Claims file: Hey! That’s my carpet!

HomeColumnsClaims file: Hey! That’s my carpet!

by Lew Migliore

In my 39 years in this business I’ve never had anything like this happen before. A dealer forwarded photographs and information for a complaint about a carpet that is the same product we have installed in my wife’s home office in a different color.

The carpet in question has been installed for a year-and-a-half in a kitchenette, living room, hall and bedroom. The consumer feels the carpet is not wearing well and is also afraid it may be fading. This is particularly so in the traffic lanes. The inspector’s report concluded the product is not defective; it is shading. Also, because it is a cut-pile carpet, it shows foot traffic and appearance change from matting.

As I said, we have had this same carpet in brown installed for at least four years in my wife’s office at home, so let me give you information on this product. It is actually a very high-end, woven polypropylene, cut and loop pile construction with a grid pattern. The cut-pile portion of this carpet is very low and dense, while the lower portion is loop pile. Although polypropylene is the least resilient of any fiber used in carpet, in cut-pile configuration it has a very tight twist which makes it a higher performing polypropylene but it will still mat and crush.

The fiber is also on the lustrous side so when it is walked on it will compress and shade. However, when the carpet is vacuumed the appearance can be restored. The color of the carpet will also have an effect on the appearance. Blues, especially in light to medium shades, the complaint carpet’s color, have a tendency to “ugly out,” looking dingy and even soiled when they may not be. Dark brown—the color of our carpet—won’t do that.

This carpet will compress and reflect and refract light differently, but when vacuumed, it comes right back up. In fact, if you vacuum this carpet against the pile lay, the direction in which the pile yarns lay, it returns to its original appearance. That said, when you walk on the carpet, it will shade again. This is one of the inherent characteristics of this product and I think it gives it a luxurious appearance.

Even though this may be considered a high performer, like any carpet or flooring material, you have to know where it can be used. The complaint carpet is installed in a small living space. It is also in a kitchenette area. Cut-pile polypropylene, no matter how expensive and dense it is, should not be installed in an area where any food or cooking is done. Polypropylene is oleophilic, which means it loves oil, which is why it is used to absorb oil spills. It will mat and crush with concentrated, unalterable and pivotal foot traffic and oily soil exacerbates that condition.

My wife’s office has an unalterable traffic pattern but is not the type of space with a lot of walking or activity. When she is in that room, she is sitting down in a chair with a chair pad underneath it. The carpet is not getting a lot of use and it’s the perfect product for this space.

I agree with the carpet inspector’s report that states there is nothing wrong with the carpet. Even though it is an expensive carpet, where you can and should use this type of product must be understood. The carpet is performing up to the standards and characteristics to which it was designed, engineered and constructed. Price doesn’t dictate performance. This is a case of the wrong product in the wrong place in the wrong color.

That’s not what the consumer wants to hear but it’s the truth.

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