A carpet that ripples after a professional carpet cleaning is almost always a symptom of an underlying cause. The cause is due to the carpet not being installed correctly when it was new.
Not installed correctly means that the carpet was cut to fit and knee-kicked only as opposed to the correct method of power stretching the carpet and only using the knee kicker to position and help tuck the carpet under the baseboard.
Over time a loosely laid carpet can contribute to degradation of the latex backing materials which hold together the two carpet backing layers. Such damage to backing is referred to as delamination; which can also cause ripples or small waves to appear in the carpet.
An improperly installed carpet may not reveal any problems until moisture is applied to the carpet whether by cleaning or high humidity. For the purpose of this article I’ll focus only with carpet cleaning related moisture.
Professional carpet cleaning relies upon a pre-spray of cleaning agents followed by rinsing and extracting with hot water to remove and flush the soils from the carpet fibers. When done properly and with suitable extraction a properly installed carpet will never show cleaning related ripples.
Cleaning a loosely laid carpet with or without pre-existing ripples poses a bit of a challenge to any professional cleaner. Due impart by moisture absorption by the carpet backing materials which causes the ripples to appear larger. Surface tension of the carpet is also affected when loosely laid; thus allowing more moisture to penetrate under the carpet as well as into the backing fibers.
Even when professional cleaning is performed correctly (upon loosely laid carpet) it is not uncommon for ripples to appear during or soon after hot water extraction cleaning (steam cleaning). However, the service having been performed by a competent professional constitutes no threat to the carpeting. In most cases the carpet dries to its pre-cleaned condition. In rare cases the pre-existing ripples are either minimized.
Over wetting of a carpet by an improperly trained cleaner can lead to further delamination problems which may result with the ripples growing larger and staying larger when the carpet finally dries. In such cases the need for the carpet to be re-stretched in order to correct this problem is usually required since the improper cleaning made the situation worse.
Most professional carpet cleaners will notice loose carpet or small ripples prior to cleaning and ensure that the customer is aware of such conditions and the possibility that ripples may appear during or after cleaning the carpet; thus avoiding panic phone calls from uninformed customers.
The only fix for a rippled carpet is to have it power stretched after it has been cleaned and dried. The furniture must be removed from the affected room(s) and the carpet should be detached, power stretched, trimmed to fit then re-installed.
A quick knee kick service will only suffice for a short period of time and the ripple problem will never truly go away. Spend the money to get it done correctly!
For your information Dan’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning is certified in carpet installation and owns a power stretcher â€“ should the need arise with your carpet. In closing NEVER drag heavy furniture across the carpet as this too is likely to loosen your carpet from the tack strips.