photo 1
It was two-and-a-half years after the installation had been completed when Mrs. Lane called the retailer with a complaint about her vinyl floor. A “pinkish discoloration in a couple of areas,” is how she described the problem to the retailer.

The retailer came out but, after inspecting the floor covering, could not ascertain the proximate cause of the discoloration. He requested that a manufacturer’s representative examine the problem first hand. Unfortunately, the rep was also unable to nail down the cause, and soon after an independent inspector was brought into the fold.

photo 2
This is what the inspector saw(photos 1, 2, 3). Now, the first thing you need to do is ask yourself: Is the rosy coloration coming from the bottom-up, or is this a top-down problem? Can you guess the cause of the discoloration?

I’ll give you a couple of clues. The discoloration is only in the heavy-traffic lanes, and all attempts to remove it with a stripping agent failed. So I ask you, what is the direct cause of the discoloration, and whom do you think is responsible for it?

You Make the Call!

photo 3
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and if the space had been available, I would write an explanation of both the cause and effect for every situation that I have covered in the past.

photo 4
But one of the most important aspects of this column is to get people to open their eyes and invoke a thought process that, hopefully, will help them in the future when they are confronted with the problem-solving situations involving claims that everyone faces in this industry.

After looking at photo 4, do you now know what the cause of the discoloration is? The dye in the red carpet is walking off onto the surface of the vinyl.

Now, some of you will say, “That’s a crock! I’ve never heard of that happening!” Believe it or not, you are correct; it is a crock. It is a crocking situation. The word crocking is defined as: a term used to describe excess color rubbing off as a result of improper dye penetration, fixation, or selection.

So now, let’s ask some more questions. How old is the carpet? How often, and with what method, has the carpet been cleaned and maintained? Mrs. Lane could not believe that her carpet was the cause of this problem, as the 15-year-old vinyl floor that her new floor replaced had never shown any signs of the discoloration.

As it turned out, her previous floor covering was a red brick-pattern vinyl. An awful lot of pink would have to be crocked to overcome that dark-red base color. It was almost certainly there, it was just not as noticeable on the dark-red background as it is on the new, white background.

Proper maintenance of the vinyl may have helped prevent the problem. A dressing or finish would have impeded the dye’s ability to permanently affix itself to the vinyl surface. But what about other adjacent floor coverings? Can crocking occur from one carpet to another? You bet it can! So how did this one get written up?

“The cause of the discoloration in the vinyl floor covering is a site-related condition due to the crocking from an adjacent carpet.”