Corn Rowing a Strange Carpet Term
Corn rowing is one of those strange terms you hear when discussing problems with wall-to-wall carpet and sometimes rugs. Corn rowing is a condition that develops across the width of a carpet though it could be in either the length or width of the room depending on the direction the carpet is laid.
There is a similar appearing manufacturer related condition to corn rowing that develops in the lenghtwise direction. Corn rowing bands gives the appearance of crop or corn rows with a row of corn standing erect and the next row as if the corn was mowed down. The rows repeat giving the appearance of a field of corn, hence the name corn rowing.
According to the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) and all of the major carpet manufacturers from Shaw, Mohawk and Beaulieu and the smaller mills in between, corn rowing is not recognized as a manufacture related defect. As an end user we might think that the manufacturer should replace the carpet but the odds that they will replace a carpet for corn rowing are slim to nil.
When carpet is manufactured the tufting machine places the yarn at a set distance depending on the style of the carpet. With some carpet styles the pile yarn is tufted close together. With other styles such as shags, many high quality longer piled styles of carpet and lots of cheaper styles of carpet the tufts are farther apart. It is these styles of carpet where the tufts are further apart where you will almost always find these bands will develop in a carpet.
Once a wall to wall carpet or rug is installed in your home and as it is trafficked upon pressure is placed on the pile yarn. On a dense piled carpet the higher density holds the tufts of yarn close to each other. On a sparser construction there is not a great deal of support between the joining rows of yarn tufts and some of the tufts push over while the others remain erect and the corn rowing appearance is created. The corn rowing usually develops in the traffic areas as these are the areas that get the greatest foot traffic.
Identifying Corn Rowing
Carpet Construction: Usually has a wide stitch rate (wider distance between rows of tufts) and/or the carpet has a higher pile such as a shag or loosely constructed frieze.
Where it Develops: Corn rowing most commonly develops in the traffic lanes, at pivot areas or under doors that drag on the carpet.
More Common Causes
Vacuuming with a very aggressive vacuum or with the brush set too low on the vacuum. Brushes should be adjusted to touch the tips of the carpets pile.
Improperly installed carpet that has not been stretched tight enough.
Improper carpet pad (cushion) that is too thick or too soft. Carpet cushion should be no thicker than 7/16″ with a minimum density of 6-8 pounds.
Poor maintenance such as in frequent vacuuming or always vacuuming in the same direction.
Doors rubbing on the carpet create the corn rowing condition in kind of a pie shape.
Preventing and Correcting Corn Rowing
On longer shags and loosely constructed cut pile carpet you can regularly rake the carpet with a carpet rake that can be purchased from a janitorial supply house.
Regularly change direction when vacuuming.
Do not set the brushes on your vacuum too low, only allow them to touch the surface of the pile.
Carpet has a memory and once corn rowing sets in you may not be able to permanently correct it. Raking regularly may be the best you can do.
Manufacturer Related Corn Row Appearance
There is a similar appearing manufacturer related condition to corn rowing that can occur with cut pile carpet. This manufacturer related corn rowing is actually gauge lines. Gauge lines are fine lines that run lengthwise and always the same distance apart from 1/4″ to 2″ and they give the carpet a corduroy affect.
If your carpet develops bands a qualified inspector such as Terry Weinheimer and Terry Weinheimer of the Weinheimer Group will be able to tell you if it is site related or manufacturer related corn rowing.