Corn rowing of wall-to-wall carpet sounds a bit strange. When you inspect, or look at a wall to wall carpet with cornrowing it is indeed odd appearing with bands or rows that are high and low.
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. It develops across the width of a carpet. Corn rowing could be in either the length or width of the room. The appearance depends on the direction the carpet is laid. Gauge lines is a similar appearing manufacturer related condition to corn rowing that develops in the carpets lengthwise direction.
Corn rowing bands gives the appearance of a corn crop with one row standing erect and the next row mowed down. The rows repeat giving the appearance of a field of corn, hence the name corn rowing.
The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI), most small and all large carpet manufacturers including Shaw, Mohawk and Beaulieu do not recognize corn rowing as a manufacture related defect. As an end user, we think the manufacturer should replace the carpet. The odds that they will replace a carpet for corn rowing are slim to nil.
Why Carpets Corn Row
When carpet is manufactured, the tufting machine places the yarn at a set distance. With some carpet styles the pile yarn is tufted close together. With other styles, such as shags and longer piled styles the tufts are often farther apart. The styles of carpet where the tufts are further apart is where you will usually find corn rowing bands developing 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 cornrowing 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, regularly rake with a carpet rake. Carpet rakes (groomers) 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 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 Kevin Weinheimer and Terry Weinheimer of the Weinheimer Group will be able to tell you if it is site related or manufacturer related corn rowing.