Comments on Carpet - Dec. 30 Show

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A couple of comments on the carpet section of today's show. 

1.  Restretching:  properly installed carpet should never need to be restretched.  Wrinkling is common where the carpet was not stretched properly initially. Proper installation requires power stretching, which is accomplished by use of a stretcher with a long pole that is braced against the wall opposite where the installer is working.  This device exerts tremendous force to really stretch the carpet.  Broadloom carpet must be stretched 1 to 1 1/2% in both length and width to remain stable; anything less usually results in wrinkles.

Too many installers today use the knee kicker, a short device that is struck with the knee; its proper use is only for the positioning of the carpet and installation in tight places such as closets.  It is not capable of truly stretching the carpet and looseness or wrinkling is certain to occur. 

Consumers can download the Carpet and Rug Institute's Carpet Installation Standard at

I suggest consumers obtain that standard, hand it to the dealer and insist that the installation be done in accordance with the standard.  (some will never have heard of it)  This will prevent not only wrinkles but other problems such as raveling seams - all seams should have both edges sealed before the final seaming. Installers hate this process.

Carpet manufacturers produce fine products only to have them installed too frequently by the lowest bidder for the job at the dealer's store. 

A new, more comprehensive installation standard is under development.

2. Maintaining carpet:

While cleaning is certainly important, vacuuming is even more important.  Removing soil while dry is much easier and more efficient (no need to convert it to mud for removal).  More important, it can be done routinely and frequently. 

re the comment about asthma and allergies.  While over the years carpet has been assumed to be a source of allergens and the medical community has recommended removal for asthmatic patients, more recent research has shown the opposite to be true.  The older beliefs were based on the ability to find and measure soils and allergens in carpets, yielding a superficial assumption that it must be bad.  A little thought shows that if the allergens are in the carpet, they are not in the air.  Research has shown that carpet is quite efficient at trapping and immobilizing these contaminants until they can be removed by proper maintenance.  A number of studies have shown that asthmatic patients fare better with carpet in their bedrooms compared to hard surface floors.  The medical community is slowly changing their recommendations.

Vacuums can remove most dry soil and allergens - provided they do not spew them back into the air.  The Carpet and Rug Institute developed a testing and certification program, commonly called the Seal of Approval program.  Tests and standards were developed to insure soil removal, dust containment and freedom from carpet damage.  

As mentioned, wet cleaning can be accomplished by DIY or professional cleaning. Carpet manufacturers recommend professional cleaning. 

Hope this helps next time

Carey Mitchell

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