Flattening will occur as a result of high traffic which eventually flattens the pile particularly in certain areas of use.
All pile fabrics will flatten to a greater or lesser degree dependant on the amount of use to which is it subjected and the construction (tuft design fibre/height/weight) of the product concerned.
Shading occurs because the pile of the carpet has become crushed or flattened or brushed in a different direction to the natural lie of the pile whilst in situ. This causes light reflection at differing angles resulting in the creation of light and dark patches on the carpet. This will occur on all pile fabrics but can be more noticeable on pliner carpets because the shadows created by pile pressure will not be disguised by a heavy pattern or design.
Like shading, this occurs when the pile or nap of the carpet changes direction and thus reflects light at different angles showing the effects of shading which can become permanent. It is also described as ‘watermarking’. This can happen to every carpet construction be it Axminster, Wilton, Tufted, Hand Woven, Persian, Chinese, Indian or even Coir Matting. Like shading, it can be more apparent on plain carpet because heavy patterns can disguise the effects. It can occur quite quickly after installation. A large amount of research has been carried out over many years by many institutes to determine the cause of this phenomenon but none of them have proved conclusive.
There is no commonly known manufacturing process which can cause or cure this phenomenon and therefore it is not a manufacturing fault. For further information please check with individual manufacturers recommendations.
Pulled loops occur only in looped pile carpet where one or more loops in the continuous pile is pulled through the primary backing of the carpet. This is usually due to some local condition, possibly some sharp object which has caught the loop.
All cut pile carpets will loose short fibre which is created during production when spun yarn is cut for tuft formation. These fibres fall onto the surface of the pile and appear as ‘fluff’.
The effect varies with yarn type and maybe removed without detrimental effect upon the carpet by vacuum cleaning. This excess fibre is only a small fraction of the total fibre contained in the carpet.
When a carpet is subjected to a heavy point load, such as under the legs of furniture, it is unreasonable to expect the carpet not to indent. Usually, the longer the load is in place, the longer will be the time for the pile to recover. In the case of very heavy loads in place for a considerable time, the recovery time can be very considerable.
It must be remembered that is is not only the pile of the carpet that becomes indented. The underlay will also indent and the backing of the carpet may also distort into the indentation in the underlay. Some underlays will recover well and some less well depending upon their composition, thickness, density etc. The use of cups below furniture legs can spread the load and the net result is a larger area of less deeply indented carpet.
The ability of a carpet to recover from a heavy static load can be measured in the laboratory using the test method described in BS 4939 and many manufacturers will have the data on this aspect of carpet performance. In this test the carpet is loaded for 24 hours and the degree of recovery is measured after 1 hour and 24 hours. Since there are so many different underlays however, it is very rare for the recovery from a heavy static load to be evaluated on carpet and underlay.
Often normal maintenance (vacuum cleaning with a rotating brush) will speed up recovery but in the case of serious indentations the use of an iron and damp cloth or steam iron together with a blunt darning needle to carefully tease up the pile can be beneficial. Care must be taken not to overwet the carpet of course.
The samples held by individual retailers may not be from the same batch as current production and therefore should be used as a guide and not an exact colour match.