A well-known, oft-frequented sports bar situated near the university football stadium in AnyTown, U.S.A., is the scene of the crime. Eight months after the installation of a 28-to-32-ounce loop pile, 100% olefin, action-backed, direct-glued carpet, the bar owner wants to know why the carpet has changed colors. This is not an unusual scenario to encounter in the floor covering installation industry.

Photo 1
The installation company takes the position that it is a dye-stabilization problem; the retailer concurs. When an independent inspector was brought in, this is what he saw:

  • Photo 1 is the general layout of the establishment.

    Photo 2
  • Photo 2 is the food service route, entering the main floor via the kitchen.

    Photo 3
  • Photo 3 is a continuation of the servers’ traffic pattern.

    Photo 4
  • Photo 4 is an example of the stains found throughout the establishment.

    Photo 5
  • Photo 5 shows a rectangular sample of how the carpet looked when it was first installed.

    The inspection was done after the conclusion of the football season. So, what is your first impression? Can a conclusion be reached based on what can be seen here? Who is responsible for the carpet changing colors?

    You make the call!

    Photo 6
    Photo 6 shows the areas where the carpet was agitated with a bone scraper (neutral pH) and water. Yes, the light-colored spots were caused by water. No cleaning agents, just water. The questions that should now be asked are “What kind of maintenance has been performed on the carpet?” followed by “How often is the maintenance performed?”

    Care to take a stab at it? Try “Nothing” and “Never.” The carpet was treated to a simple vacuuming every day, and that is it. And while this may get some of you laughing, it happens more often than you think.

    What other factors might have negatively affected the carpet? Look closely at the photos; what is missing at the entryways? Besides a lack of regular maintenance, there is no preventive maintenance being performed. In this case, there are no walk-off mats at either the main entrance or the kitchen entrance. While it is impossible to keep all the grease in the kitchen, a walk-off mat will do wonders in slowing it down. The same goes for the main entrance, where a mat would help lower the amount of soil and debris being brought in from outside.

    Deciding which cleaning method is best employed to rectify this situation is the next step, but that is another story for another day. Suffice it to say that using the system recommended by the manufacturer is always the best course of action.

    And action is just what this carpet needs.