Lew Migliore, the Industry's Troubleshooter and President of LGM & Associates Technical Flooring Services. LGM specializes in the practice of consulting on and trouble shooting all flooring related complaints, problems, and performance issues having experts in every category as well as related educational services.
Roll Crush Marks
This is an old subject that just reared its head with an inquiry and photos sent by a dealer. The carpet in question is a polypropylene cut pile that exhibited crush marks when installed.
Crush marks are actually compressions in the face of the carpet caused by the weight of the roll upon itself. This is a very common issue that has affected carpet for decades. The lower and tighter the carpet the more susceptible it is to the influence of compression. Roll crush marks appear as wide bands across the carpet width that are spaced in progression - close, to far apart - the further you get from the center of the roll.
In other words, towards the core of the carpet the crush marks will be at closer intervals in the length of the carpet and will get further apart the more you open the roll. They will be about six inches or so in length, across the width. Just think of yard lines in a football field but not10 yards apart. At one end of the field the lines will be closer together and the closer you get to the other end of the field the farther the lines will be apart.
In a nylon carpet crush marks will come out by themselves, over time and with heat and humidity. This will take longer in cold winter months. They can be forced out by steaming with a "Jiffy Steamer" - the type steamer used in clothing stores to steam wrinkles out of clothing. Many of you may have these machines.
The key is to only steam the crush mark, not the entire carpet and to use a "Handi Groom" to groom the areas steamed. This process will change the color of the carpet, the texture somewhat and the feel (softer) where it's been steamed but once the carpet cools down the color and texture will return to normal, so don't freak out if you see this. This process can also be used on polyester carpets.
Polypropylene carpet is a different story. Since polypropylene fiber is the least resilient of any fiber used in carpet, once it compresses it will not come back up. Polypropylene is unaffected by steam heat as the fiber is hydrophobic - won't absorb moisture to loft the fiber or get it to respond. If the carpet has sat too long in storage, had rolls stacked too high on it (carpet should not be stacked more than three rolls high and if very large rolls, not stacked at all) the weight will compress the carpet face.
If the carpet was rolled up warm, which it can be when it comes off the finishing range and then wrapped in plastic, which it is, the roll crush can "set" in the carpet face. This is not a defect but it can be a manufacturing problem. Should a polypropylene carpet arrive this way the crush marks won't come out and you aren't going to get them out. My suggestion would be to make sure you inspect this product before you install it.
Sometimes you may be able to coax the roll crush marks out with a "pile lifter." (You can Google all the terms in quotations marks to see what these products are). If the roll crush marks don't respond then your only recourse is to go back to the manufacturer with a claim. Or, wait until the rest of the carpet compresses, which it will and the roll crush mark blends in.
You may want to discuss this with your supplier to see what their policy is on this before you experience a problem. By doing so you alert them to your concern and may save yourself the trouble of having to experience this.
To prevent complaints and problems with flooring material you need to understand the product; what it will and won't do. And, if it does something that puzzles or stumps you, knowing if what you're seeing is normal for the product or something else.
With new products, innovations, installation technologies and backings, it's impossible for you to know what you need to about them. Many flooring materials react to influences you may not be familiar with or have encountered before. If you need help on any flooring issue, contact me, we have the answers.
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