15 April 2018

Why is my carpet changing colour?

One of the most frequently asked questions from our customers is how to stop the appearance of foot prints and tread marks on their carpets. In this blog we address this common concern and how to choose the right carpet for you.

Hidden quality of cut pile carpets

Have you ever noticed your carpet appears to have changed colour when you walk on it? This inevitable characteristic is referred to as shading. It can occur in all cut pile carpets. A cut pile carpet is essentially just that, fibres woven into a material and cut to a desired length. It’s therefore inevitable to have obvious traffic marks over a long period of time, as the fibres begin to flatten. However it is most likely to appear in cut pile carpets that have long, plush fibres, where the fibres are twisted in the same direction. When walking on the carpet the fibres are compressed and brushed against the pile, creating a different shade.

Additionally, a natural phenomenon known as pile reversal can also occur in cut pile carpets. This is when a section of carpet can flatten in the opposite direction permanently. As light reflects off the yarn it can look as though the carpet is stained. This is also referred to as ‘pooling’ or ‘watermarking’ and can develop at anytime through out the carpets life.

Shading can be an endearing quality; bringing texture and a ‘lived in’ warmth to your home but it isn’t for everyone. If you find yourself vacuuming in one direction to avoid tread marks for hours at a time and cringing every time you walk into the room, this probably isn’t the best choice for you. Whilst there is no effective method in preventing shading or pile reversal, there are carpet styles that are less likely to do this.

Loop Pile

One of the most obvious options is to choose a loop pile carpet. Loop pile is when the yarn of the carpet is looped rather than cut. The fibres can still flatten over time but they are less likely to move and will therefore look freshly installed for longer.


Combined Shades

Choosing a lighter coloured carpet will make shading less apparent than a darker colour. Or alternatively a combined carpet of lighter and darker shades (speckled) creates a texture that can help to disguise shading marks.


Twist Pile

Carpets that have a twist pile have fibres that are facing in different directions. The light will bounce off the fibres in different directions, minimizing the effects of shading.

Whether you prefer a lush, velvety carpet, under foot, with shading characteristics or a clean, fresh and unified aesthetic for your home, there are an array of styles and colours to help you create the look you want for your home.

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