Occasionally, we get calls from clients who have wrinkles or ripples in their carpet. Sometimes it is in a fairly new carpet that has had little traffic. Other times it is an older carpet that developed ripples over time. So what causes these unsightly conditions, and can they be fixed? WRINKLES are usually seen in new carpet immediately after installationand 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 always the case. Wrinkles not only affect the surface yarns, they go all the way through the carpet backings and may be permanent. Steaming and grooming the carpet can improve this condition, but results will vary based on the type of carpet yarn, backing, and the severity of the wrinkles. RIPPLES are small waves that usually appear from few months to a year or more after the carpet is installed. The most common reason that carpet develops ripples is installer error. Often an installer will save time by using a kneekicker 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 was installed in cooler 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.
Occasionally, carpet will develop ripples immediately after cleaning. 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. 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. 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. Not all wrinkles are quite this cute!