Carpet Repairs & Re-stretching, Wrinkles Ripples and Buckles… What are the Causes and Cures?
Carpet Repairs and Re-stretching
Occasionally, we get calls from clients, needing carpet repairs and re-stretching, because they have ripples in their carpet. Sometimes it is in a fairly new carpet that has had little traffic. Other times it is an old carpet that develops ripples over time. The ripples may occur in small localized areas, an entire room, or even throughout the home. They can be large or small, in the middle of the room, or around the edges. So, what causes these unsightly conditions and can they be fixed?
Wrinkles are usually seen in new carpet immediately after installation and are localized to one end of the carpet. Carpet wrinkles are areas where the carpet has been folded or crushed during storage. It is best if this condition is identified before the carpet is installed. If possible the wrinkled portion of the carpet roll should not be used. The carpet retailer or installer may tell you to wait and the wrinkles will relax over time. However, this is not the case. Wrinkles not only affect the surface yarns, they go all the way through the carpet backings and may be permanent. This condition can be improved by steaming and grooming the carpet, but the results will vary based on the type of carpet yarn, backing, and the severity of the wrinkles.
Ripples are small waves that usually appear some time after the carpet is installed. The most common reason that carpet develops ripples is installer error. In order to avoid ripples, carpet should be installed using a power-stretcher. Often an installer will save time by using a knee-kicker rather than a power-stretcher. This results in inadequate stretch and the potential for ripples to develop as the carpet relaxes. Another reason for ripples is carpet that was not properly acclimated to the structure prior to installation, especially if the carpet is installed in cold weather.
A carpet needs to acclimate to normal room temperature and humidity for at least 48 hours before installation. It is difficult to stretch cold carpet, so as the carpet warms and absorbs atmospheric moisture, it will relax. It may take months for ripples to appear. Occasionally, carpet will develop ripples immediately after cleaning. This can be quite disturbing to both the cleaner and the homeowner. The cause is moisture absorption into the adhesive layer between the primary and secondary backings of the carpet. Even though the ripples appear after cleaning, the root cause is improper stretch of the carpet during installation. Does this mean that the carpet is damaged? Fortunately, the answer is no. In fact, once the carpet dries completely and acclimates to the normal temperature and humidity of the home, the carpet will lie flat. This can take up to 48 hours. In rare cases, the ripples may persist. The only way to fix rippled carpet is to stretch the carpet again. Re-stretching requires training and patience. Often it is more difficult to re-stretch a carpet than it is to stretch it right the first time. If ripples are ignored for too long, the carpet will develop buckles.
Buckles are large ripples that form peaks and or wrinkles through the face yarns and carpet backing. If buckles are not corrected, permanent damage to the texture and structure of the carpet will result. Even if the carpet is re-stretched, the damage from buckles may still be apparent. Steaming the carpet and grooming the pile yarns may help to minimize the appearance of the damage. Other reasons for carpet ripples are excessive rolling traffic, improperly specified carpet cushion, delamination of the primary and secondary backings and even some manufacturing defects. So what should you do if your carpet develops ripples? If the carpet is still under warranty, the best thing to do is contact the installer and the retailer where you purchased the carpet. If you don’t get any help there, the manufacturer would be the next logical step. Often a manufacturer will be able to exert some pressure on the retailer to do the right thing. You may have to be persistent to get results, so keep track of dates, times and names of all calls or emails.
If your carpet is out of warranty and has ripples or buckles, call Clean Pro Cleaning & Restoration. We will be happy to take a look and assist you in identifying the cause and cure that is right for you.