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Flooring and Carpeting/new plush carpet has corduroy striping


QUESTION: We recently purchased and had installed a very plush polyester carpet (the highest grade though) through a big box hardware/retailer.  When the carpet was installed we would not approve the installation because of very bad work on the stairs --which the retailer had replaced--  visible seems, which they said could not be improved on, but worst, we feel that we got defective carpet as it has visible lines every 1/4 to 1/2 inch in even rows along the entire piece of carpet in every room, in no traffic and traffic zones.
We complained and eventually (6 weeks later) the manufacturer's rep came out to inspect and called the issue "cornrowing" and therefore not a manufacturer's defect.  Having read up on this now, I am sure it is not cornrowing and probably is something called gauging?  but I am not finding a lot of info on this on the web.  
Does this sound like the problem to you, and can you suggest how I approach this to get it resolved.  The carpet is only a couple of months old and would look fine if not for the little lines.
Thanks so much for your help!

ANSWER: If you have noted spaces between tuft rows IMMEDIATELY after installation in "even rows" then you are either seeing gauge lines or shift marks. Gauge lines run with the carpet's length. Shift marks run across the carpet's width. Both will appear as uniform spaces between the tufts. Both are normal functions of the manufacturing process and are not considered a defect. Gauge line are more common in carpet with lower density and lower number of tufts per inch. Shift marks will more be a function of the type of tufting process. Both gauge lines and shift marks should be visible on the sample piece when you selected the carpet, but remember that the smaller the sample piece the harder they will be to see. I always advise my clients to get the biggest sample they can and not to pick from a small swatch. If you did pick out your carpet from a larger piece and they were NOT there, then you may have a case. I've traveled to many retailer's stores to check out carpet samples to try and substantiate (or deny) claims. An inspector here may be of help you here.

Cornrowing appears as alternate rows (more or less) of tufts laying down and standing up. It may run lengthwise, width-wise or at any diagonal. It is not something you would see immediately after installation. It is a function of usage, carpet density and pile height and would lay across the path of travel/usage. It basically due to carpet being used in traffic or usage areas that are beyond the carpet's capabilities.  For example, you may  see this effect under a door that rubs across the carpet as this almost always  produce cornrowing on a cut pile carpet, given enough time. The aspect of whether this is a defect will depend upon the specific manufacturer's warranties, (i.e.; retention warranty) and where it is occurring (under doors and stairs are not covered). A reputable retailer will not sell you a product that is not fit for the use intended without sufficient warning. You may have a case here depending on the circumstances, but this can become a matter of "he said, she said".

You are more than welcome to send me photos and I can try and give you more input depending upon their clarity.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: We did bring home a larger sample and of course looked at the larger sample in the store and it did not show these lines.  This carpet looks like a bad pair of corduroy pants!  Clearly not what we saw on the sample, so my question would be how would we pursue this?  
I was not really too upset until the mfg rep blew us off with an "off-the-cuff" reference to cornrowing which this can't be on day one of installation.  And, it does seem odd that these very defined lines would not be considered a defect, how could that be?
Do you have a suggestion on how to proceed?
How would I find an inspector?
Thanks again for your help.

If your retailer and manufacturer are not being receptive to your concerns my suggestion would be to contact an independent, certified inspector. You can consult with an attorney but he will probably tell you that you need an expert's opinion. A certified independent inspector report will have much more credence with the manufacturer and, if it comes to it, a judge,  than your retailer's, installer's or other third party's word such as another dealer.

The reason that these are not considered a defect is because the way carpet is manufactured. Tufts HAVE to be tufted in rows. There WILL be a space between tufts. However, the spaces are not always obvious depending upon the density, gauge, etc. of the carpet.

If I were to inspect this I would first verify if it is gauge lines, shift marks, or cornrowing. Then, I would inspect the sample you saw to verify it is the same gauge, density, etc. If the two were different I would write on the report that the quality of carpet you received was not the same as what you had originally chose and that either your retailer sold you a different grade or quality  than you purchased or the manufacturer changed specs, such as gauge, without updating the sample. You would send this report to both the dealer and the manufacturer, demanding a replacement or refund. An inspection report with this type of conclusion, where you did not get what you paid for, is one where the dealer and manufacturer would usually offer a replacement because there is little chance they would win this in court.

Certified inspectors can be found at or
My company is listed at FCITS in CT as ADAMService

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R Adams


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.


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

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

Hartford Courant

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

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