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Understanding Carpet Pricing
Whether we like it or not, change is the only constant
By Daniel W. Bernazzani, CR


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One challenge faced by every insurance adjuster is staying on top of costs for flooring material. Whether we like it or not, change is the only constant. Without question, carpet and other flooring material prices change as quickly as colors come and go.

If you are an adjuster, it is imperative that you understand how the market is changing. For many years the carpet manufacturing industry, centered in Dalton, Georgia, has produced various styles of carpet. Keeping pace with today’s trends can be overwhelming.

“Soft” seems to be the word for today. Dupont Stainmaster® recently released a new fiber it calls Tactesse®. Shaw Industries, Inc. has Setback® and the list goes on and on. And that is before bringing in all the vinyl and laminates and even pad. Yes even pad. Arm and Hammer and CCA Global Partners have introduced a new cushion that is designed to eliminate stains and odors, the company says.

When it comes to identifying one flooring material from another it pays to understand the basics. Let’s take carpets. For instance, did you know, that as much as 85% of the cost of manufacturing carpet is in the face yarns? Sure, you can go to a flooring retailer and ask for their input. Of course, the insured may be looking for an upgrade and the retailer wants the consumer to make a purchase, so the salesperson focuses on the characteristics that the prospective buyer wants, instead of the price.

Fundamentally, carpet manufacture is simple; face yarn and material for the backing are fed into a machine at one end and carpet comes out at the other. However, it’s not actually that simple. Complexities are numerous and every aspect of the manufacturing process is engineered. Although it isn’t necessary for everyone to know every aspect of the product, it helps if you know the basics.

Tufted carpet is manufactured by sewing many face yarns into a primary woven backing fabric. While there are many variations, the two basic styles are cut pile and loop pile. The needles that hold the face yarn are pushed through the backing material and a hook or looper catches the loop as the needle retracts. If the carpet is to be a cut pile design a knife blade is attached to the looper and cuts the yarn forming single tufts.

After the yarns are tufted into the backing material a layer of latex adhesive compounds usually anchors the tufts into the primary backing material. This compound locks the tufts in place and provides additional dimensional stability. After the latex compound is added a secondary back may be attached. This may be made of jute, but ore often is woven polypropylene. In addition, there are literally hundreds of different backing systems out there and they don’t all have secondary backing.

Other carpets are woven. The fundamental difference between them and tufted carpet is that woven carpets don’t have a primary back. The pile and the backing are made simultaneously. The woven process is much different than tufted and woven carpets typically tend to be lumped together as a single category. There are however distinct types. The two major ones are Administer and Wilton. Make sure if they are involved in water damage that they are identified and dried properly because one shrinks in the length while the other shrinks in the width.

To be continued...

Related Links:
Carpet Analysis Directory Page
Liberty Carpet & Flooring Analysis
Company listing in Claims-Portal's Business Directory
Liberty Carpet & Flooring Analysis
Corporate Web Site
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