Carpet Discoloration: Heat Damaged Carpet Seams

discolored carpet seam | Glenn Revere

Making tufted carpet is complicated. Several steps in the process use heat. Some of those steps include twisting yarn, dyeing yarn, and curing the carpet backings. So heat and carpet is a good combination, right? Well, not always.

Heat can also damage carpet, as today’s Flooring Inspection Safari illustrates:

A high quality nylon carpet was installed in a second story condo. Approximately 18-24 months after the installation, the renter noticed the carpet was fading from tan to pink along the seams! The carpet had not been cleaned yet. The renter, acting on the owner’s behalf, turned in a claim. I was asked to inspect the job for the manufacturer. As always, I looked at the overall installation to make sure it mets industry quality standards. I have duplicated the main portion of my inspection report here. It explains my findings:

Overall, the carpet is clean and well maintained. The carpet yarns have a noticeable pink discoloration in bands 6” wide directly over the seaming tape along the side seam formed by the 18″ fill in the living room, the side seam between the living/dining rooms, and the side seam between the hall/bedroom-office. The discoloration extends to the carpet backing and is noticeable under the living room sofa. The unsealed seams are flat and well butted.

The carpet is loose overall. When I disengaged the carpet from the tack strip to check the underlayment, I noticed the carpet was barely attached to the pins. When I examined the back of the carpet, I saw that the pins had barely penetrated the carpet backing. Elongated pin marks, indicative of a power stretch, were absent.

I used a 5X lighted magnifier, with both white and UV light, to examine the affected areas. The discolored carpet yarns looked the same under both types of light.


Flooring and Textile Seminars of America “Carpet Installation Problems” states: Heat can be a major problem to the installer when installing carpet…. Heat can cause…carpet…to change color.”

The Carpet Book Claims Guide states: “Seam Overheated: This can occur when the seam iron is set at too high of a temperature or moved along the seam too slowly. Seam overheating can also occur if a metal tray is used to weight the seam down during seam construction. Seam overheating is the installer’s responsibility.”

The XXX Residential Carpet Warranty states ”…the warranty is in effect only if the carpet is installed in an owner-occupied residence.”
This carpet is installed in a rental condo. The condition is installation related.

Glenn Revere IICRC #113098

There was definitely a problem with the carpet. The carpet dye had been overheated during the installation process. The color had gradually broken down over time. The problem was related to the installation, so the installers — amateurs for sure — were “on the hook.” Even if the problem happened to be mill related, the mill could have denied the claim because the warranty is only valid in an “owner-occupied residence.”

There are two lessons here:

  1. Read the fine print on your warranties!
  2. Have your flooring installed by Certified Installers. It may take some effort to find Certified Installers, but you will be happy with their professionalism.

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 FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.


Photo: Glenn Revere

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