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Underlay – the best way to avoid carpet nightmares

Underlay – the best way to avoid carpet nightmares

Thanks to today’s technology, carpet is now a durable choice for flooring.

But that doesn’t mean it’s perfect.

Whether due to poor decisions during the installation process or improper cleaning and maintenance, issues can still rear their ugly head. And before you know it, that luxury loop pile that cost you a small fortune can become less swish show home, more house of horrors!

Like with most things, knowledge is power. So to help prevent any nightmare scenarios, here we take a look at some of the most common (and frightening!) carpet problems and how to avoid them. 


Beware of these 6 common carpet issues


1. Carpet rippling

We’re talking raised ripples, bulges and unsightly lumps and bumps.

If the surface of your flooring isn’t smooth and flat, something isn’t right.

In most cases, such extreme movement is due to incorrect installation. This could include fitting the carpet with the wrong underlay (or shock horror, without carpet underlay altogether!) or not stretching it properly into place. However, rippling can also occur due to water damage – such as dampness or humidity – or even simply by dragging heavy items across the surface.


2. Matting of the fibres

aka. general wear and tear.

Your carpet may start out plush and fluffy, but the more you walk on it, the flatter it will get.

Matting occurs when the fibres begin to unravel and lose their original shape, allowing them to be crushed down more easily. Incorrect vacuuming and high levels of foot traffic accelerate the process, so it’s more common in busy parts of the home. But there are ways to slow it down, too…

Spoiler alert – by laying underlay.


Carpet issue that can be avoided with underlay


3. Indentations

Like to switch up the living room every now and then?

Well, indentations are your new enemy.

Essentially, these are localised spots of intensely matted fibres – caused by heavy furniture. Bulky sofa feet, the legs of chairs and tables, castor wheels etc., can all leave their mark on your beautiful carpet. Sometimes, these can be reversed by melting a block of ice in the area and then teasing out the fibres with a hair comb or spoon. Or they can be prevented altogether with furniture cups.

But if you’ve left it for too long…you may be stuck with the same layout forever. The horror!


4. Unravelling at the edges

To avoid things going bump in the night (i.e. you… falling over), carpet metals are a must.

These create a seamless transition from one room to the next, not only improving the final look of your flooring, but also helping to prevent one of the most common carpet issues – unravelling.

Without the right threshold strips, your carpet will eventually start to fray, curl and even tear at the edge of the doorway – creating both a messy look and a serious trip hazard.


Common carpet problem that can be avoided with carpet metals


5. Fluffing and pilling

All new carpets will lose some of their short, loose fibres – particularly when you get the vacuum out. This is a completely normal process, and in most cases, it stops about 1-2 months after installation.

But what if it doesn’t?

Sometimes the problem can continue, leading to a fluffed-up ‘pilling’ effect. This may be due to the material your carpet is made from (e.g. natural fibres are more susceptible than synthetic). However, it can also be caused by using the wrong type of hoover – such as those with a beater brush.

Always check the manufacturer’s recommendations and tread very carefully!


6. Carpet beetles

Last but not least, a (relatively) common carpet problem that’s sure to give you the heebie jeebies.

We’ve all heard of bed bugs, but what about carpet beetles?

These small creepy crawlies are known for making themselves at home on carpet. Attracted by dust, shed hair and food debris, they can easily sneak into your house through open windows, doors, cracks, crevices, or they can be brought in on infested items such as old furniture and plants.

Once they’ve bedded down in your loop pile, they can cause significant damage – eating away at the fibres and leaving behind bare patches – and are notoriously difficult to get rid of.


Ward off carpet nasties with a simple layer of underlay

If you’re about to install a new carpet this October – and are desperate to avoid these totally scary carpet issues – we have one key piece of advice. Invest in a high-quality carpet underlay.

It certainly isn’t a miracle worker and, admittedly, it can’t prevent these problems entirely. But underlay is still one of the easiest, most effective ways to reduce the likelihood of some of these things happening – enhancing the look and feel of your carpet and maximising its lifespan.

Our current recommendation is Plushwalk 12mm Carpet Underlay.

Recommended carpet underlay

Made from a super-luxury memory foam, this is an industry-leading underlay that packs a real punch.

For a start, measuring 12mm thick with an impressive density of 105kg per m3, it demonstrates a unique ‘bounce back’ effect – which not only makes it incredibly comfortable to walk on, but also decreases the likelihood of any matting or furniture indentations.

The extra cushioning successfully supports and protects the carpet, softening the blow of each footfall (or any other type of impact) – helping to slow down the process of day-to-day wear and tear, even in high-traffic areas, and extending the lifespan of your carpet by up to 50% or more.

What’s more, it benefits from an effective damp proof membrane. This creates a moisture barrier between the subfloor and your carpet, therefore helping to prevent the damaging effects of dampness and humidity and reducing the chances of any carpet rippling or bulging.

If all that wasn’t enough, it also improves thermal insulation with a 3.5 TOG (perfect for this time of year), dramatically reduces noise levels by 49dB and is available for the affordable price of just £6.99 per m2. We’d say that’s money well spent, to avoid the nightmare scenarios listed above!

In addition to investing in Plushwalk 12mm, we’d also recommend:

  • Using the correct tools to ensure your carpet is fitted properly and fully stretched into place.
  • Replacing old carpet grippers to help avoid unwanted movement.
  • Adding the correct carpet metals to doorways and transition points.
  • Vacuuming your new carpet at least once or twice a week.
  • Rearranging your furniture regularly to minimise indentations.
  • Lifting furniture rather than dragging it along the surface of the floor.
  • Arranging professional carpet cleaning at least once or twice a year.


Carpet fitted with underlay


Got a question?

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch – we promise we don’t bite!

Whether you’re concerned about an issue with your existing carpet, want to make sure your new carpet looks and feels as good as possible, or would just like further information on the carpet underlays available in our store, we’re always more than happy to help.

You can give us a call at any time on 0203 887 0994. Or if you prefer, send an email to and a member of the team will respond as soon as possible.

It may be the most frightful time of year. But with our tips and a roll of Plushwalk 12mm on your side, we guarantee, there’ll be nothing frightful about your new flooring. Happy Halloween folks!


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  • Alex Illidge