Earlier this year, in Why Save Carpet Scraps From Your Installation, Annette Smith explained why holding onto scraps from your carpet installation makes sense. That post generated thoughtful comments from Chris Howell-Colorful Carpets Certified Dye Master about the benefits of re-dyeing carpet rather than trying to repair with a carpet patch.
I discussed the matter with Annette. She sees all kinds of carpet care and maintenance situations - including carpet repair questions - in her role with the Wear-Dated warranty service area. Her reaction: "He makes a good point about re-dyeing being a solution when something has taken the color out of the carpet as long as whatever has come in contact with the carpet has not degraded the fibers."
However, she pointed out that she has encountered several situations when re-dyeing was not an option and offered the two photos below to help illustrate these situations.
This first image represents a quarter-sized portion of carpet without fiber tufts. [To the right of the white towel], you'll notice a bald section in the carpet. The fiber tufts are gone and what is left is the backing scrim.
[According to the independent inspector who personally inspected this situation, some kind of chemical substance must have come in contact with the carpet and 'eaten away' or melted the backing substance. The consumer had kept the tufts that came out of the carpet in a baggie and when viewed under UV light they illuminated - indicating the presence of a chemical substance. He also performed a tuft bind test on the tufts around the area of tuft loss which indicated that the carpet was not defective.]
In a case like this, the best solution is a repair patch with a matching carpet style scrap.
Now, as Chris Howell points out in his comments, a patch may stand out especially if the carpet was installed a while back and in a high traffic area which would -over time- cause the texture to change. However, as a consumer, you may decide that patching the bald spot is a better solution than replacing the entire carpet.
The second photo captures an extreme case of pet damage to a carpet. [Note that this represents a loop construction which is not recommended for a household with pets, especially dogs. The reason: their nails can get caught in the loops and pull the loops out of the backing, eventually leading to this kind of situation.] In this case, a cat - who used the carpet as its litter box - damaged the carpet. The carpet was only about a year old and the cat had damaged more than one area.
Not a pretty picture.
Annette explains that an important aspect of the conversations the Wear-Dated warranty service center has with consumers is to explain what options they have available to deal with carpet situations.
In many cases, it's not about the warranty, but rather what the range of options are between doing nothing and ripping the carpet out. Although a patch may stand out in terms of color variation and texture differences, it may represent an acceptable solution.
For particularly difficult carpet maintenance questions, Annette says that we generally advise consumers to contact a company that specializes in repairs to find out what all their options are. The first step is to visit the IICRC and find a certified carpet repair resource.
I encourage you to read the original post and comments. I've recaptured here Chris' check list of questions to consider when seeking a carpet dyeing professional:
• Is carpet dyeing the main focus of their business?
• Do they have Certified Dye Technicians who will be performing the work?
• What kind of training and credentials does their technical staff have?
• Are the dyes guaranteed to be permanent and colorfast for the life of the carpet?
• Will the dyes leave any kind of residue?
• Do they have a portfolio of letters of reference and endorsements?
• Are Materials Safety Data Sheets available for inspection to prove non-toxicity of their solutions?
• Do they use liquid dyes as opposed to powder dyes? (Liquid dyes do not leave a powdery residue behind)
• Are they willing to guarantee that newly dyed carpet will have even coloration?
• Are they willing to provide a written guarantee to attest to the results and the quality of their work?
• Are they able to achieve perfect color matching?
So, hold onto carpet scraps; you never know when you might need them for a carpet patch repair. If you decide to redye your carpet, be sure to ask the kinds of questions that Chris shares.
The final word from Annette's Carpet Corner is to determine what all of your options are. What's right for one person, may not be right for another. Be sure, too, to visit the IICRC to find certified carpet repair resources.
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