixture and scrubbing until the carpet is thoroughly saturated.
Let the bleach mixture sit on the carpet until you have achieved the desired effect. Dampen a clean white cloth with sodium thiosulfate and immediately blot the bleach off the carpet. The sodium thiosulfate will neutralize and stop the bleaching process. Some brands of sodium thiosulfate come in powdered form; mix it with water before use according to the package directions.
About Installing Carpet
Installing a carpet is a fairly straightforward home improvement project that can have a huge impact on the aesthetics of a room. Depending on the type of material on the floors currently, you may need to proceed differently. But, generally, most carpeting projects follow the same steps.
Carpet Installation Tips
Before undertaking the installation of carpet in a room of your home, determine the square footage of carpeting you’ll need. You can calculate this number by multiplying the length of the room by its width. It’s a good idea to add an extra 10 percent to your total to account for possible errors in cutting or miscalculations.
Next, clean the subfloor. You’ll want to remove any substances that are sticky or that might start to smell over time. In addition, be sure you let the subfloor dry completely before covering it with carpet to prevent the accumulation of mold.
If possible, remove doors to keep them out of the way during carpet installation. Next, install tackless strips. If you’ll be installing the carpet over a concrete subfloor, use masonry tacks to hold the strips in place.
Next, lay the carpet pad down without overlapping any of its edges. You should lay the pad perpendicular to the direction you plan to lay the rug itself. Trim the carpet to size and attach it at the seams. Use a knee kicker to attach the carpet, one edge at a time. Finally, trim the edges.
Installing Carpet Over Other Flooring
In some instances, you may wish to cover existing flooring with carpeting. Perhaps you prefer the look and feel of carpet or are hoping to update the look of a room. Before you proceed with the installation of carpeting, however, there are several things to consider.
Depending on the material covering your floor currently, it might be in your best interest to first remove that substance, then install carpet directly onto the subfloor. For instance, if you have laminate flooring, it’s best not to cover it with carpeting as the tack strips used to adhere carpet can wrinkle the laminate and make it uneven. If the laminate beneath your carpet doesn’t lie flat, you may run into difficulties getting the carpeting installed properly. In addition, laminate tends to stiffen and curl up over time, which could push up on the carpeting and cause displacement. Instead of installing carpeting over laminate directly, remove the laminate first. Then, use tack strips to install the carpeting directly to the subfloor.
Installing Carpet Over Hardwood
If you plan to install carpeting over hardwood, there’s no reason you can’t use the wood floor as your base. Begin by installing tackless strips along the perimeter of the room. Be sure to leave enough space between the strips and the wall so that two-thirds the width of the carpet can fit. Next, lay down rug pads everywhere you’ll be laying carpet. Cover seams between rug pads with duct tape but do not overlap them. Cut the carpet so that it’s between 4 and 6 inches larger than the size of the room. Lay it down so that its pile or pattern is moving in the same direction. Use seaming tape to join the carpet at each seam. Use a knee kicker tool to hook the carpet to the tackless strip at the edge of the wall. Use a power stretcher to stretch the carpet to the opposite wall. Finally, trim any excess carpeting from around the perimeter of the room. You can use a metal strip in the doorway to hold the carpeting in place.
The Best Way to Kill Mold in Carpet
Mold growth around the home should be eliminated as soon as it is discovered. Living spores in mold are harmful to the respiratory system and lengthy contact without adequate breathing protection should be avoided at all costs. A carpet with slight molding can be cleaned, but must be removed and discarded if heavily infested. Mold grows in warm, damp conditions and thrives in areas like bathrooms and basements. Ventilate rooms susceptible to mold as much as possible and check the areas for water leaks. You can mix a natural cleaning solution to kill mold spores in the carpet with ingredients in your home and they’re the best carpet cleaning agents for mold growth, as they will not damage the carpet fibers or cause discoloration.
Brush as much excess mold as possible off the carpet with a soft bristled brush.
Vacuum the mold area thoroughly.
Mix 1/2 cup of borax powder, 1/2 cup white vinegar with 1 cup of water in a cleaning bucket and pour into an empty spray bottle. Borax powder is a natural cleaner that will kill the mold spores on the carpet. Vinegar is also a natural cleaning product. You can purchase both items in general or hardware stores.
Spray the mold-infected areas in equal amounts on the carpet with the vinegar and borax solution and allow to sit for 15 minutes.
Blot up excess moisture with an absorbent cloth and allow the carpet to fully air dry.
The Average Price of Carpet Per Square Foot
Choosing carpet for your home can be a daunting task as so many makes and styles are available. Different carpet choices will have different costs associated with them, so when making your budget, you will want to determine first what qualities you are seeking in your carpet.
The major cost factors of your carpet will be the carpet type, style, composition, durability and thickness. Type of carpets may vary from the popular cut-pile or textured style to the looped or Berber style of carpet. The thickness of the yarn, the loop length and cut, the pile height, and the fibers used will all impact pricing.
Cost by Types
In general, carpet prices can range from $1 to $4 a square foot, with more luxury brands costing up to $8 to $10 per square foot as of 2010. A basic textured carpet made from nylon yarn can average around $1 per square foot. A soft Berber might come in just under $4 a square foot.
In addition to the actual cost of the carpet, you will need to factor in the cost of the carpet pad and any installation costs you may encounter if you choose to have the carpet professionally installed. Generally, you should add about $1 per square foot for padding and installation, although some stores may provide flat rates on carpet installation.
How to Disinfect Carpet
Many homes are installed with carpet, since carpet is comfortable to walk on and inexpensive compared to other types of flooring. Dirt, grime, germs and contaminants collect in carpet fibers, especially when animals live in a home. These contaminants can attract bugs and cause those living in the home to have allergic reactions. Frequently cleaning and disinfecting carpet will improve the appearance of the carpet, keep it more sanitary and allow it to last longer.
Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1 cup of borax and 1 cup of cornmeal in a bowl. Thoroughly mix the ingredients with a spoon.
Sprinkle the mixture over the carpet. Use a clean cloth to rub the mixture into the carpet fibers.
Allow the mixture to absorb into the carpet overnight. Vacuum the carpet with a vacuum cleaner.
Pour 1 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of hot water into a bowl. Pour the solution into the detergent vessel of a steam cleaner.
Vacuum the carpet with the steam cleaner, following the manufacturer’s directions. Allow the carpet to thoroughly dry.
Rippled or Buckled Carpet After Cleaning
Cleaning a carpet is supposed to make it look better — not create unsightly ripples and bulges. In many cases, however, especially when a carpet is more than a few years old, it does end up looking worse after cleaning. Usually, the ripples, bumps and buckling are not the result of improper cleaning but rather of a problem that already existed with the carpet.
Moisture in a carpet can cause fibers in both the carpet itself and its backing to swell. This temporarily creates a loose appearance in the carpet and some ripples, bumps or buckling. This condition is more common in carpets that have been in place for some time and are in need of re-stretching prior to the cleaning. The swelling from the moisture makes the problem more apparent.
Too Much Moisture
If too much water is used in the cleaning process, it can penetrate all the way through the carpet backing, saturating the entire carpet. This situation can cause the backing to separate from the carpet fibers and result in buckling or rippling. In cases of backing separation, the damage will be permanent. Too much water can also cause the carpet to stretch out slightly.
Depending on the type of carpet and its backing, part of the fibers or the backing may dry quicker than other parts. This results in an unusual pull or strain on the carpet that causes it to have small ripples or bumps since the dry areas shrink while the wet areas remain swollen.
If the carpet was not installed properly and installation did not include a complete power stretching, any small amount of moisture can cause rippling or buckling because excess slack that already existed in the carpet will be exacerbated by swelling from the moisture. Carpet should be power stretched upon installation. If no such stretching was performed, it should be done after the carpet has dried.
With the exception of the backing separating from the carpet, ripples and buckling after cleaning are not permanent. Avoid walking on the affected areas until the carpet is completely dry. Drying usually takes about 48 hours, depending on the temperature and humidity in a home. In most cases the carpet will return to its original shape, and the ripples will disappear. If they remain, the carpet should be re-stretched to remove the bumps and ripples.