Don’t Sweep This Under the Rug—The Carpet Backing is Vital for Contemporary Interiors

Carpet manufacturer Milliken has found that the right carpet backing can make a huge difference in terms of mitigating noise and preventing moisture.

When carpet manufacturer Milliken decided to develop a new backing material for all its modular flooring products 25 years ago, it was hoping mainly to distinguish its products within the market. What Milliken couldn’t have predicted then, and didn’t realize until recently, was just how ideal an open-cell cushion backing would be for how we live and work today.

Used on Milliken’s new Encryption collection (which launched at NeoCon last month), the backing is a nonwoven polyurethane material that has an open structure and provides cushioning. This means that in today’s offices, where employees are encouraged to stay active, “you’re basically getting ergonomics while standing,” says Michael Eckert, director of strategic marketing at Milliken. And in settings where acoustics are a constant concern, the feltlike backing can go a long way toward noise mitigation.

But until very recently, Milliken didn’t recognize the backing’s biggest advantage—its ability to wick away moisture. Carpets are usually picked by interior designers, who might not think of this as a major concern, but last year, the Milliken team found itself speaking to groups of architects at events. “We found that the architects are dealing with moisture on every single project,” Eckert says. In fact, they often have to expend time and money treating floors with epoxy coatings because any trapped moisture can affect construction materials or result in mold and mildew.

The structure of Milliken’s backing allows water vapor to filter through the material and evaporate via the carpet seams. “So you just pick the right backing on a carpet and it solves the problem for you,” Eckert says. “We’re saving hundreds of thousands of dollars on most projects through moisture mitigation.”

The open-cell cushion backing is composed of nonwoven poly-urethane. It is thus a low-VOC material and contains no PVC.
The open structure and cushioning of the backing result in greater comfort while walking, help control noise, and prevent damage from moisture.

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