Carpet pile reversal, also referred to as pile distortion, watermarking or, carpet pile shading.
Pile distortion is considered a common characteristic of mainly cut-pile, dense carpets. It’s very rare to find this carpet pile problem with looped pile carpets.
* The photo on the right shows the distortion of the carpet pile in action!
It happen to any wool and wool mix carpets alike.
We see this issue in many customers’ homes where the client thinks its dirty traffic lanes in the carpet. But in reality it’s a problem with the carpet fibres .
A cut pile carpet that has shading will show areas lighter or darker than the surrounding carpet pile. This variation is caused by the reflection of light from pile tufts which come to lie in different directions.
How do I know if I have pile distortion?
The problem does not appear too obvious, until you are standing on the other side of the room.
If you see what appears to be pile distortion, walk around the room and view it from different angles. If the appearance changes, i.e. going from light shading to dark shading, you know what you have – carpet pile reversal.
How to test for pile reversal
Test No1. Place a sheet of A4 paper in the area where you think the carpet pile has been distorted.
Now roll a pen across the paper with your hand. The sheet of paper will move in the direction of the pile.The paper will follow the path of least resistance.
Test No2. Now put the paper where the appearance in the carpet is different. If the paper moves in a different direction from the first test, you have proof the pile does not all lay in the same direction.
How does pile reversal shading occur?
There has been extensive research and development from carpet manufactures to minimise the incidence of pile distortion but despite this, it is not a predictable occurrence.
Here are some expert opinions about carpet pile reversal:
- It can occur in carpets made from all carpet fibre types and blends of different fibres. It can occur in any cut pile carpet or rug including hand knotted, woven, bonded, tufted, knitted or hand-made carpets and rugs. But it’s rare in loop pile carpets.
- Its manifestation will not result in premature wear of the carpet and it will have no effect on the strength or durability of the carpet.
- It has not been linked to any methods of carpet fitting/installations.
It has not been possible to isolate the specific causes responsible although air currents, floor temperature, humidity, static electricity and earth rays have all been considered as possible causes.
Can it be fixed?
Cleaning the carpet using the hot water extraction method along with pile grooming using a carpet rake can help the appearance, but consider this characteristic problem to be permanent.
If you would like to try out carpet cleaning service and are based in Edinburgh, Why not give DirtMaster a call today on 0131 556 3367. We are able to give you free advice on the phone about all your carpet and upholstery cleaning needs and we can arrange a free, no obligation quote at a time that suits you.
* Below you will find two more photos of pile reversal in more detail. Like all our photos, We took these photos from actual carpet cleaning clients in Edinburgh! As you can see, it can happen in rugs as well as carpets. Click on the images to make them larger.