CARPET INSTALLATION PROBLEMS CAN BE AVOIDED
To alleviate the wasted time of problems resulting from the improper selection of materials to the improper installation, it is the Consumer’s responsibility to be properly informed of the purchase. One way to be assured of receiving quality floor coverings and a professional installation is to deal with reputable firms who will charge a fair and reasonable price for all materials and installation services. Firms that are proud to provide quality installation at additional cost are aware that by doing so they have created one more satisfied customer who will return to purchase again.
Purchasing flooring at “special prices,” “reduced prices,” “give-away prices” and “FREE” as some stores would lead one to believe, often result in dissatisfaction. Remember, that quality craftsmanship is NEVER obtained at the lowest price. Don’t attempt to “save” on installation when you KNOW you will be looking at the workmanship for possibly ten years! It just doesn’t make sense. If you divide the years of use into the total cost of your purchase, floorcovering and quality installation are not expensive. BE INFORMED!
Refer to the website of the International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association, the CFI, for the names of Associate Members of the organization that promote quality flooring installation.
You have a right to expect performance from your purchase, but do NOT believe advertising that would claim carpet is indestructible! You walk on it, it is abused and it must be maintained! This is just plain common sense. Treat the flooring properly! It is not “bullet-proof,” no matter what you have been led to believe!
Investigate the qualities of the carpet that will provide endurance and beauty. You are making a costly purchase, it is your responsibility to purchase wisely.
1. BUBBLES, LOOSENESS, BUCKLES, RIPPLES, WRINKLES
If incorrect cushion was installed, IT MUST BE REPLACED! However, the Installer can remove the bubbles or looseness, but the work cannot be guaranteed. The problem may surface again.
A powerstretcher is to be used. Kneekickers will NOT stretch the carpet. In many cases, because of the carpet backing, it may be necessary to install two sections of one-inch wide tackstrip or architectural tackstrip to stretch the carpet correctly.
The Installer is to powerstretch the room in four directions. The room is to be completely empty of all furniture. The Installer should be prepared to reconstruct the seams, if necessary. Carpet seamed to carpet that is not properly powerstretched or loose in an adjoining room usually will not maintain the stretch.
When the correct restretching procedure is followed, the cost should be the same or more than the original installation. The restretch work should carry a minimum one-year installation warranty IF the correct cushion is used. If not, the work cannot be guaranteed and the problem will reappear.
Delamination occurs when the primary backing releases from the secondary backing. Bubbles or looseness appear which cannot be removed by stretching.
The Installer should push the bubble to the wall. If this is possible, the carpet has not delaminated, but requires restretching. However, if the bubble suddenly stops and the Installer’s hand moves over the bubble, this indicates delamination. If the condition is not severe, the carpet can be removed from the tackstrip and folded back. Latex is to be applied to the delaminated or loose, area. A heat gun may be used to accelerate the drying of the latex. The carpet is reinstalled. This type of repair is for small areas of delamination. If delamination occurs in a large area or several small areas, the carpet could be classified as defective.
3. PROBLEMS THAT OCCUR WITH THE USE OF AN IMPROPER CUSHION
A. FURNITURE INDENTATIONS: Backing is stretched when heavy furniture comes in contact with the face pile. This is noticed when the furniture is periodically moved and the indentation remains. With extremely heavy articles, indentations are an inherent characteristic.
Indentations may be removed by applying steam. In most cases, synthetic fibers can be lifted and restored to an acceptable appearance. If the condition is severe, this action may not work. If the cushion is too soft or too thick, this corrective procedure will have no effect. To eliminate future problems, the cushion will require replacement.
B. FATIGUE: A very soft cushion will create a feeling of “walking in sand” and make one tired. Too many times, the customer is SOLD on the idea that they need a “cushion into which they can sink.” This is a misconception. A firmer cushion will provide the qualities that are discussed in this section.
The only solution to this problem is to replace the cushion with a denser product.
C. CARPET FIBERS ARE MATTED AND CRUSHED: The face fibers are receiving the constant load which causing crushing and matting because the cushion is too soft. The correct cushion will enhance the appearance of the carpet and support the backing, which increases the durability of the product.
The only solution to this problem is to replace the cushion with a product that is recommended for the type of installation involved.
D. SPLITTING OR OPEN SEAMS: Because of the vertical movement in the soft cushion, the seaming tape will split. This is not an installation-related problem if an incorrect cushion was installed. A “trampoline” effect has been created.
The furniture is to be removed from the room and the carpet removed from the tackstrip. Remove the existing seaming tape, reconstruct the seam and reinstall the carpet. However, this is a temporary repair because the cushion allows too much movement. This situation will occur again. A cushion product that is suitable for the installation should replace the cushion.
IN MANY OF THE ABOVE SCENARIOS, EVEN IF THE CARPET IS RESTRETCHED, A FUTURE RESTRETCH CAN BE ANTICIPATED BECAUSE OF THE VERTICAL MOVEMENT THE CARPET. KNOW THE QUALITIES OF THE SELECTED CUSHION.
4. STAINS, SPOTS and MAINTENANCE
At the time of purchase, ask for cleaning and maintenance instructions. The Manufacturer of the flooring provides them. For future reference, keep all information on file.
5. CARPET DOES NOT MATCH AT THE SEAM BECAUSE:
The carpet sections are not from the same dye-lot
The sequence of the roll numbers is not followed
The carpet pile does not run the same direction to achieve an acceptable side match
The installer is not qualified to perform the work
One way to determine if the pile is running the same direction is to lay a paper on one side of the seam. Roll a pencil on top of it and the paper will move in the direction of the pile. Repeat this procedure on the other side of the seam. If the carpet does not move in the direction of the other section, a problem may exist. There are circumstances where this may not work, but in most cases it is a good indicator.
Manufacturing variations in tufting, dyeing, printing or shearing may cause a color, texture or pattern mismatch at the seam. These problems are generally noticeable during the installation of the carpet. At that time, continuing the installation should be discussed. If this occurs, be certain you understand how much time is involved in waiting for the replacement carpet.
Many Manufacturers do not guarantee an exact pattern match. Question the Salesperson at the time of the purchase concerning the specifics of YOUR purchase. It is advisable to ask for this in writing if an exact match is expected.
6. CARPET IS NOT TRIMMED SMOOTHLY AROUND PERIMETER OF THE ROOM
This results from the installation process and if the carpet has not been cut short, it is easily remedied. Contact the Retailer and request that the Installer trim the areas properly.
7. CARPET IS ‘SMILING” ON THE STAIR CASE
Certain types of carpet are not designed for installation on stairs. This must be discussed at the time of the sale. It is too late once the installation commences. Carpet is constructed in rows and when folded around the curvature of the stair, in some designs, the row is very noticeable. It is suggested that if the carpet is to be installed on a staircase, that you fold the carpet in the store and decide at that time if you will be satisfied with this type of appearance. It is not an installation problem.
8. STAPLES ARE VISIBLE THROUGHOUT THE INSTALLATION
The electric tacker is one of the most misused of the Installer’s tools. When properly used, it assists in achieving a beautiful installation. When improperly used to speed up the installation, the carpets fibers are stapled flat and the uniform appearance disappears. There is nothing more unsightly than to look up at an upholstered ledge from a lower floor in a beautiful carpet and see dimples and staples in the installation.
When used by an Installer, who is not a craftsman, this becomes a quick way at attaching carpet to the stairs and ledges and displays a very unsightly appearance. Instead of creating a fine upholstered stair much like an upholstered piece of furniture, the untrained Installer decides to staple all sections of the carpet without planning his installation. REMEMBER, fine upholstered furniture is costly, so are beautiful upholstered staircases. Each requires the time of the craftsman. The beautiful staircase with the rounded corners will become a conversational piece in the home or office for many years.
Before the work begins, be certain that your staircase has been constructed in a manner that will allow the Installer to provide a beautiful installation. Today, we are discovering that some Builders are not allowing ample edges over which to upholster.
9. “DIMPLES” APPEAR AROUND THE PERIMETER OF THE ROOM
This is a sign that the unqualified Installer has stapled the carpet to the tackstrip, which is not acceptable. The removal of these staples is time-consuming. The Installer selected this unacceptable method of securing the carpet to the tackstrip instead of using a powerstretcher, which is recommended. There is also a possibility that tackstrip with the incorrect pins was used.
10. SMALL HOLES APPEAR IN THE CARPET AROUND THE ROOM PERIMETER
A tool referred to as a “Spike” causes these. This is attached to the powerstretcher pole and is hooked onto the tackstrip and “digs” its way into the flooring leaving holes in the carpet, cushion and subfloor. This is not an acceptable installation practice. Inserting tufts may repair the holes.
Holes will also appear in areas near the wall or seam that are the result of bent kneekicker or powerstretcher pins.
11. THE DIRECT GLUE INSTALLATION HAS BUBBLES AND IS LOOSE
The number one problem with direct glue installations is the lack of sufficient adhesive on the floor providing a complete transfer of adhesive from the floor onto the backing of the carpet. The floor must be entirely covered as well as the backing of the carpet. Many times, an incorrect sized-notched trowel or the wrong shape of trowel is used which does not distribute sufficient adhesive. This will result in bubbles, which will occur throughout the installation.
Also, it is critical that no one walk or move items on a new adhesive installation for 24-hours as problems will surface in the future because of this action.
12. RAVELING OCCURS ALONG THE SEAMED EDGES
The Installer is required to seal all seamed edges in ALL installations unless otherwise directed by the Manufacturer of the Carpet. If you are uncertain, ask for the installation specifications at the time of the sale. By running a bead of latex or sealer along the trimmed edges, the loose fibers are sealed and raveling will not occur. When the procedure is omitted, delamination or looseness may occur at seams. This is a critical part of the installation process.
In areas where the carpet is installed in a direct-glue manner and adjoins ceramic tile, it is necessary for the Installer to apply seal sealer to the edges of the ceramic tile and compress the carpet into the seam sealer. This eliminates raveling.