It doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while carpets will look like what can best be described as “wrinkled” after a cleaning. There is no way to tell beforehand if it will happen, as it can occur with both synthetic and natural fibers. But whenever this strange occurrence does happen home owners become alarmed and fear that they will need to have their carpet professionally stretched to fix the problem. The good news is that as scary as it looks, the carpet will go back to normal all by itself.
Let’s get into why it happened in the first place.
- There are 4 main components to all carpet: the fibers you walk on, the primary backing, a latex adhesive, and a secondary backing. The latex adhesive is what keeps the other 3 parts all together, and that is what causes the dreaded wrinkling. Adhesives such as these are made in part with a kind of clay material to give the latex substance. This in turn makes the latex adhesive capable of absorbing water. This means that in particularly humid conditions or if a substantial amount of water is in to the carpet the adhesive will expand. The expansion will cause buckling, and/or the waves we’ve discussed. Now not all carpets are made the same, nor are all adhesives. Therefore some carpets may have a latex layer with more clay than usual, which is when the buckling occurs. As mentioned before there is sadly no definitive way of telling beforehand if it will happen.
- As the latex adhesive dries however, it condenses back to its normal state. Interestingly while the adhesive is weaker when wet, once it dries it is stronger than before! Something to bear in mind when dealing with this situation is the need for patience. Even if the face fibers feel dry to the touch that does not mean that the backing or adhesive is dry. Also dry time varies depending on the martial of the fibers. For example wool retains much more water than polyester, so it stands to reason that a wool carpet will take a bit longer that a synthetic carpet to completely dry out.
While it can be scary to see your carpet taking on new shapes after you’ve just payed to have it look beautiful again, I am here to assure you that it isn’t permanent. Given a little extra patience your carpet will lose the wrinkles and look as good as new.