The certified carpet inspector, experts from the Weinheimer Group are often called upon for carpet wear testing and to evaluate wear on installed carpet installations. When arriving at a site we often hear the statement, “My carpet is wearing out.” It is possible that it is wearing out though more than likely the carpet is experiencing “Ugly Out.” With ugly out the carpet is worn out as far as appearance but not as far as actual wear the way it is interpreted by the carpet industry.
Today most carpets are manufactured with synthetic yarns. Synthetic yarns are nearly impossible to “wear out” when wear is based on the standards set forth in the warranties of most every carpet and yarn manufacturer. Manufacturers wear warranties for the most part protect the manufacturer and not the consumer. These warranties will usually only cover abrasive wear with most of them calling for a number such as a 10% loss of fiber as a result of “abrasive wear.” Abrasive wear caused by foot traffic. The warranty will probably say something like this, “This carpet will not experience fiber Loss from Abrasive Wear Caused by Foot Traffic (as hereinafter defined) by more than 10% in any area except stairs. “Fiber Loss from Abrasive Wear” is defined as actual loss of fiber, due to abrasion, from the surface pile of the carpet and does not include damages caused by or resulting in matting, crushing or “watermarking.”
In this article we are limiting carpet wear testing to that performed in the laboratory by companies such as Independent Textile Testing and Professional Testing Labs. In other articles we will discuss onsite testing.
Carpet Wear Testing in the Laboratory Surface Appearance Changes in Pile Yarn Floor Covering:
ASTM D5252 Hexapod Drum Tester is a 12″ diameter-rotating drum that new carpet specimens are placed in for carpet wear testing. The samples are subjected to a metal ball with six attached polyurethane cleats or studs to simulate traffic.
ASTM D 5417 Vetterman Drum Tester is a 28.75″ diameter-rotating drum that carpet samples of similar pile height are placed into. A 16-pound ball with polyurethane studs tumbles inside the drum to simulate traffic and wear.
ASTM D 6119 Foot Traffic is a method of testing that creates surface appearance changes in carpet from foot traffic. Using a normal walking pace without scuffing, individuals walk across the specimens, which have been arranged in a particular walking path. Foot traffic units are calculated either by photoelectric or hand held manual counting devices.
Carpet wear testing in the laboratory for surface appearance change, 20,000 foot traffic units is the recommended standard for household applications. ASTM D 6119 – 97 section 10.1
Section 1.2 states, “This practice is applicable to most changes in surface appearance observed in all types of carpet that are intended for residential or commercial use. It eliminates change in appearance associated with soiling by focusing on appearance change due to matting, flattening, or change in pile fiber configuration. Although “pile reversal” or “watermarking” is occasionally visible, this practice is not a reliable method for producing this phenomenon.”
During controlled carpet wear testing the carpet is vacuumed every 1000 foot traffic units using a dual motor, top-loading, upright vacuum cleaner with a rotating brush.
When evaluating an actual installation onsite we are not dealing with controlled laboratory conditions. Therefore it is important for us to obtain information that will help us to evaluate the conditions.
Description of the area
Number of individuals that reside in the residence or in a commercial situation the number of individuals that are normally in the area on a given day.
Frequency of vacuuming
Type and condition of vacuum
Maintenance other than vacuuming