Why is My New Carpet Turning Different Shades?
There are many types of carpet shading complaints. Carpet shading is a localized alteration in the orientation of the pile. Shading occurs as the result of randomness in pile lay direction. Shading will be seen on both wall to wall carpets and rugs. The physical cause of shading is due to the difference between light reflection from the greater surface area of the side of the bent fibers, which appear lighter in color, compared to the greater light absorption and darker appearance of the more vertically oriented fibers.
As a result of this change in light reflection a carpet will often take on an appearance as if a portion of the carpet has changed in hue. When inspection lighting is applied over the shaded area, no actual change will be seen. Carpet shading can occur as temporary carpet shading, tracking, or pile reversal defined as follows:
Carpet shading is a normal characteristic of cut pile carpets, especially those with a smooth pile such as velvets and saxony plush. Carpet shading is considered an aesthetic quality of fine carpet and is not considered a defect. Shading is caused by light reflecting differently off of tufts that bend differently from footprints, vacuuming, etc.
A person that finds carpet shading objectionable should select a carpet with a denser construction, lower pile height, textured yarn. Examples would be textured saxony, frieze, and berber.
Carpet Shading is identified by areas that appear lighter or darker depending upon the direction they are viewed from. Brushing the pile with the hand will result in a change of shade.
Temporary Carpet Shading
A reversible, localized change in orientation of a carpets pile. Temporary shading is often described as a normal characteristic of certain cut pile textile floor covering.
A gradual change in appearance of a carpet from the edge to middle of a narrow band caused by repeated walking over the same area which may result in a localized change in pile orientation and may be irreversible
These are shading marks left by humans and animals walking across the carpet. They may be noticeable for a few minutes or a few days depending upon the texture and resiliency of the fiber. Most deep-pile and smooth pile carpets will show footprints.
Vacuum Cleaner Marks
These are shading marks left by the brush and/or wheels of the vacuum cleaner. They may be noticeable for a few minutes or a few days depending upon the texture and resiliency of the fiber. Most deep-pile and smooth pile carpets will show vacuum cleaner marks
Pile Reversal (Watermarking, Pooling)
An irreversible, localized change in orientation of a carpets pile. The phenomenon has different names in different countries
Over time, areas of carpet may look as though someone has spilled water on various sections of the carpet, hence, “water marking.” Other names to describe the phenomenon include “pooling” and “highlighting.
Common Identifying Characteristics: Areas of carpet may look as though someone has spilled water on various sections of the carpet, hence the term water marking. Areas reverse in shade when viewed from opposite directions. Shade will appear to change when brushing with the hand. At the interfaces (edge of perceived change), the pile on either side will be strongly oriented in opposite directions. Conspicuous, irregularly shaped serpentine lines or “interfaces” will generally be located in or immediately adjacent to traffic paths. The traffic pattern may not precisely follow the flow of traffic, but will appear to waver randomly throughout the trafficked pile.
Type of Claim: While water marking may give a highly objectionable appearance it is considered a characteristic and not a defect. Replacing the carpet with a similar carpet of any fiber will likely develop in the same condition within a few months. The causes of this form of pile reversal have not been conclusively determined. Because it occurs almost exclusively in and immediately adjacent to trafficked areas, traffic appears to be a significant contributing factor; however, several environmental factors, e.g. static electricity, electromagnetic fields have also been advanced as possible contributing factors.
The Carpet and Rug Institute in its manual titled Pile Reversal (“Shading”, “Water Marking”), states……the only conclusion which can be drawn is that pile reversal may develop on the surface of some carpet after it is installed, and that pile reversal is not due to the materials which are used to produce the carpet, the manufacturing process, or any combination of these factors.