Coming to a home near you – “Adults of the Cornrow,” a flooring story of horror and angst. Follow our young couple after they purchase new carpet and try to do all the right things but alas, soon things go wrong….horribly wrong.

After vigorous vacuuming they see the dreaded cornrows of ugliness (Cue ominous music and lightning flashes).

Rows in a cornfieldThis is exactly what is sounds like, the carpet has gone from soft and full to dry and streaked like a floodplain in July. Corn rowing bands gives the appearance of crop or corn rows with a row of corn standing erect and the next row as if the corn was mowed down. The rows repeat giving the appearance of a field of corn, hence the name corn rows.  How can this be? What has caused this hideous manifestation? Could it be…you? Yes, you. By over aggressive vacuuming with the brush too low you have caused this dreaded problem. What exactly is it? Stay tuned viewers.

When carpet is manufactured the tufting machine places the yarn at a set distance depending on the style of the carpet. With some carpet styles the pile yarn is tufted close together. With other styles such as shags, many high quality longer piled styles of carpet and lots of cheaper styles of carpet the tufts are farther apart. It is with the styles of carpet where the tufts are further apart where you will almost always find that bands will develop in a carpet.

Once a wall to wall carpet or rug is installed in your home and as it is walked on pressure is placed on the pile yarn. On a dense piled carpet the higher density holds the tufts of yarn close to each other. On a sparser construction there is not a great deal of support between the joining rows of yarn tufts and some of the tufts push over while the others remain erect and the corn rowing appearance is created. The corn rowing usually develops in the traffic areas as these are the areas that get the greatest foot traffic.

Why does it happen?

  • Vacuuming with a very aggressive vacuum or with the brush set too low on the vacuum. Brushes should be adjusted to touch the tips of the carpets pile.
  • Improperly installed carpet that has not been stretched tight enough.
  • Improper carpet pad (cushion) that is too thick or too soft. Carpet cushion should be no thicker than 7/16″ with a minimum density of 6-8 pounds.
  • Poor maintenance such as in frequent vacuuming or always vacuuming in the same direction.
  • Doors rubbing on the carpet create the corn rowing condition in kind of a pie shape.

Or you could have listened to your guru when he said to relax and vacuum lightly. Overworking yourself defeats the purpose of purchasing a high quality carpet. Lower maintenance not higher is the key to higher flooring consciousness.

So treat yourself to a break, raise the beater bar, vacuum less and enjoy more.