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.
Carpet Myths and Truths - Part 1
There is probably no product manufactured, which is misunderstood more by the consuming public, and the people who sell it more than carpet. In this column, we will shed some light on the myths and truths about carpet, which have been floating around for years.
You are going to experience carpet from a different perspective, which is both fascinating and painful to a young and vibrant industry. A unique industry, to say the least, with unique problems. The fact that there are problems with carpet will never elude the industry. The drain on profits by carpet claims affects everyone from the manufacturer to the retailer. Another key factor is the loss in revenues for all concerned from future sales.
The consuming public becomes increasingly disillusioned and frustrated with carpet problems, driving them to alternative flooring products and souring their taste for carpet from a particular dealer or manufacturer. Hence, the industry becomes its own worst enemy.
Over the years a trend has developed that can be divided into these basic problem
*Specification and use
*Overselling the product
Each of these categories can be broken down and this information will be covered in future columns. We will also bring to you a no-punches-pulled look at carpet claims as they actually exist.
With the changes taking place in the industry today through technology, style, construction, new yarn systems, and marketing, you are hard pressed to comprehend carpet at all; so too, is the consumer.
In order for problems to be understood, we must first understand the product. Unfortunately, few people who sell, install, or service carpet have ever seen it manufactured; so let us look at it in its simplest and basic terms.
Carpet is constructed as a layered product comprised of face yarns, primary backing latex and secondary backing. For now, we'll just look at some small segment of the face yarns and put into perspective what everyone takes for granted.
The face yarn is comprised of filaments. One tiny strand can vary in shape, thickness, length, resiliency as well as other characteristics. If we look at a filament under a microscope, we can easily see that shape and thickness. Now, for comparison, we'll place a human hair next to this filament under the microscope.
The yarn filament is approximately one-third the thickness of a human hair. Now imagine the monumental demand placed on these yarn filaments to perform under everyday abuse while being expected to look good doing it. Very few products of any kind are asked to give so much, with so little concern at a fair price. But, yet everyday, this is taken for granted by consumers that carpet is carpet and it's supposed to do what we expect it to do regardless of any other circumstances.
This kind of thinking permeates the sales, specification, installation, and design communities. I see it everyday. Fortunately, the majority of carpet does what it is supposed to do well.
It is no secret that carpet is purchased for two primary reasons - aesthetic appeal (how it looks) and performance. When it fails to live up to the preconceived expectations of the consumer in either of these areas, the ripples of complaints are felt throughout the industry pond. A product that a short time after being purchased and installed brought such a warm glow to the consumer and her home or place of business, has now become a frustrating source of irritation.