Berber Carpet Problems

Berber carpet problems are most common with the cheaper fibers used to make the Berber-style carpeting. Olefin and PET fibers have the worst track record and reputation for Berber carpet. Some problems with Berber carpet can be reduced, and maybe even avoided, with careful and frequent care and cleaning. Keep high heels and long pet toenails away from Berber carpet. Clean stains immediately. And consider wool or nylon fiber for your Berber carpet.

What is the most popular choice for carpeting today? Berber carpet. This carpeting is installed in new homes more often than any other carpeting on the market. It is important, however, that you learn more about Berber carpeting to ensure that you are getting the best value for your money and so you do not run across many of the common Berber carpet problems. Berber is the style of the weave of carpet, rather than the fiber, so it is important that you choose the right fiber of Berber carpet for your home.

Fibers are the most important part of any carpet. Several different fibers are used in making Berber carpet. Choosing quality fiber for your carpet can help you avoid having many of the problems associated with Berber carpet. Wool and nylon Berber is highly recommended for many reasons over the olefin, PET (recycled pop bottles) and other kinds of Berber carpeting. If you buy quality wool or nylon Berber carpet now you could be saving yourself money and heartache in the long run because they are more durable than other fibers. What are some problems with Berber carpet that is not 100% nylon or wool that consumers talk about?
One of the most common problems with Berber carpet, especially the non-wool or non-nylon fibers carpets, is the difficulty in removing stains and keeping the carpet clean from normal wear and tear. It also has a tendency to turn grayish, yellowish, or brownish after cleaning. It may look beautiful and appealing on the roll, but if it is not 100% wool or nylon Berber carpeting then you will probably not be satisfied with it in the long run.
Another common problem that occurs in olefin Berber carpeting is attributed to its low flashpoint. This means that it has a low tolerance for things like furniture being drug across it. Sometimes something as simple as scooting your couch or ottoman can cause scorch or melt marks on this inferior carpeting. Scorch marks are impossible to remove from anything, including carpeting. And once melted, there’s nothing that can be done to resurrect it.
Berber carpet problems can also include raveling. This can occur if you have pets that get their nails caught in the loops or if a high heel catches a loop of the Berber carpeting. Once you have a loop that has come out of the carpet backing, you are likely to have the entire carpet unravel.
Another thing that can be a problem with Berber carpet is the feel of it. The 100% nylon or wool carpeting will feel soft to the touch, but the other kinds may feel scratchy, rough and hard. If you have children who crawl around on the floor, this can be a huge sticking point with you. Inferior Berber carpeting fibers can also be crushed more readily and will not regain their shape. This usually occurs when furniture is put on the carpeting and left for a while, but can also occur with normal traffic, especially on stairs. Frequent cleaning will reduce the crushing problem, but it’s still only a matter of time before the inferior fibers lose their life and oomph.
Learning about the problems that can occur with Berber carpet will enable you to make a more informed decision about this investment in your home. Most problems can be attributed to the inferior olefin or PET fibers, though, so if you choose quality 100% nylon or wool Berber carpet then the problems should be few and far between.

48 thoughts on “Berber Carpet Problems

  1. 6 months ago we had our 10 year old berber carpet replaced with basicly the same stuff.(dont know brands or type) The old berber had (2) snaggs/runs in it and I can tell you when and how they both happened over the years we lived on it. The problems staterd just 40 hours after the new berber was installed. Started with one loop popping up before we actlually moved all the furnature in. 4 days latter our vaccum pulled up a seam. We were told we would have new carpet but we allowed them to repair the problem area. Over the course of the next 2 months there were 3 more loops that poped up. One of which our child pulled and made a big mess. And finally the sixth problems occured 6 months after it was installed and that was a seam pulled up by our $500 Dyson vaccum. thank you eric
    We were told that this is our problem by both the manufacture and seller. My question is…. does this sould like normal or excessive wear on the new carpet?

  2. Well, your question actually has two questions embedded, in my opinion. Berber can have problems with running, as you have found before. So in that sense what you have is normal.
    But what’s not normal is the amount and speed with which your carpet is falling apart. It seems to me you have at least a bad installation and possibly a cheap carpet (no offense intended). Did the Seller connect you to the Installer? I’m guessing the Installer didn’t follow normal procedure for installing Berber carpet and is huge source of your problem.
    Good luck in getting satisfaction on a less than satisfactory situation.

  3. You need an indendent inspector to come out and check the tuft bind on the carpet.On the seams sounds like the installer did not seal the seams, thats the only reason a seam would unravel.

  4. Hello, I rented an apartment with 2 year old Berber carpeting. I tried to keep it clean, but after a year, it got pretty dirty in high-traffic areas, and my landlady is claiming I “ruined” it. It also snagged and ran unbelievably easily.
    I don’t know how much she paid for it, but she claims it was $1200 for around 400 square feet.
    Can you steer me toward some information on pricing and the life expectancy of such carpeting?
    Many thanks.

  5. It depends on what the Berber carpet is made of as to its longevity. The quality of the padding impacts the longevity too. Berber carpet does snag easily and gets matted down in high traffic areas.
    I’m going to make the same recommendation here that I did to Billy: get an independent inspector to come out to take a look, tell you what the fiber is, and tell you if they think you were excessively hard on the carpet or if it’s normal for it to look like that now.
    I’d appreciate hearing back from you about what you found. Good luck.

  6. new 100% wool berber the more it’s vaccumed the lumpier it becomes. made two complaints to retailer ,so far no reply. Can ‘hear’ underlay under foot. help!

  7. I’m going to guess the carpet wasn’t stretched adequately. Walking across it and moving furniture will make it seem lumpy too.
    If you can hear the carpet padding you must have what I associate with an inexpensive one, one that has a plastic-like top surface. If I’m right about that I see your choices being remove it and put a pad down that doesn’t have that surface, or put another pad on top of that one. You also have the option of living with it. I think removing it is your best choice if you hate it as much as I would.

  8. I just had berber carpet installed a week ago and noticed under the base in some spots there is a gap. The edges on the stairs, where the berber meets the wall, looks a little rough also. I was just wondering if this is poor quality work or just happens with new carpet installation.
    I don’t want to call and complain if it is’nt the installers fault.
    Thanks in advance

  9. Hi Greg! Sounds like you should probably call the installer or store where you bought the carpet and tell them what you see and encourage them to come back out and see for thereselves. Remember, I don’t know where you bought your carpet and if they had their own installers or if you hired one that wasn’t from where you bought it.

  10. Hi, I am renting and the carpet was new when we moved in. It is a berber carpet. At the entry way the carpet was not transitioned onto the vinyl floor and had frayed edges. It has completely unraveled all around the area where the edge of the carpet is. I feel that I am not responsible for the wear on the carpet. Also my vacuum has made some threads pull up and unravel throughout the apartment. Can areas be replaced without replacing the entire apartment? Where do they put seams when replacing? I am just trying to get a feel for how much this will cost me if my landlord puts it on me.
    Thank you

  11. Hi Julie,
    Questions about repairing berber has been answered many times throughout the site. Use the search box (located at the upper right-hand corner of the page) and type in berber snag….you’ll find the info you need.
    Depending on how badly the other snag is, it may not need to be patched – again, “how to” will be addressed in those search results.
    I agree with you, I don’t see how you can be responsible for the frayed edges when it was already frayed when you moved in. Hopefully the landlord made note of this on a checklist when you moved in.
    Wishing you the best of luck!

  12. I’d contact your landlord right now to both let them know the installation was substandard and has frayed, which is normal for Berber with the way they installed it, and to ask them to fix it before it gets worse. You don’t deserve to live with that.
    -Former Landlord

  13. Hi,
    I have remnants of Mohawk wool berber. It is perfect for my apartment but my question is if it can be bound with tape?

  14. Yes, it can, but you need to make sure there are no loose threads. Kind of like following the instructions for patching, but you’re putting long edges together rather than a patch. Use the search function in the upper right hand corner for posts that refer to patching berber carpets.

  15. iv been fitting carpets for over 30 years but recently iv had problems with fraying edges on stairs, mainly with cavlier carpets and coir types, its not that i dont know how to fit them they just seem more fragile than normal, even though our shop recomends them for stairs the rep who came out to check them has said its not a fitting error or a carpet fault, but the area in which they were fitted. its strange how all the rooms and landing are perfect however the straight stairs are falling to bits with gaps appearing at the sides iv even tried curling the edges over in an attempt to stop this, which never worked. yet if i fit a cheepy carpet of the same design no probs wots going on can you helpsigned a puzzled floor layer

  16. Hi John,
    Nope can’t say I can help there. I sounds like that maybe it’s a case of NOT getting what you pay for. Have you ever talked to the manufacturer and told them of your experiences? If it’s as big as a problem as it appears to be, I would urge your shop to simply stop selling that type of carpet. Yes, the rep is going to say that it’s no fault of the carpet – that’s his job. What else is he going to say? The carpeting isn’t worth a durn on stairs? Hardly. You know something is wrong with it’s integrity if you don’t have these sort of problems with a ‘cheepy’ carpet.

  17. OK I really need some assistance if you can help me out. Recently we just moved out of an apartment we were in for four months. We had two dogs and they were allowed to be there per the lease. The owners of the place that allow dogs had burber carpet in one room and also on the front porch. As a result of our dogs playing, some of the burber came loose and began to unravel. There is two spots in the one room that are each about one square foot where the burber unraveled. Reading through it seems to me that this is a common problem with the burber. Is this a common problem with cheap burber? Thank you so much for any help as things are getting messy as the landlord wants us to replace the burber in the back room and on the front porch. They are trying to charge us $1000.00 for the repair to each. Obviously they look at this as damage, but it seems that this is a normal problem when allowing pets. Thanks for any time and help. I appreciate it!!

  18. Hi Jake,
    Yes, this is a common problem with Berber carpeting (doesn’t matter whether it’s cheap or expensive), but it is also one that doesn’t have to happen. It’s always recommended to keep dog’s toenails neatly trimmed so that snags don’t happen, as well as not wearing high heels on the carpeting – which I’m going to assume that you don’t. ;~)
    Unfortunately, I think if I were a landlord, I’d view it as damage too. If the landlord has some extra pieces of the original carpet, the damaged pieces might be able to be taken out and patched with spare pieces. It’d be worth a try, but may be rather noticeable. If you’re curious enough, you can do a search in the upper right hand corner for berber patch – you can read up on how it’s done.

  19. would like to know if there is a way to lift the pile after taking heavy furniture off the area.
    couch has left pockets would like to move my furniture

  20. Do you know what material your Berber is? Just wondering if it’s a natural fiber like wool or if it’s synthetic (nylon, PET, olefin).
    I think what you are experiencing are the problems of Olefin, a petroleum-based product that has a low melting point. That means when you scoot furniture across it, those places melt and leave preferment marks, does the same where furniture sits on it. And yet another reason to go with natural-fiber carpets. Low quality carpet padding will further aggrivate the problem.
    There’s not a whole lot you can do. You can always try using steam (like a steam iron or clothing steamer) and something pointy like a kebob skewer to lift the loops, this works better on natural fibers.

  21. How can I seal the edges of berber carpet scrap(s) to make RV rugs? The material is synthetic, not wool. Would heat (steam iron/soldering iron) work?

  22. Hello. I just recently moved into an apartment that has berber carpet. I do not know if it is wool, nylon or plastic. I seems soft to the feet & when they cleaned it, they used steam & a “green” safe bleach. I have a small poodle, he doesn’t shed. My problem is that my feet are black after walking on it. That is why they re-cleaned it. The manager has told me that is a problem with berber is some sort of oily substance they use in it. Myself & my dog have had irritated sinus problems. Can you give me any info on this “oily/black feet” syndrom?
    thank you,

  23. Hi Chris,
    I have heard of this problem with olefin Berber. Olefin is a petroleum based plastic (think plastic soda pop bottles). The stain doesn’t set in completely because of what the material is. If the carpet cleaner uses an acid rinse, this will help and hopefully get rid of the problem for good.
    I’ve also heard of this happening because of furnace and/or duct work issues. Basically, soot & dirt can be in the air because of faulty heating system and/or dirt and soot being in the ductwork. Sometimes it can mean the furnace needs to be replaced, sometimes just the ductwork needs cleaned.
    How old is the carpet? Does the landlord know exactly what type of carpet it is?

  24. HELP! We just moved in to a place in Santa Monica, CA and the cream colored berber carpet which looks new and clean leaves a black residue on our feet. We washed our feet 3 times in one day! It even accumulated on our dogs paws. It does wash off fairly easily, but when you walk across the light colored kitchen and bathroom tile, it leaves black prints. I can’t imagine this could be healthy either. What is the cause and what can be done short of replacing the carpet? Thanks a bunch and maybe we can get to the bottom of this as a group in communication.

  25. I just moved into an apartment with berber carpet. The feel of it is so rough that I can’t walk on it in bare feet because it tear the skin off the soles of my feet. Also the carpet stains my feet black. It has been steam cleaned twice by the complex but it still makes my feet black. I have lupus which means my immune system is compromised. Could there be some kind of toxins in the dye which can get into the raw skin on the soles of my feet? Also my 12 y/o dog likes to roll on her back, scratching herself on carpet. This berber is taking the fur off her spine. We’ve only been here for 3 weeks and she’s bald and my feet are perpetually sore and black. Even my white socks turn black. Please help me with some information that I can take to my landlord. They knew that this carpet “bled” before I moved in here and have replaced the carpet in other units. I like berber, having had white berber in the home I still own, but it wasn’t hard and scratchy with little hard fibers sticking me like pins.
    Thank you.


  27. I am having similar problems with the berber carpets in my apartment. My son is 9 months old crawling on the carpet turong his knees, legs, and feet BLACK! Could there be health issues along with the carpets. He has been sick since we moved into the place and me carpets have been cleaned 3 times by professionals!

  28. I’ve experienced that black transferring from the carpet to my skin, though not with Berber carpeting. I’m wondering if it’s the residue from carpet cleaning that’s attracted dirt and grime. I’m not sure, but I agree with you it’s probably not good.

  29. We have a major carpet problem. It’s Olefin with foam underlay. The carpet is 15 yrs. old and is reeking. We don’t wear shoes in the house. We have a dog, but if he is wet, he stays put in the kitchen until dry. We pulled back a section of carpet to pull out the underlay – it crumbled in our hands. We steam cleaned the carpet ourselves and then had it professionally cleaned as well. The air currents are still wafting up noxious sour odours. I’m getting severe headaches now when I sit on the sofa. We don’t own the unit – it’s a rental co-op. Should I bring health inspectors in? The co-op is just about bankrupt, but I can’t live like this.
    Bette – Ottawa, Canada

  30. OK, I’ll do that. If I have to, I’ll get a letter from my doctor. I’ll also try to find out when landlords are legally required to change carpeting. The foam underlay is also bunching up in what I call ‘lunar lumps’. Thanks for your help.

  31. I spoke with a carpet rep today. He laid these carpets 15 yrs. ago. He said that there is a 10-yr. lifespan for the carpet, that it was an early version of PET carpeting (EP2) and that the carpet and the latex backing was breaking down. A health inspector came over today and because our carpets are not stained and our place was ‘clean looking’, he said that he could detect no health concerns. He did not know anything about latex or carpet fiber breakdowns. He kept talking about off-gassing. I kept saying that it’s not ‘new’ off-gassing that I was concerned about. He did not seem curious at all to do research into problems associated with aging carpets and health. Frustrating beyond belief!

  32. I am having the same issue with a commercial grade carpet that my Husband decided to get for our bedrooms because it was cheaper. Our feet are completely ruined from it. Our big toes have torn skin, as if someone were taking a cheese grater to them. I thought it was just normal wear, or from me not pumicing, but our feet look identical. I can’t believe a carpet could mess up our feet like this! Also, the cuts in our feet snag on the carpet, and then start to bleed. It is madness! Here is a tip, always go with residential carpet at home, don’t be cheap, now we’re out the money for the commercial carpet if we replace it, so it cost us way more in the long run.

  33. We rented a home that has Berber carpeting (big mistake) we went to have it cleaned by a professional rug cleaner .
    The cleaner did a beautiful job cleaning, there were some little stains on the rug and he cleaned it with some chemical to remove the spots.
    Well by the next day we start to notice brown blotches all in the living room and hallway. We called the cleaning company back who returned the next day. When the cleaner saw it he did not want to believe how it ended up looking like that. He insisted it was pet stains so he used pet chemicals and cleaned it for us. When it dried the stains reappeared and newer stains appeared.
    Well, we called the cleaning company again, this time to pull up the rug to see what kind of stains was under the rug. There was no stains of any kind, Pet stains or Pet oder.
    Well now the property manger is involved and the carpet company men came to check the problem, they are going to have someone come out and test the area where the blotches are. We were told that the rug was made of nylon, and not Olefin.
    My question to you, have you heard of such a situation like this before? I HATE BERBER !

  34. Hi Peggy,
    It’s called carpet browning and there is a carpet stain remover specifically made for debrowning, you can do a search for Carpet Debrowner. I would recommend testing in an inconspicuous area first to be sure it doesn’t damage the Berber.
    However, I do always suggest to try StainSolver for all types of stains. It is much safer than harsh chemicals.

  35. Hi,
    I am extremely disturbed by a problem my husband and I are having with the dark gray berber carpet in our rented apartment…
    When we first moved in, we decided to make a no shoes house rule to keep the floors clean. Much to our surprise, just a few short hours after moving in, the bottoms of our bare feet were completely black!
    We contacted the property manager who told us that the carpets had already been cleaned twice but agreed to do it a third time. I made sure to watch when the maintenance men cleaned, and sure enough a lot of dark-colored water was poured out of the machine after cleaning. But alas, our feet still turned black! At this point, the property manager has suggested it is the carpet dye, which is no comfort.
    So much for our no-shoes rule; we have decided to keep our feet covered until a solution is found. Has anyone had or heard of a similar issue? I cannot decide whether I think it is dirt of dye, but either way I am disturbed and do not know what can be done to fix the problem.
    Thanks for any ideas.

  36. Disturbed,
    I have not heard of dye coming out of a dry carpet (unless maybe if there was a dye used that wasn’t meant for carpets). However, generally when carpets are cleaned, they are cleaned until the water is clear – meaning the dirt has been removed. You could call a local carpet store and ask them if this is a known problem with that color of carpet.

  37. I just moved into an apartment where the carpet was alledgely new, and a light colored berber. After the first couple days I noticed the bottoms of my feet were black. I wore white socks and again walked around my apartment and again they were black? The pad under the carpet is black? I took my socks to the management company and they were baffled… Please – any information would be much appreciated and helpful. Thank you.


    • Hello Deanna,
      That is somewhat baffling and certainly kinda gross! The good news is that I do believe the management is probably being honest that the carpet is new. However, I’d be really concerned about the carpet pad and subfloor underneath. Unfortunately, my best guess is that there may have been some moisture damage at some point in time and you are dealing with a mold or mildew issue. The mold and mildew may be seeping up from the old carpet pad into the new carpet.
      The first thing that will need to be done is to confirm if this is the case. To identify mold and mildew, the surest way is to take a sample of the carpet and send it off to a lab for testing. This is usually not especially expensive, but you may not be able to cut a sample as the renter. What I would recommend is that you pull up the carpet in an area where you could replace it easily and see what is underneath. Search some images online to compare and see if it looks like mold/mildew looks is what you’re dealing with.
      If the problem is widespread, unfortunately that will probably mean the new carpet is now also going to need replacing. The entire carpet and pad underneath will need to be removed, and the moisture problem will need to be treated before a new pad and carpet are installed, or the same issue will resurface. The initial cause will need to be determined, too; if there was a flood of some sort at one time that was not properly treated, that will be easier to deal with than an ongoing leak or humidity issue.
      If the problem area is small, like there was a single leak or spill at some time that wasn’t dealt with properly, it may be able to be cleaned with a steam cleaner. However, it is so important to make sure the carpet and pad dry completely afterwards or the mold/mildew issue will be exacerbated. It’s also possible to pull up only the affected carpet and carpet pad area and replace only that with a patch, if the area is small.
      All of this will probably need to be dealt with by the management company, but it sounds like it could be a pretty big undertaking and, in my experience, management companies aren’t great at moving quickly on these things. Mold and mildew are serious, however, and can pose health concerns, so if that is indeed the cause of the mysterious black socks, you will want them to take care of the issue promptly or find a new place.
      Best of luck, let me know what comes of this all, and I am hoping that I am mistaken and it turns the cause is something much easier to deal with!

  38. bought Shaw berber carpet: Tuftex carpet, style: Bali.
    After 4 months carpet is developing crushed look on
    areas of traffic. Only two people in house and we remove
    shoes. Was told by warrenty department that crushing not
    covered under warrenty. Any ideas.

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