This is a problem that appeared twice this week with two different types of carpets from two different sources. The first carpet in question was sent in by a dealer who said his customer started to complain that the carpet was making a “squeaking” noise, which they noticed the day after it was installed. Upon hearing this, the dealer initially thought that the squeaking sound was coming from the rebond pad. Often there will be hard pieces in rebond pad that will squeak or make noise when you step on them, but you’ll only find them randomly in the pad, it won’t be a situation where you notice a noise with every foot step. In this case the consumer noticed the noise wherever they walked.
The manufacturers rep went to look at the carpet and proclaimed there was nothing wrong with it - but it still continued to make noise. Maybe a little time, use and vacuuming would make this noise go away, soften the carpet up a bit and correct whatever was causing this phenomena. Time was of no help, nor was use or anything else. A second time, over a year later, the dealer talked to the rep about this complaint again. The reps’ response was that now it was too late, the carpet had been down over a year, it is only warranted a year and therefore no claim would be entertained. The rep wasn’t going to go look at the carpet again and he wasn’t going to allow a claim to be filed. That’s nice, but I don’t think so. Needless to say this didn’t sit well with the dealer and it certainly wasn’t the news the consumer wanted to hear, especially since her carpet was still making noise.
At his wits end, the dealer called us, explained his dilemma and asked for help. We questioned exactly what the carpet sounded like with the squeak and he said you could definitely hear the carpet making noise when you walked on it. We told him to send a new, unused piece of the carpet from scrap left over and at that point we’d analyze, evaluate and come to a conclusive answer for him, which I’ll share with you shortly.
Right after this complaint we had another carpet that we looked at with the same type of problem. This time it was one of the new soft yarns. The sample, which we got a piece of and the installed carpet, which was sent in, felt completely different. The sample was as soft and supple as could be with a wonderful feeling hand. The installed carpet was much more stiff and hard feeling and it made a slight crunchy noise and had the crackly feel associated with how a scroopy yarn (I’ll explain) would feel. The dealer and the consumer were complaining that this carpet was supposed to be soft and comfortable feeling and instead it felt stiff and crunchy.
Carpet yarn will sometimes make noise and there’s even a term for it, it’s called “scroopy” yarn. When you gently push down on the surface of the carpet you’ll feel a very subtle crunchiness, the carpet will make a slight noise and the yarn will feel slightly stiff, not soft and supple - this is scroopy yarn. This physical condition can often happen in the processing of the yarn or in the finishing process. The yarn itself can be affected with this malady when it is extruded and processed or the carpet can get this way if it gets too much heat in the finishing process, when it is going through the oven during the curing of the latex after the lamination process. It is also possible that the topical applications of soil and stain resist agents can also impart this condition because they can change the feel of the yarn and make it stiff and crunchy or allow the yarns to make noise when they rub together underfoot. It is difficult, to determine exactly what or how the condition arises. We can test for the amount of soil retardant on the carpet to see how much or how little is there but often times you don’t know what was used. There are several types of soil and stain resist agents available to the industry and one may never know what was used on any given day for whatever reason. It is often also difficult to determine if the yarn or fiber was “over-processed”or the carpet overheated in the finishing range because similar conditions will exist for both. Therefore it is difficult to pinpoint who, exactly, is to blame for the carpet making noise. One thing is for sure, if the sample doesn’t feel or sound like the finished product sold and installed then somewhere in the manufacturing process the condition occurred. This means this is a manufacturing problem or defect for which the carpet should be replaced by the manufacturer if the consumer is complaining about it. Certainly no one expects that their carpet should make noise when walked on or that a soft fiber should feel hard and crunchy.
Be certain however, that you have determined that it is not the subfloor that is squeaking, that the pad is not making noise or that the crunchy, wrinkling sound the consumer may be hearing isn’t the pad or the membrane on it. In a case like this we may not know where the problem occurred during the manufacturing process but we can tell you that it is definitely a manufacturing related condition for which replacement is warranted- there is no disputing this fact.