Delamination of Carpet

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Carpet delamination occurs when the backing layers of the material separate from one another due to improper installation, manufacturing defects or poor maintenance. This separation can have a dramatic impact on the appearance of your carpet, resulting in wrinkles, seam separation and even ugly rips. Learn the causes of delamination to help prevent separation and keep your carpet looking its best.

How Delamination Works

  • To understand how delamination works, it's helpful to understand how manufacturers construct the average carpet. Carpet manufacturers insert tufts, loops of piles of fabric, into a primary backing layer, which typically consists of jute, cotton or polypropylene. Next, they bond this primary backing layer to a secondary backing layer made from jute or polypropylene using synthetic rubber latex. The primary backing holds the fibers in place, while the secondary backing adds dimensional stability to the carpet. Delamination occurs when the primary and secondary layers separate from one another during manufacturing, installation or after installation.

Preinstallation Delamination

  • Delamination often starts during the manufacturing process, when producers fail to correctly bond the backing layers. This may occur when the wrong type of latex is applied or the latex is applied incorrectly, causing what is known as a mill defect. Installers who spot this defect can repair the delamination by using latex to reattach the backing layer, or cutting away the loose backing and replacing with a manufacturer-approved seam tape. Installing a cushion or pad below the carpet that's thicker than recommended can also lead to delamination, as can lining up the seams of the carpet with the seams of the padding below. Finally, poor seam-sealing techniques during installation may also cause delamination.

Post-Installation Causes

  • Even carpet installed by professional installers can suffer from delamination if you fail to maintain it properly or subject it to heavy abuse. Direct application of solvents may weaken the bond between layers, while moisture or pet urine left on the carpet may also lead to delamination. In addition, heavy traffic or moving heavy equipment results in delamintion, especially when carpets are already weak due to wetness, solvents or other causes.

Prevention and Repairs

  • To prevent delamination, hire a skilled installer and ensure he follows all manufacturer recommendations in terms of cushion, seam sealing and installation techniques. Keep carpet dry and minimize use of solvents. In heavy-traffic areas or for floors subject to heavy use, consider a carpet with a high delamination strength rating. The average carpet can withstand 2.5 pounds of force per square inch, according to the Carpet and Rug Institute. Choose a carpet with a higher rating to reduce your risk of delamination.

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