Flooring and Carpeting/Cornrowing

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Question
In April 2012, I had beautiful Shaw carpet Style #Z6976 - I Got You Berber installed in my living room and hallway.  Within a month, I noticed what looked like "waves" or "rows" appearing in the main walk areas. My 1-month old carpet looked like it was at least 2 years old and my heart sunk. I take a lot of pride in my home and vacuumed every other day and in different directions to see what I could do for the rows.   I contacted Shaw who indicated it sounded like cornrowing and suggested I contact the installer to initiate the claims process.  A claim was filed and my carpet was looked at by an independent inspector who confirmed cornrowing was present.  They also indicated that cornrowing is a maintenance issue and not a manufacturing defect.

I'm completely stumped how 1-month old carpet could have a maintenance issue.  It's not like I didn't take care of it.  If this carpet was a high maintenance carpet to the point where I knew I needed to rake it every other day I would've never bought it.  

Upon researching this issue, I have seen several other postings with very similar issues to mine.  It seems that if this issue is so present that perhaps Shaw should disclaim their carpet indicating that you're going to have to work like a dog to keep it looking decent.  Beyond that, I would question the claims and numbering system they use to advertise the quality of their carpet.  I was very specific to purchase the best carpet I could find - high density, 4.5 out of 5 on the wearability scale (or whatever they call it).  

It's so disheartening to save up for 2 years to buy new carpet for your home only to have it look like your neighbor's older carpet and be told that it's a maintenance issue.  

Perhaps all Shaw carpet should come with a vacuum service and a carpet rake?  

Have others seen trends with Shaw carpeting doing this?   And is cornrowing really a maintenance issue with carpet that is only 1 month old?  

Any tips or advice are welcomed.  

Thank you.

Answer
Cornrowing is a function of both usage and carpet construction. The longer the tuft shaft and the less the density & gauge, the more apt the carpet is to cornrow in traffic lanes. The higher the density (the amount of pile packed into each square yard) and the tighter the gauge (space between rows) and the shorter the pile length, the less apt cornrowing is to occur. It is a matter of physical science. In simple terms, tuft rows will fall over on each other in traffic lanes when there is less support near them. However, they will NOT do this by themselves, there has to be an outside force i.e.; usage/traffic/soiling. That's why the manufacturer's say it is a maintenance issue. Raking the carpet or cleaning helps but it will return with usage.
I advise my clients in my prepurchase consulting business to look at the specific warranty information of the flooring product you are buying. Many people do not do this. Shaw's is here in case you didn't: http://s7.shawimg.com/s7/brochure/flash_brochure.jsp?company=ShawIndustries&sku=
They state that "the texture of any carpet will change in heavy traffic lanes. Such conditions constitute normal wear & tear and are not covered by this warranty, which is to protect you from excessive appearance change" Then the warranty goes on to say " Matting & crushing, or any change in appearance retention are not manufacturing defects and are excluded from this warranty".
I tell my clients that when you buy carpet you are also buying into the warranty. As an inspector I have the authority to stamp a product as defective DEPENDING upon what is or is not warrantied.
So the bottom line here is that the carpet you purchased, while rated 4.5 for wear (abrasive loss of fiber) means nothing in terms of cornrowing.
I am sorry that you spent money on a product that did not service you well. One other tip for the future: I also tell my clients to purchase the shortest pile that is pleasing to them and the tightest pile they can afford. I have one carpet in one room that is 15 years old and still looks like new (short tight dense pile).
Write back if you need more info.  

Flooring and Carpeting

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R Adams

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Certified Installer 1966-1976, Certified Carpet Cleaning Instructor 1976-1985, Certified Commercial and Residential Floor Inspector since 1985 is available to answer questions on problems with carpet or other flooring, and carpet cleaning. I can guide you as to whether you may have a valid claim against a manufacturer/installer/dealer/cleaning company.

Experience

Floor covering Installer 1966-1976 Carpet Cleaning Instructor 1976-1985 Floor Covering Inspector 1985- present

Organizations
Floor Covering Inspector Training School; FCITS Floor Covering Inspection Technical Services; FITS Certified Claims Inspectors Association; CCIA

Publications
Hartford Courant

Education/Credentials
B.S. Chemistry 1971 A.S. Physical Science 1969 Armstrong Certified Installer 1972 3M Certified Carpet Cleaning Specialist 1976 FCITS Certified in Carpet and Hard Surface, Commercial and Residential

Past/Present Clients
GE, Phoenix Insurance Group, McDonalds Corp, WTNH, US NAVY, Xerox, Time Warner, Pitney Bowes, Conair, Yale New Haven Hospital, UCONN, Price Waterhouse, Pepsico.

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