Carpet Problems: The Difference Between Crushing and Matting

Crushing and matting are two common problems that are easy to confuse. Crushing is the flattening down of face yarns through normal use, especially with cut pile carpets. Carpeted traffic areas like hallways typically show crushing. An area directly in front of furniture, such as a chair facing the TV, will crush. When the carpet is vacuumed, the pile should stand up again. It is normal for the tip of the tuft to open. This is called blossoming or blooming.

Matting is more noticeable. It occurs when the tips of cut pile yarns untwist and fray, then get tangled with neighboring tufts. If the tufts untwist one-third of their length or more, and if the affected carpet is widespread and not a confined area subject to unusual usage, the carpet is generally considered defective if it is less than a year old.

Matting and untwisting happen because the heat-set of the yarn is weak. Plied yarns are put through a process that crimps the yarns, twists them, and then permanently sets the twist into the yarns. It is similar to a permanent wave for your hair. If the permanent doesn’t “take,” the curl won’t stay in. If the heat-set is bad the twist will not remain in the yarns, either, and the carpet will pack down, looking old and worn.

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Who is Glenn Revere?

Glenn Revere has been a carpet expert since 1973. He’s a certified flooring inspector and the author of All About Carpets, the only book written to protect and inform you about your carpet choices, from carpet buying and carpet warranties to carpet care and maintenance. You can find him on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

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