Many consumers know that carpet looks its best during the first few years, typically. I have written in previous articles about the importance of regular vacuuming, and regular professional carpet cleaning by an IICRC certified firm.
With regard to the ripples that carpet sometimes develops over time, that can be caused by several things. Most wall-to-wall carpet has what is known as “action-back” on the back side. It is made of two plastic mesh pieces, glued together. They are called the primary and secondary backings. Sometimes that backing simply stretches out with traffic and use. Sometimes those ripples can be inherent to the carpet itself, that is to say; a product problem. It simply tends to stretch out over time and needs to be re-stretched. Soft-back carpet costs more but has less instances of unnatural stretching.
Another cause is poor installation in which the carpet installers did not stretch the carpet in with a tool called a “power stretcher.” To avoid this, always buy carpeting from a reputable, local dealer.
Sometimes, the stretching has been caused by “de-lamination.” De-lamination is where the primary and secondary backing have separated and the adhesive has come apart. This can be caused by flooding (water damage), or sometimes by carpet cleaning done by an amateur or uneducated cleaning professional. To avoid this, always hire a cleaning firm who is currently an “IICRC Certified Firm.”
And finally, sometimes action back carpet can get temporary ripples in it directly after a carpet cleaning job. These are caused by the adhesive in the primary and secondary backings being too absorbent, and they swell up temporarily. As long as the carpet cleaning professional has followed industry standards and has good equipment, and the carpet was never over-wetted, this will correct itself in 72 hours.
How to Correct Rippling
To correct this, the carpet must be re-stretched with a power stretcher or, in a small room, a knee-kicker tool will suffice. Do not try this yourself, hire a professional. Your trusted local carpet cleaning firm can do this for you, and in many cases restore the look of your carpet so that you can get more years out of it.
So, to summarize, do the following to ensure that your installed carpet will last years and always look great:
Implement regular vacuuming, and hire regular professional carpet cleaning by an IICRC certified firm at least every 12-18 months. If you have pets, more frequent professional cleaning may be necessary.
Always buy carpeting from a reputable, local dealer. Make sure they have a good longstanding relationship with the installer and a guarantee on installation for at least one year. Also, soft-back carpet costs more but has less instances of unnatural stretching.