Flooring and Carpeting/apartment carpet

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Question
Hi,
I hope you can help us. My husband and I just moved out of a large apartment complex in Fl., which we lived in for 4 years. We were shocked to learn that they are going to charge us for normal wear and tear in hallways and path ways. Also for the impressions our sofa legs had left.They consider this "damage" The carpet and pad is very basic- just apartment grade. They claim it has a 6 year life time. Could you tell me the average life expectancy of this type of carpet and if you would consider matting and crushing as normal wear and tear.

Thank you for your time,
Michele K

Answer
Let's look at the terms you are using and what is "normal wear and tear":
Matting is an entanglement of fibers and can be caused by poor carpet construction and/or improper/lack of proper maintenance (not being vacuumed and or cleaned). If the carpet that was used was made of a staple yarn then the matting would be exacerbated by lack of maintenance. So this is not normal wear and tear. If you can prove that you properly maintained the carpet then you may have a case on this one although the chance of the carpet being defective here is slim. Is the carpet dirty? Was it your responsibility to clean it? If so you would probably be liable. Cleaning here would not reverse matting.

Crushing or pile compression is a carpet's normal reaction to traffic. Carpet is soft and will compress with traffic. The extent of crushing will of course depend upon the density, gauge, pile height of the carpet. This is normal wear and tear. But if the carpet is not properly maintained then it will compress much more easily. So again if the carpet is dirty and it was your responsibility to keep it clean then you would be liable. However, a cleaning here should restore the pile.

Crushing from furniture legs is an extreme case of pile compression. This can and should be minimized by the use of castors/cups to spread out the weight of the furniture legs. This is not normal wear and tear. Steaming here can restore the pile. Unfortunately the carpet would have to be pulled up to steam the back also, because that has become indented. And the pad would have to be replaced in those areas since that also has probably become indented. This can be quite costly.

So you may be liable for the carpet. However you would not be liable for NEW carpet. Generally apartment grade or builders grade carpet has a life expectancy of 5 years. Could yours have one of 6? Possibly. Ask to see documentation of the carpet, type/style/grade/manufacturer. Google it/make some calls to see.  Since most of the life expectancy has been used up you at most would only be liable for 1/5 or 1/3 of the cost of new.  

Flooring and Carpeting

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R Adams

Expertise

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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