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Subject: Carpeting


From: Paul Storch <paul.storch>
Date: Wednesday, December 9, 1998
Katherine Untch recently inquired about conservation considerations
in specifying carpets for gallery spaces.  I have had experience
over the past eight years with testing and specifying carpets and
adhesives for our gallery spaces and new visitor center
constructions.  You might also want to try the DistList archives
since I remember this topic coming up in previously in the last year
or so, and there might be additional information in those postings
that you might find useful.

I run carpet samples through the Oddy Test routine to look for
reactivity with metals as well as review the MSDS' and speak with
the manufacturer's technical reps. and chemists when the printed
information does not supply enough data for a firm decision.  I also
do the Beilstein Test to confirm that the secondary backings are not
PVC.  I have looked at Milliken and Burlington products, as well as
some others.

In general, our standards are low total volatile organic chemicals
(TVOC), no formaldehyde, no poly(vinylacetate) (esp. in the
adhesive), and no poly(vinylchloride)  (used as backings).   An
example of the materials used in an acceptable product would be:

    *   face fiber: pre-dyed 100% nylon or nylon blend.

    *   primary backing: polypropylene, polyethylene or jute.

    *   secondary backing: ethylenevinylacetate adhesive.

The Carpet and Rug Institute, P.O. Box 2048, Dalton, GA 30722-2048
1-800-882-8846) has established a testing program in cooperation
with carpeting manufacturers which actually certifies the products
as meeting indoor air quality (IAQ) standards (for humans) that are
similar to what conservators demand for exhibit materials.  Passing
the CRI tests results in a "Green Label" certification.  You can
contact CRI directly with the product number that you are
considering and they can tell you if it has been tested and the

The adhesive used must also be low VOC and applied according to
manufacturers instructions.  We also specify a lead time of one
month between installation of the carpet and installation of any
objects in the gallery to allow for off-gassing of moisture from
water-based adhesives and dusting from the fibers to abate.  It is
also a good practice to have the carpet cleaned according to
manufacturer's spec.s after installation.

I hope this information helps and you can contact me off-list for
information on the carpeting products that have been approved for
use in the MHS system to date.

Paul S. Storch
Objects Conservator
Daniels Objects Conservation Laboratory (DOCL)
B-109.1, Minnesota History Center
345 Kellogg Blvd West
St. Paul, MN  55102-1906
Fax: 651-297-2967

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:51
                Distributed: Tuesday, December 15, 1998
                       Message Id: cdl-12-51-002
Received on Wednesday, 9 December, 1998

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