Forum Title: The Truth About Carpet Cushion Thickness & Density Standard
Looking through the old posts about cushion specs. If you've been around the industry a few years, you will recall that the 6 lb, <7/16 thickness requirement originated in the mid-1980's. A Monsanto researcher named O.B. Tyler and I were talking over dinner one nite about carpet performance. We decided on a research project to determine the optimum pad properties to enhance carpet performance. Then we could steer the market toward that pad and everyone would be happier. We chose 12 carpets that represented the market at the time, I believe 11 pads representing the market, from 1.5 lb prime to 20 lb slab rubber, and everything in between, plus no pad. We installed squares of every carpet over every pad, over 3/4 plywood squares. we even built a jig with a force gauge to insure that the stretch was exactly the same on all 144 squares. These went into Monsanto's foot traffic wear test area, where they paid people to walk on carpet all day under controlled conditions (we at Shaw later did that, worst idea I ever had). The plan called for 20,000 traffics and evaluate the texture change. OB called and I rushed to Decatur, AL for the big evaluation. No differences at all between pads. So we decided to go another 20,000. Meanwhile, we were about to print new warranty brochures and the deadline was tight. OB and I theorized, over a few that night, that the sweet spot was 6 lb. density and 3/8 thickness. I couldn't sell the 3/8 to our sales folks, as they wanted 1/2. We knew that the thicker pads were some problems, so we compromised on 7/16 as the maximum thickness. And that, gentlemen is where the specs originated - a scientific wild-assed guess over drinks one night. We continued to traffic the squares until we reached about 200,000 at which time the residential carpets were essentially all trashed - equally. The inescapable conclusion was that pad has virtually no effect on the wear properties of carpet. The pad industry was enraged. We ave them the lists of carpets and pad and procedure and they hired Georgia Tech to repeat the test. They got the same answer. Then the urethane people, I believe, hired Southern Tech to do it again - same answer. We never finished writing the report, as it was simply too hot. I do still have the photos of every square - 25 years later. There is nothing at all wrong with the numbers. The 6 lb. insures a reasonably good pad. The 7/16 max. thickness reduces the propensity to wrinkle, and does not lift the carpet off the tack strip. One of the observations we made over the next few years was that builder grade stuff over 1/2 had a 2 in 3 probability of wrinkles if knee kicked, a 1 in 3 if power stretched (they actually did that back then, well, some did). If 7/16 or less, it dropped to 1 in 3 if kicked, and to almost nothing if stretched. So, even though we failed to prove our original theory, the result has served the consumer well.
Post By: CLAIRE FRANCIS (Shawnee, KS), 01/01/2019
So was this called the Budweiser Conclusion? Or whatever your brew of choice was?
Great story. Thanks for sharing!