A brief outline of how a wilton carpet is made.
The most common types of wilton looms in use today are wire wilton and face to face wilton. In all wilton weaves the pile is part of the warp and is lifted into the face as pile when required to produce the carpet pattern. When yarn is not in use forming the pattern it runs ‘dead’ in the backing. This was often referred to as the hidden quality of the wilton.
After the raw materials were received at the factory they are assessed for quality and tested in the laboratory to ensure continuity of quality within the relevant present European Standards.
The carpet is then woven to designs the same as those seen in the current pattern samples held by carpet retailers. The carpet is manufactured to a tolerance of +15% -7.5% of the relevant standard. During the weaving process stringent checks, including testing in the laboratory are made to ensure it meets all these specifications. After the carpet is woven it is then passed to the mending department for hand finishing. It is here that areas of missing tufts and pattern faults etc are corrected by hand as has been the case in all woven products since there inception.
Once the carpet has passed through this stringent checking and mending it is passed onto the finishing plant where the carpet receives a coating of latex on the back of the carpet to increase its stability, fray resistance and improve the tuft retention quality of the material. The carpet passes through a drying oven to cure the latex and is then sheared level ( unless a loop pile product is being produced ) in a process not unlike cutting grass with a lawn mower. The shearing process is very sophisticated but this provides the level finish demanded of the modern wilton patterns with velvet like finish.
After cropping level the carpet receives a final close inspection and grading before it is dispatched. Manufacturers endeavour to produce a perfect carpet but occasionally despite stringent checks a small percentage of carpets get through. In these rare cases it is normal to correct the product on site in the same way as would have been done if we had found it in the factory. If the product cannot be refinished then it would normally be replaced or to reach an agreement on an allowance.
Expected or common carpet characteristics.
These are caused when the carpet is rolled up and stored and appear as stripes across the width of the carpet. Often they look dark from one side and light from the other side when viewed along the length of the carpet. In nearly all cases the carpet pile will recover providing it is vacuumed daily from new. This can be helped with steaming the pile if recovery is required more quickly. If the pressure banding occurred in the delivery from the shop it usually comes out within three weeks. If the pressure was from more prolonged storage it can take 3 months or more to recover. In all cases of pile pressure bands it should be reported to the retailer because claims made after 3 weeks for this will not be accepted by the manufacturer.
The current consumer demand for plainer carpets in high qualities leads to a characteristic called shading becoming more prominent. Certain colours are more prone to showing this than others but all carpet piles will settle out unevenly in normal usage. This has always been the case except that today the more velvet finishes in plainer designs allow this to be seen more easily. This effect can lead to patches visibly not unlike watermarking showing in the carpet which will not vacuum out. This permanent form of shading is often referred to as pile reversal. In the case of pile reversal it is only possible to realign the pile with steam or warm water extraction methods rather like restyling hair. Shading is not accepted as a fault in manufacture and tends to occur in the early stages of the carpets life as the pile settles out in usage. We recommend regular vacuuming from the day the carpet is fitted preferably with an upright vacuum cleaner. The carpet pile is most likely to keep a more uniform alignment if it is vacuumed in the direction with the pile.
Shedding ( initial fibre loss ).
The level of fibre loss is often a great concern to consumers but this is sometimes as high as 5% of the physical weight of the pile left in the carpet after cropping. It is the cropping process which produces most of the initial fibre loss so you are removing waste fibre out of the carpet, not an intended part of the carpet. If the carpet is vacuumed often most of the fibre loss seen in the vacuum cleaner will lessen in 3 – 6 months. In a few extreme cases where the vacuum is inefficient or a lack of effective vacuuming takes place shedding can continue for much longer. There is no time limit on shedding because so many different factors can influence how long it will take to settle.
Pilling can occur when the loose fibre in the carpet is not removed with vacuuming efficiently from new. Balls of fibre become attached to the nylon content of the yarn which is then difficult to remove. We receive most of this type of complaint when a cylinder vacuum cleaner is used so swapping to an upright vacuum cleaner with a brush action can often help. Pilling can be removed without detriment using an electric razor or professionally with a hand cropping machine to restore the finish to the carpet.
Rapid colour change.
The modern carpet uses pale or more pastel shades in the pattern. When the carpet is woven the pile is more upright which allows the gaps between the fibres in the pile, which is shadow, to give the illusion the carpet is darker than it really is. Since all carpet pile flattens in usage a rapid colour change can be observed when the sides of the pile become more evident when flattened. This gives the illusion of fading and is most evident when a single colour is used in the background, very little pattern or patterns with a close colour range are used in the design. Consumer demand today is for plainer carpets whereas the axminster of the past was a heavy pattern in dark bold colours which camouflaged these effects in usage. Daily vacuuming and regular repositioning of furniture can help both minimise and equalise the appearance change in the carpet.
Fading due to the effects of UV (ultra violet) spectrum of light occurs 365 days of the year irrespective of whether you can see the sun or not. UV penetrates through cloud and over the last decade has produces a higher percentage of actual fading on all types of carpet. This is contributed to when south facing or low level widows are used such as patio doors. A combination of heat and light leads to a more rapid breakdown of the dyestuffs. Despite the use of high quality modern dyes there is no 100% colour fastness when dying natural products.
Variation from pattern sample.
Carpets are made to conform to all current necessary European Standards. These allow for variations to the specification and manufacturers produce carpets to fall within these tolerances. Because natural materials such as wool and jute are often used they vary from batch to batch despite any care we take to ensure a reasonable continuity. This means that the carpet you choose from the pattern sample is a representation of what you will receive but it is not exactly 100% the same as what you will receive. The shade may vary, or it may feel a little harder or softer. The surface may look slightly rougher or smoother. These are normal manufacturing variations which have always occurred but now tend to show more easily with plainer products. Carpets are generally tested in the factory to ensure that they all meet the requirements for wearability etc.
It is usual for carpets to have an odour after installation. This normally disappears after a few days but on rare occasions it can take many weeks particularly if the room is poorly ventilated or little used. Carpets are made up of different materials which once assembled are dried in an oven and then packaged in polythene. These materials can combine to produce an odour which sensitive noses sometimes find unpleasant once the packaged carpet is installed. Odour is not normally accepted as a fault.
Soiling and staining.
These are conditions beyond the control of the manufacturer and no care on our part can prevent this. The use of outdoor shoes will increase the level of soiling as do pets and walking directly off smooth floorcoverings onto carpets. Regular daily vacuuming, going more slowly over the carpet pile with an upright vacuum cleaner in the most heavily trafficked areas will be beneficial to the carpet. This helps keep the pile aligned and removes both cropping waste and prevents abrasive grit from becoming embedded into the pile.
If the carpet becomes soiled professional cleaning is recommended. If spillages occur it is important to blot liquids or scrape up solids immediately. This should be followed up by rinsing off the spillage with cold or tepid water. The use of a hand trigger spray bottle is most helpful in this respect because no rubbing should be made against the pile surface when cleaning. Only a spray of water followed by a blotting technique to thoroughly rinse out the spillage should be employed initially. Most stains occur when the spillage is not rinsed out. It then dries onto the surface in the process of evaporation if not removed in cleaning. Drying the carpet after cleaning up a spillage with a hair dryer on a warm but not hot setting is a useful way of speeding up the drying process. This also helps prevent colour run from prolonged wetting. If water does not rinse off the spillage more professional cleaning techniques need to be employed.
Sprouting tufts occur either in manufacture when the tufts become looped over on one leg of a normally level ‘U’ shaped tuft or when they pull over instead of being cut during cropping. There are millions of individual tufts in an average size lounge carpet. It is inevitable that some of these will be missed in the finishing process and they only show up when the carpet is vacuumed. If there are only a few longer tufts they can be safely trimmed level with the surrounding pile surface using scissors. In rare cases many sprouting tufts occur and these can be made level with a special machine the industry uses called a hand cropping machine. It returns the sprouting tufts to level normal tufts making the carpet perfect once again. In these rare extreme cases of sprouting it is beneficial to wait at least 3 months for all the sprouting tufts to have lifted up with regular vacuuming before machine cropping on site.
Berber blend lines.
If berber yarns are used in the pattern to produce a random fleck effect it is common for spools containing a higher balance of darker or lighter fibre to show as lines in the carpet. This is inherent in the nature of berber yarns and is not accepted as a fault. This effect is not often spotted in a pattern sample but is more easily seen in larger areas such as when installed.
Small lines in both the length of the carpet and across the width often show in daylight. Since the trend toward plainer carpets allows for small variations in manufacture to show more easily it is inevitable that more of these small differences can show. It is usual for these small lines to improve in appearance or to walk out in usage where consolidation of the pile evens up the pile surface. The wear potential of the carpet will not be affected by this.
If the room is used every day regular daily vacuuming with an upright vacuum using a beater brush bar is recommended on all cut pile carpets. Vacuum the carpet in the direction which leaves the pile lying down. This is best achieved by facing the pile direction. Stairs are best vacuumed daily for the first three months using a suction attachment on the vacuum in a direction following down the stairs to keep the pile aligned and to avoid matting on the nosing caused by a change in the pile direction. The best technique is to vacuum slowly in the more heavily used areas to allow the vacuum to work more efficiently. The vacuum should be emptied before the waste fluff build up ( which is to be expected on new carpets ) blocks the suction tubes. On loop pile carpets most manufacturers recommend using a cylinder type vacuum with a suction tool which glides easily over the pile surface and has no brushes or Velcro strip to rub harshly across the pile surface. The label on the pattern sample or the retailer should be consulted regarding which vacuum cleaner to use.
Carpets tend to wear most rapidly in front of chairs ( particularly where men sit with their legs extended ) due to heel abrasion concentrated in one area. The stair nosing will also wear without regular repositioning. It is recommended that stairs be moved after 6 months one step to equalise the colour and every year thereafter. If winders are present or the carpet is not fitted to allow for movement it is recommended that sufficient extra material is purchased to facilitate movement or to replace worn areas in the future.
Wear to expose the backing on the nosings can be as rapid as 6 months on some 100% wool pile carpets. The use of trainers or similar soled footwear can promote rapid wear. The use of a good quality underlay cannot be overstressed on the stairs. It is the most important area of the house to use a high quality underlay to cushion the action underfoot when using the stairs. As previously mentioned regular movement to spread the loading on the nosings is recommended. Another common complaint is where the toe and heel ( particularly the heel ) catches the riser when negotiating the stairs and tufts are pulled out by the sideways shear force exerted against the pile. The lip formed by the gripperod often makes this much easier to occur.
Pattern Bowing and pattern repeat variation:
Most manufacturers work to an acceptable distortion of 1.25% with a maximum of 5 cm over 4 meters. This is usually regarded as the most that a fitter can recover in a normal domestic location. Pattern bowing occurs most commonly in the backing plant when the latex is applied. However distortions in weaving can occur due to over tensioning the weft, inaccurate or worn reed beat up and tension variations in the warp - mainly on warp beam.
The carpet is guaranteed on the understanding that it is sold and installed by the retailer in accordance with BS: 5325. It is the responsibility of the fitter to check that the material is free from visible damage, soiling or other damage arising from poor handling of materials prior to his receipt of the goods. It is expected that a reasonable check be made prior to cutting the carpet to ensure there are no obvious faults. IF THERE IS ANY VISIBLE DAMAGE OR NOTICEABLE FAULTS PRESENT THIS PRODUCT MUST NOT BE FITTED. – seek the advice of the factory before proceeding.
Common manufacturing faults:
Amongst the more common faults are missing tufts, slubs or knots in the backing, wrong colours which are often the ‘dead yarn’ rising to the pile surface, pattern faults, low uncut loops. Lines of taller and lower pile often occur in weaving. up with our high standards of service, we need a little more time. Please stop by again. Thank you for your interest!
Wheelchair use can often lead to a rapid wear when turning through 90 deg, such as in some doorways
Wear is concentrated on the inside wheel which exerts a shear force that tears at the carpet pile. If an wilton carpet is to be fitted in a wool rich pile a minimum of 9 pitch ( 9 tufts along the length ) should be considered to give reasonable wear. Generally low pile height and a high surface pile mass is desireable for appearance retention and good durability. However we would recommend synthetic piles as being more durable. The most successful carpets for wheelchair use are low pile, high density loops in 100% synthetic pile.
To achieve maximum wear repeated turning areas should be avoided wherever possible. Placement of furniture to avoid 90 deg turns is recommended. When an electric chair is used to make 3 point turns wear is rapid when reverse to forward motion is employed.