Carpet backing delamination is the most serious problem that occurs with the back of a wall-to-wall carpet. Carpet backing delamination is the separation of the carpets secondary back from its primary back.
The Result of Carpet Backing Delamination
Primary and secondary back, not securely attached can separate. Once a wall-to-wall carpet has delaminated you have two separate elements. These elements consist of the primary and secondary back.
Primary back is the top layer – material the yarn was tufted through. Secondary back is later attached in the finishing process. When the backings delaminate, the carpet cannot be adequately re-stretched.
The Cause of Carpet Backing Delamination
The most common cause of carpet backing delamination is improper formulation or application of the bonding agent used to adhere the backings together. Latex adhesive is the bonding agent most commonly used. The latex adhesives have builders or fillers in them. Improperly blended or the ratios of the ingredients are out of whack, poor adhesion or breakdown can occur. Once the bond fails the primary and secondary back will fail. Commonly this type of separation is a mill defect.
Delamination of the carpet backing occurs more easily when installed over a thick or low-density cushion (pad). Due to the loss of a good support system a poor carpet pad can result in the carpets back-breaking down.
Ripples in carpet, not properly stretched during installation, can result in delamination. Walking over carpet ripples can break down the latex bonding agent resulting in delamination of the carpets back.
Failure to properly seal the seam edges particularly on loop or commercial style carpets will allow a carpet to delaminate easier than it otherwise might.
Solvent spotter over use. Especially, if directly poured onto the carpet will attack the latex bonding agent. The solvent breaks down the latex mixture, resulting in localized delamination.
High traffic over a carpet that has been over wet during cleaning. Also, carpet that has experienced water damage. Over wetting and slow dry is a major cause of backing separation. This type of delamination is often experienced when traffic is allowed to travel over the carpet while it is still wet.
Shrinking or stretching can also occur with carpet that has been over wet during cleaning or water damage. Shrinkage is common with carpets that have a natural back such as jute or cotton. Carpet with synthetic back stretch instead of shrink. Both shrinkage and stretching can lead to ripples. Walking across the ripples breaks down the backing.
Urine damage from uncontrolled pets. Also carpets installed in locations such as nursing homes where patients may be incontinent. Urine attacks the latex resulting in a breakdown of the latex bond and separation of the backing. Urine damage is usually first be observed at the carpet seams.
Break down of carpet backing from rolling carts, wheel chairs and rolling equipment. This type of backing separation is most common in the corridors of medical or commercial facilities. Also, in residential housing where an electric wheel chair is used. Where carpet is installed over a cushion that is not sufficiently firm. Over pad or direct glue where the bonding agent is not of high enough quality. Or the carpet has been wet cleaned and traffic allowed to return before it was sufficiently dry.
As you can see, there are many different causes of backing separation – delamination. If you believe that your carpet may have carpet backing delamination and need to determine the cause, contact us at
the Weinheimer Group. Terry and Kevin are carpet inspector experts serving the states of Oregon and Washington.
In a last min pinch because the 74 year old painter wouldn’t finish his ceilings i put off laying my rug..i bailed him out just to help the project progress. The day before the deadline i put my helper on site to pad and prep the house….142 yards carpet and 40 yards vinyl. When i got to the carpet house all the carpet was gone ….no pad or vinyl. ..wtf? I looked at all the junk they had…nothing good..finally i said how about some carpet wwith flaws or des. I got away with it once but the id just a rental. How much per yard 3.00, he said ok. This shit looks great but is some dynamite. In a rush and strapped for money I didn’t stop getting more I found my latex had hardened up so i didn’t seal nothing or reglue v eh k
Allen, From the way it sounds you are buying yourself problems and loosing money. Time to either upgrade your thinking, do the job right and start making money or be part of the problem and keep on loosing money when it comes to carpet installation. Perhaps you should check out the CFI – Certified Installers Association, learn the right way to do you job and start making money.
john Ridway says
Have a problem with the stair carpet which is fraying at the sides the backing is coming away from the primary backing is this a fitting problem or a manufacturing problem the carpet as been laid approx 2years And five months
John, if the carpet is lifting off the tack strip and the backing is just delaminated along the edge it is probably a fitting problem. If the backing is coming off in large areas it may be a manufacturing problem or cleaning problem. Someone with a bit of expertise would need to see it to tell for sure. Unfortunately, the warranty of most carpet manufacturers excludes stairs.
I have a 12′ x 9′ synthetic carpet remnant that has been edged. I have it sitting on a 1/2 ” thick memory foam pad, and it sits on a tile floor. I wanted the extra cushy pad for extra protection for my toddler. He recently spilled a cup of milk on it, and I thought I cleaned it well. A few days later the smell was horrible, so I rented a carpet cleaner and used Rug Doctor Oxy deep cleaner and Rug Doctor Odor Remover. I cleaned the whole carpet piece, going over the spill area many extra times. When I looked at the back, the smell was still there, and the backing is crumbling apart. After it dries, can fix this delamination? Is there something I can paint on the back?
In many areas large box stores like Home Depot and Lowes sell carpet installation supplies. What you need is carpet seaming adhesive also known as seam sealer and edge sealer. This is usually a white colored latex though some brands of sealers are more of a taffy color. Turn your rug back and using a small disposable paint brush, apply this adhesive to the delaminated area and push the backings back together. Allow to dry thoroughly before turning the carpet back or it will stick to your carpet pad.
Our living room carpet has started to delaminate. I had the fitting company out today and they said because I have had the carpet cleaned this has caused the problem.
Having read your notes on delamination, there are several causes, one of which is leaving the carpet wet after cleaning. I phoned the fitting company and I explained to them that there are several causes so how can they for certain say it’s the cleaning process. They replied by saying if it was a manufacturing problem it would have showed up in the first two years, is that correct?