Common Carpet Defects: High Lines and Low Lines in Carpet

All kinds of lines appear in carpets. You can see some as soon as the carpet is rolled out; some don’t show up for several days or weeks. Some run lengthwise, others widthwise. Some can be removed, others can’t. Below is information on high lines and low lines in carpet. Future blogs will cover other common line flaw types, such as shear streaks, stop marks, shift marks, oil streaks and pattern bowing.

Lengthwise high lines or high rows in tufted cut pile carpets show up for a couple of different reasons. Carpets are sheared during the finishing process to produce an even pile height and texture. The shearing blades are like a reel lawn mower that runs the width of the carpet. If the blades are nicked, the carpet pile running under the damaged area comes out higher than the rest of the pile. Improperly set tufting needles can insert a row or rows of yarn that are too long. This happens with both cut and loop patterns. Sometimes the final shearing for cut piles misses these high rows. Loop carpets aren’t sheared, so the high rows stay in the roll until inspection.

Although carpet rolls go through an inspection at the mill, these types of high rows are almost impossible to spot until the carpet is installed and vacuumed. Some high lines run through the entire roll and there might be multiple lines running through the roll. They are normally sheared after installation.

Low lines or low rows are caused by improperly set tufting needles that pull the face yarns lower than the surrounding pile. These short rows look like grooves in both cut pile and loop fabrics. Low lines that are only a few inches long are usually re-tufted. Otherwise, the carpet will have to be replaced.

To learn more about carpet buying, carpet care, carpet styles, carpet warranties and more, please subscribe to this blog and check out my book, All About Carpets: Everything You Need to Know.

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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2 Responses to “Common Carpet Defects: High Lines and Low Lines in Carpet”

  1. Catherine Booth says:

    Dear Glenn, We purchased a Shaw carpet a few months back and discovered that there is a “short row” that runs throughout the entire carpeting 12 X 75. Shaw send out an inspector that provided a report that is so confusing, contradicting and makes little sense – bottom line – Shaw said they would replace the carpeting in our master bedroom, but not in the Great Room – which is the room that is the largest and most noticeable short rows that run with every 12 foot width! Basically Shaw Carpeting playing weasel! (I purchased this carpeting through Lake Carpet in Madison and they are completely useless!)

    Can you recommend a couple of carpet inspectors in the Geneva, Ohio area? We are NORTHEAST OHIO just off of
    I-90 close to the Pennsylvania border. We need our own inspection and may go to Small Claims Court if Shaws does not cooperate. Thank you for your time. Catherine Booth

    • Glenn says:

      Dear Catherine,

      Thank you for contacting me. I am sorry that you are frustrated because you are unable to resolve your carpet complaint. I am an old Buckeye myself. I grew up nearby (Mayfield Heights)! I used to ski outside of Chardon.

      I have a chapter in my book titled, “Making a Claim- the Squeaky Wheel, or Effective Complaining”.

      You did not mention who inspected your carpet. One of the flooring industry’s certifying bodies is the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification. Their website, http://www.iicrc.org, allows you to search for carpet inspectors by your ZIP code and distance. I found two names:

      Andrew Fronczek 888-400-8721, ZIP 44094
      D & R Carpet Service 216-335-9751, ZIP 44131

      I suggest that you contact these inspectors. Interview them. Tell them your story. Make it clear that if you hire them, they are working for you, not the mill. You expect expertise and professionalism. Check their credentials. Ask to see past reports so that you understand how they write. (You do not want another confusing report.) They must explain the carpet condition clearly to you. They must explain to you why they think the mill may or may not replace the carpet. Remember, they only report the condition to the mill as “manufacturing related” or “not manufacturing related”. They must include clear photos of the problem in their report. The line must be visible, as stated in most warranties, “from a standing position”. If they feel that the mill is at fault, they cannot force the mill to do anything. The mill reserves the right to handle the claim as they see fit. You have the right to reject the offer. Small Claims Court is always an option, with consumers generally having an advantage over “Big Business”.

      Expect a complete carpet inspection, including photos and a written report, to cost you $200-$300.

      I am interested in your situation. I hope you resolve this situation to your satisfaction. Please let me know how things work out for you. You may contact me directly at zcarpetman@cox.net. Good luck!

      Best regards,
      Glenn Revere