Carpet latex is an important component in a piece of carpeting. In the field, carpeting inspectors often run into different problems with carpet latex. One problem is that the primary and secondary backing that separate from each other. This may have to do with the filling in the carpet latex. A combination of substances blend into the latex to hold the primary backing and secondary backing together.
Known as carpet delamination, this separation can lead to lots of problems with the carpeting such as buckling and rippling. It can also lead to fraying, visible seams or a chalky white powder appearing. This chalky powder is attributed to the filler ingredient used in the carpet latex—calcium carbonate or marble dust. The latex adhesive is made of the same ingredient as plaster and used in swimming pools and construction. Carpet latex includes calcium carbonate to increase viscosity. Over time, the calcium carbonate migrates out of the latex and separates from the carpet, forming the chalky powder.
Sometimes the inspector will see the chalky powder on or under carpet, but that doesn’t necessarily lead to delamination. When the latex has a lot of the powder as a filler, it is almost surely going to come out and be visible.