Carpet-smart Renovations

Oct. 6, 2003
Bonded Polyurethane Carpet Cushion Makes a Difference
In January 2003, the American Chemistry Council was faced with moving some of their staff to a different wing of the Commonwealth Tower in Arlington, VA, just across the Potomac from Georgetown in Washington, D.C. The domino effect was in place: One group vacating a space to be occupied by another group waiting to move in. Scheduling was critical. Despite the short time allowed for the move, smart decisions in floorcoverings were made so that the investment in renovations could have long-term benefits. A walk-though made it clear that carpet replacement topped the renovation list. According to Facility Manager Mike McGraw, “The main eyesore was the carpet. It was worn and ready for replacement.” Experience has taught him the balance between performance and cost, and when it comes to soft floor coverings, he has seen that using cushion can extend carpet life. McGraw added, “Carpet with cushion costs more up front, but saves money in the long run because you probably will not have to replace the carpet as often.” (See sidebar, “Get More from Carpet with Commercial Carpet Cushion.”)Working with Michael Paul at Allstate Carpets of Alexandria, VA, McGraw chose two attractive and durable commercial carpets for the American Chemistry Council installation. A 32-oz. multi-level loop carpet was selected for the corridors, complemented by a 36-oz. cut-pile construction for the offices. The conservative-yet-attractive look was well suited for the occupants, with the dark blue corridors providing a striking contrast to the camel office carpet. To support and protect the carpet, McGraw selected a 10-lb./cu. ft. density commercial bonded polyurethane carpet cushion, specifically designed for double-glue installations. Bonded polyurethane is a suitable environmental choice, containing a high recycle content of pre-consumer and post-consumer polyurethane and is recyclable in many locations. Recycling facilities may not be available in all areas. Check to see if recycling facilities exist in your area. A Recycled Plastics Markets Database of buyers and sellers of recycled polyurethanes in the United States and Canada is also available at In addition, bonded polyurethane cushion can improve carpet lifespan, sound absorption, and thermal insulation.Most people are familiar with the residential version of bonded polyurethane carpet cushion, easily identified by its multi-colored speckled appearance, but don’t confuse the cushion in your home with its commercial counterpart. Made at higher densities and with the additional strength and durability required to meet high traffic demands, commercial bonded polyurethane carpet cushion is a high performance material particularly well suited to meet the needs of modern facilities.Modern Renovations: 
Smart Decisions, Quick Turnaround
The American Chemistry Council installation went in flawlessly and on schedule thanks in large part to the expertise of the installation group from Allstate Carpets. Led by Certified Installer Otway Zantzinger, the cushion and carpet were installed according to guidelines that have since been published by the Alliance for Flexible Polyurethane Foam. Zantzinger is experienced in the double-glue installation method, noting, “The commercial polyurethane bonded cushion was easy to work. It cuts well and it isn’t heavy and difficult to position.”  Beyond the handsome look of the new carpet, Executive Director Dick Mericle found the comfort and “feel” provided by the carpet-cushion composite to be a winner. According to Mericle, “The change has been dramatic…even visitors from other wings in the building comment on how good the carpet feels the minute they walk in. We’ve had a lot of inquires from other divisions wanting to know how soon they can have carpet with cushion on their floor. The ‘wow’ factor when people walk into our section is pretty significant.”Numerous studies document the benefits of carpet cushion that go far beyond the comfort factor. Sound absorption, thermal insulation, improved soil removal during vacuuming, improved appearance retention, and longer carpet lifespan are among other benefits offered by installing recyclable polyurethane carpet cushion under workplace carpet.

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