Sometimes, an area of carpet appears to be a different color even though there are no stains or dye issues. This is known as carpet pooling or watermarked carpet. When carpet fibers lay in different directions, they catch the light in varying ways. This is like what gives carpeting those vacuum lines after cleaning. However, with carpet pooling, the fibers lay in a different direction permanently. It is most common in dense cut-pile carpeting.
So what causes carpet pooling? The carpet pile gets distorted or reversed during manufacturing. The fibers have a natural slope to one direction. When the fibers are sloping in different directions right next to each other, the appearance of some of the fibers is darker or lighter than the surrounding or bordering fibers.
Often the problem isn’t noticed until after it is professionally cleaned because the fibers are revitalized and restored to their most upright position. Carpet pooling is common in highly trafficked areas and may not be as noticeable when fibers are matted down slightly. That’s why many clients believe that professional carpet cleaners are to blame, but that isn’t usually the case.
There is no quick fix for this appearance issue. The problem can’t be repaired without installing new carpet. At least carpet pooling doesn’t affect the flooring’s performance, just the appearance.