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Carpet Construction: Tufting
Tufting is a common method for constructing commercial and residential carpet. In this method a “tuft” or small bundle of yarns is stitched into a backing material with a series of needles to form a looped or a cut pile. High speed machines can tuft many rows of yarn in a short time, and the process is impressive. Latex adhesive is applied to the primary backing to secure the tufts in place, and the secondary backing is applied to improve dimensional stability.

Sometimes excess short loose fibers (lint shear or fuzz) will come out during wear and cleaning. This is called shedding and is not considered a problem unless it is excessive. Some shedding should be expected from a newly installed carpet constructed with a staple yarn, and is removed by vacuuming.

Fiber shedding should not be confused with poorly crafted carpet seams. When professionals install either commercial or residential carpet, the installation standards dictate installers seal the cut edges of carpet where seams are made using a liquid latex (“seam sealer”). Failure to apply seam sealer can cause delamination at the seams, the unraveling of yarn rows or the release of yarn bundles in cut pile during vacuuming and carpet cleaning. If you notice any seam separation issues during inspection, note it on your inspection sheet or work order and discuss it with your customer.

Cleaners should avoid passing carpet cleaning tools at a right angle across carpet seams. Poorly constructed seams may not be obvious, so passing cleaning tools parallel to seams minimizes the possibility of pulling unsecured yarns out of the seam edges. (In commercial carpet installations of carpet tiles, a bead of seam sealer is applied to weld together the carpet panels.)
Adapted from The Complete Guide to Cleaning and Restoration (Burlington, WA: Legend Brands, 2017).