Claims file: Case of color change

Home Columns Claims file: Case of color change

by Lew Migliore

This story comes from one of the many contacts we have in the field who use us as a resource to help resolve concerns, complaints and flooring issues.

A southern U.S. beach hotel manager reported several guest rooms in the facility looked like the carpet was fading. Most of the concern however was nothing more than normal matting and crushing of the carpet surface from traffic. The carpet is an 80/20 olefin/nylon blend. This means that 80% of the carpet yarn is olefin (polypropylene) and 20% of the yarn is nylon. There were some confined areas in the rooms where the carpet yarn was turning yellow. The question asked was whether or not we could tell if this is UV breaking down or changing colors?

This was not a problem we looked at but that was reported to us with photos furnished.

Consider the evidence

We’ll get an answer to the question but let me expound on this a bit more by analyzing the information. The fact that the carpet is an olefin and nylon blend tells us it is not an expensive piece of carpet and was installed in a more budget conscious hotel. This type of facility is likely to host clientele who are not fastidious about their housekeeping and are more concerned with keeping expenses down.

The photo shows us the color change is actually color loss due to the oxidation of color from the yarn. The yellow tint indicates that oxidizers or bleaching agents have stripped color from the carpet, as seen in the remaining yellowish tint or cast. We also know that only the nylon is affected since olefin is solution dyed and virtually impervious to bleaching agents. We know the nylon is not solution dyed or there would be no color loss or change from oxidizing agents.

Oxidizers affect carpet color by degrading the dyes. To prevent this from happening, the carpet would need to have been 100% olefin, all solution dyed nylon or a blend of olefin and solution dyed nylon. The latter two would have been more expensive and therefore not considered to fit into the budget of this type of establishment. However, to prevent the color from being compromised a yarn system that is unaffected by oxidizers or color destroyers, would have been necessary.

This is also not UV color loss as it is confined to one area in each of the rooms. UV would fade the carpet with some measure of uniformity. This color change is concentrated in one physical location on the carpet against the wall. There is no indication of a spatter or splash pattern so chances are something having been spilled or dripped on the carpet is not the cause.

The verdict

It’s more likely someone put something like a wet bathing suit or towel on the carpet after being in the swimming pool. Chlorine bleach in the pool is an oxidizer and will strip color from the carpet. This also could have been caused by a wet towel left on the carpet after being used to clean the bathroom. Most, if not all, bathroom cleaners contain oxidizers that will bleach out color.

The blame cannot be placed on the carpet because the evidence indicates someone used something to cause the color change. That something was a bleaching agent.

Carpets don’t do things like this by themselves. So, we know which category of color killer was at work here and we know someone did it, with something. The carpet can’t be blamed.

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