Discarded Carpet Equals Poor Mans Geotextile?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Cutlery Fiend
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    New question here. Discarded Carpet Equals Poor Mans Geotextile?

    Would fully synthetic carpet (so it does not rot) work for some of the same functions as geotextile?

    Of course like geotextile it would need to be buried so that it is not exposed to ultraviolet.

  2. #2
    middle ring single track
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    Maybe but...

    Quote Originally Posted by KnifeKnut View Post
    Would fully synthetic carpet (so it does not rot) work for some of the same functions as geotextile?

    Of course like geotextile it would need to be buried so that it is not exposed to ultraviolet.
    In a limited practical way discarded carpet might work; but out here in Kalifornia I don't think there's anyway you'd ever get approval from the authorities to use it.

    When you say "discarded" you're implying that this is used carpet; you don't know where it's been. It could have all sorts of nasty cleaning product residues; crime scene residues, etc.

    Plus, unless it's made of some sort of flame retardant material, if a wildfire catches an exposed edge on fire you could have a real mess to clean up if it starts burning under ground.

    My $.02
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  3. #3
    featherweight clydesdale
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    Quote Originally Posted by pliebenberg View Post
    In a limited practical way discarded carpet might work; but out here in Kalifornia I don't think there's anyway you'd ever get approval from the authorities to use it.

    When you say "discarded" you're implying that this is used carpet; you don't know where it's been. It could have all sorts of nasty cleaning product residues; crime scene residues, etc.

    Plus, unless it's made of some sort of flame retardant material, if a wildfire catches an exposed edge on fire you could have a real mess to clean up if it starts burning under ground.

    My $.02

    Haha, subscribed. Recycling used carpet....green and cheap.
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  4. #4
    Unpredictable
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    If a carpet burned under your trail, would that be considered carbon capture and allow the trail network to apply for carbon credits to pay for more carpet?

  5. #5
    High Gravity Haze
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    I've seen carpet used in such a manner before. IMHO no, carpet is not an acceptable alternative to geotex.

    Besides the above mentioned potential issues, when used in a sandy/sandy loam trail bed the carpet fills with particulate and eventually becomes an artificial hardpan. When that occurs, standing water becomes an issue again and the carpet will eventually make it to the surface requiring you to rework that wet spot in the trail again.

    Before you go to all the trouble of creating a drain system requiring geotex, I would check to see if you have any other alternatives.

  6. #6
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    Look at the bigger picture:

    Keep in mind there are other trailbuilding things that can be done with geotextile besides drainage, such as reinforcing berm faces and stabilizing soil in other ways.

    Carpet that is simply worn out but not obviously contaminated would still work well as long as the backing is intact.

    When sandwiched between mineral soil that has been excavated down to, and well covered with mineral soil well past the edges, I imagine the likelihood of the carpeting catching, sustaining and spreading fire is rather small. Before salvage a simple flame resistance test of a sample piece with a lighter would tell you if it is treated for flame resistance.
    If you are really paranoid about fire, borax, a commonly available natural chemical that is often used as a fire retardant, is cheap and easy to apply. Just dissolve and spray on.

    Thus encapsulated also would keep leaching out of possible contaminants or fire retardants to a minimum.

    As for inadvertently creating an artificial hardpan, I would be willing to bet if you sloped it correctly and took into account draining that eventual hardpan during installation, you would end up with sheet flow off of the area, thus turning what you may perceive as a liability into an asset in the form of a well packed, fiber reinforced surface; In fact that is exactly what I need to make happen at a few particular problem areas of the trail that I steward.

  7. #7
    namagomi
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    Too much static electricity... Besides what about carpet burn?

  8. #8
    middle ring single track
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    Out here in Kalifornia...

    Quote Originally Posted by KnifeKnut View Post
    If you are really paranoid about fire, borax, a commonly available natural chemical that is often used as a fire retardant, is cheap and easy to apply. Just dissolve and spray on.
    If you're building trails on private property it might be OK; hell I'd use it on my own place if I had a need.

    But RE borax, "Borate Bombers" no longer use the stuff; it's not as benign as you may think. From wikipedia:

    Borate salts were used in the past to fight wildfires but were found to sterilize the soil, were toxic to animals, and are now prohibited.[16] Newer retardants use ammonium sulfate or ammonium polyphosphate with attapulgite clay thickener or diammonium phosphate with a guar gum derivative thickener. These are not only less toxic but act as fertilizers to help the regrowth of plants after the fire. Fire retardants often contain wetting agents, preservatives and rust inhibitors and are colored red with ferric oxide or fugitive color to mark where they have been dropped. Brand names of fire retardants for aerial application include Fire-Trol and Phos-Chek.

    Like so many metaloids, trace amounts of boron is good for living things, especially plants---but beyond a certain point they become rather toxic. I know from personal experience, my well has boron in it; I can drink it, water the lawn, but it will stunt and eventually kill trees.

    Again; I wouldn't even bother asking a land manager if I could use carpet for any reason, hell most geotex is pretty cheap.
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  9. #9
    Ride da mOOn Moderator
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    Good job!

    It might attract...

    ...carpet cleaning rug munchers!... LOL

    Depending how you look at it might be a great thing

  10. #10
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    It just seems like a big recycling issue that does not have any positive value re trail/drainage work. People in the past dumped and half-buried it in the suburban woods where we ride; it seems to last forever but looks like sh*t. I've used filter cloth in connection with drain tile in a few spots, but mostly grading things correctly is what works best.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEPMTBA View Post
    It might attract...
    RUG RATS!!! Oh the horror of off leash rug rats all over the trails. And you thought dog [email protected] was bad....

  12. #12
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    I've seen discarded carpet in trail beds and what bothers me about it is the fibers dislodging from the backing and scattering all over the place (cut-pile carpet). Looks like crap.

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