Consider the Cushion

Consider the Cushion

Complaints about carpet pad odors show that researching the underlayment is just as important as the carpet that goes over it

green-labelThe homeowner was almost distraught. She had just invested in a high-quality nylon carpet, only to deal with chemical fumes throughout her home as soon as the installation was complete.

Now, she was spending hours doing research on the Internet, and she called Natural Interiors® for help. She had a remnant of the carpet and had isolated it long enough to know that it was not the problem. The odors, she had determined, must be coming from the carpet pad.

“Can you tell me about chemical-free wool carpet and pad that you carry?,” she asked. “I am thinking that I may need to redo this whole project.”

I replied: “Is the company that sold you the carpet and pad going to give you your money back? It would be a real shame for you to have to pay twice for the same job.”

When you get into a situation like this, unless the fumes are making you so ill you have to leave your home, it’s best to open some windows and consider your options. The caller already was fairly certain that the problem was the pad. What brand is the pad?, I asked. Does it have Carpet & Rug Institute (CRI) Green Label Plus certification or just CRI Green Label (no plus)?

She did not know. This is not surprising.

Most people, including many flooring retailers, are not aware that the CRI Green Label Plus Indoor Air Quality testing and certification program used for carpet was not made available for carpet cushion until June 2014. Until that time CRI Green Label, a less stringent standard, was used for carpet pad.

“(CRI Green Label Plus) offers cushion manufacturers the opportunity to qualify their products according to these more stringent standards and provide additional assurance for consumers concerned about indoor-air quality or potential VOC emissions,” a CRI spokesperson said in a news announcement at the time.

Since this announcement, several padding manufacturers have achieved the Green Label Plus Certification for some of their products. These manufacturers include Carpenter, Dura Undercushions, Future Foam, FXI, Healthier Choice, Interfloor, Leggett & Platt, Mohawk and Shaw.

Ironically, despite this advancement, Natural Interiors has received more inquiries from distressed carpet buyers this year than in years past. You should always double check certifications of any product you are considering at the time of purchase. And if you still have concerns, ask for a sample and take it home to test for a few days before you commit.

“This is very helpful to know,” the caller said. “I guess I need to get the brand name of  the pad the company put in my house,  find out if it has this certification, and if not, talk to them about replacing it?”

Absolutely! ©

Nancy Kibbee is editor at naturalinteriors.com. 

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