All flooring installers have encountered situations throughout their careers that demanded special and immediate attention. Perhaps it was a problem that called for immediate resolution, or perhaps the product arrived somewhat differently than expected. It may also have been an area that did not match what was ordered or any number of situations in which the professional installers always appear to find a way to make it work.
tips are very helpful; flooring installers sharing with others makes everyone’s
work easier. We have received an abundance of ideas from installers who gladly
share techniques that work for them. It
is possible that they may not work for you.
But, just in case you encounter a situation on the job; perhaps you’ll
remember someone’s proven method that worked for them just at the right moment
to achieve the ultimate goal, customer satisfaction.
Carpet Installation Tips
(GA), Shaw Industries Technical Department
installing SoftBac carpet, use a low-profile seaming tape with a low melting
point for better penetration through the fleece. Use the low-profile tape with a glue stick
that also has a low melting point to seal the seam edges on a stretch-in
installation and eliminate the opening of the seam.
not as heat sensitive as conventional backings.
It is not harmed by seaming at iron settings up to 3-3 ½. The hot-melt glue must penetrate completely
through the fleece and into the woven part of the backing; the part under the
fleece that looks like ActionBac. The
hot-melt must penetrate the entire backing!
Otherwise, the seam may pull open. Because the actual temperature may
vary from iron to iron, the installer must gauge the iron to find the proper
setting. Let the seaming tape cool
before stretching. SoftBac insulates
better than other backings and the seams cool a little slower. Touch the tape instead of the carpet. If you stretch before the tape cools, the
seam may pull open. This is also true to a lesser extent with other backings.
If it is
necessary to net fit the side of the cut when rolling the carpet out in the
room, place a hook-blade knife or hammer under the edge of the carpet. Position the tool to lean gently on the wall,
ahead of the power stretcher. This keeps the carpet edge rolled upward. It will not be necessary to keep your hand rolling
the edge up so the carpet goes up the wall line to hook properly on the
tackstrip. This will avoid butting and
creating a bubble along the tackstrip as you move along. Slide the wedge tool of choice down the wall
line during the stretch. This procedure also works when restretching carpet.
Ed Braile (MO)
the moisture! During installation, to
avoid water seeping under carpet that abuts to a hard surface, run a bead of
seam sealer along the edges of the carpet and along the edge of the ceramic
tile. Next, attach the carpet to the edge.
The carpet will remain tightly adhered when the hard surface is wet
mopped or a vacuum is moved across the two floorings. To avoid unsightly carpet edges, use this
technique during the installation.
moisture from entering under the metal trim, apply a bead of caulking under the
metal during the installation. When the
area is cleaned with a liquid, this procedure prevents moisture from going
under the metal and through the carpet; creating a soiled appearance.
from building up the side of the iron. Before plugging in the seaming iron,
spray it with silicone weekly to keep latex from building up on the side. The
procedure is required more often if a large amount of seaming is involved.
Use an air
mover to position carpet. When a situation is encountered that will not allow
the carpet to slide easily across the cushion, use a leaf blower or an air
mover to insert air under the corner of the carpet. The carpet will move into position easily.
Nate Hall (WI)
time! Do not risk using solvents when adhesive finds its way onto the surface
of vinyl or vinyl tile and becomes dry. Use duct tape from your “First-Aid Kit”
and dab the adhesive away by using the sticky side of the tape. Pad tape also works. If your helper scuffed or smudged the walls
AGAIN, try Mr. Clean’s “Magic Eraser.” It has saved me a few times!
the unsightliness of stair treads and risers that are more than an inch away
from the skirt (wall), use commercial/architectural tackstrip to bridge this
gap. To bridge the gap on the risers, for the “cap-and-band” stair
installation style, use flashing (light gauge metal) and bend the
edge on one end. Next, adhere it against
the skirt (wall) with liquid nails or hot glue.
the grossly, unlevel “ramps” in above grade (upstairs or pier and beam)
subfloors, fill in the low spots and create a “form” on the low side. This is done by installing plywood/osb before
pouring the floor fill. This procedure saves time, uses less floor fill
and creates a more structurally sound substrate for the flooring installation.
the baseboards are too high, especially with the low-profile broadloom goods
that are popular today? Cut strips of
cushion to achieve the appropriate thickness.
Secure these with electric staples in the “gully,” the gap between the
tackstrip and wall.
clean-up easier on the kneekicker pins, try stretching a nylon stocking tightly
over the head of the kicker; the gripper pins will protrude. To clean, simply pull the stocking off and
all the fibers will come with it.
helpful to use a two-headed powerstretcher when stretching in an extra long
room of carpet, such as a basement area that has exposed pole supports.
By using this tool, it stretches evenly away from the pole and doesn’t put the
carpet “in a bind” around the pole.
the task of unloading much easier, lay a sheet of plastic under the roll of
carpet in the truck or van. It will
slide out easily, instead of dragging or binding.
installation, use lemon oil to wipe down the wooden base to help get rid of the
minor "white" scratches that carpet backing can sometimes
If you get
a slight scruff (which is almost inevitable), when installing carpet with white
painted base, use "white-out" to touch up the base. To any
non-typists, this product can be found at a very reasonable price where office
supplies are sold.
must know the type of carpet and backing in order to make certain a profit is
made and to present an accurate bid for the job. For example, a Unitary-backed
carpet requires a premium-grade adhesive, a heavier notched trowel and it must
be rolled twice; the first time immediately after installation and the second
time, three to twelve-hours later. The
carpet and backing type must be addressed to present an accurate cost because
of the additional installation time required, as well as the increase in cost
for the specified adhesive product.
Miles (GA), Technical Services – Clayton Miller Hospitality Carpets
way to position the seam tape under the two sections of carpet to be seamed is
to lay both sections side by side. They
must be close together, but not touching.
Next, insert the seam tape under the seam at one end. Use an awl to drag the seam tape the length
of the seam.
Burnett (GA), Customer Relations Manager J&J / Invision Carpet
installing Enhancer-type backings with fleece, it can be next to impossible to
move the carpet into position due to old brittle adhesive or rough concrete
“grabbing” the fleece similar to a Velcro action. Over the substrate, lay
out a sheet of plastic that is 10-12 feet wide times the length of the
cut. Next, roll out the carpet out on
top of the plastic. The carpet can then be easily positioned and folded
back to spread adhesive. Remove the
plastic sheet and spread adhesive. Repeat for each sheet.
height of the tackstrip pins. When installing sisal-type or low-profile
carpets, use shorter tackstrip pins; such as D or E-type. If this type of
tackstrip is not available, use a material such as the secondary backing from a
tufted carpet scrap, scribing felt, sheet rock or binding tape to shorten the
height of the tackstrip pins. Position
the material on top of the tackstrip.
Use a carpet tractor or roller to force the backing onto the tackstrip
pins. This procedure shortens the height of the C-pins to avoid pulling loops
from the carpet. It will also prevent
injury to anyone who might step on the tackstrip pins that protrude through the
face of the carpet.
spraying a dry silicone lubricant on the loop-pile cutter, it allows the cutter
to glide through the carpet rows much more smoothly, especially on a hot-melt
backing. A hot-melt backing usually “gums up” the cutter. Remember, it must be a “dry” silicone
lubricant. Have you ever noticed how
your carpet knife and wall trimmer blades seem to "dull" a lot
quicker on certain types of carpet or backing (i.e. hot melt backing)? A simple
solution to this problem is to spray your blades with dry silicone before using
them. Not only will the blades glide
through the carpet, but they will also last longer.
Al Brown (MO)
line will last much longer if you substitute baby powder for the white chalk.
Jim Rank (MO)
some “straight-row” berber styles can be difficult from the front side because
the yarn falls over on itself, making it difficult to part. Sometimes, it is easier to cut the row from
the reverse side of the carpet. You can use a dull flat-headed screwdriver to
locate the rows from the back. Simply run the screwdriver down the reverse side
of the carpet and it will naturally go into the groove (row) and mark it for
cutting. Next, run your cutter along that row from the back.
when installing carpet on “waterfall” steps, you can either place tackstrip
next to the wall or turn under the edge of the carpet to achieve a more “plush”
look. Some carpets are hard to turn because they are so stiff. Use the screwdriver method (as explained in
the previous tip) to score the edge to be turned and thus, make a nicer fold.
double-face tape on the floor under the toe kick to secure the tackstrip when
nailing it to a concrete floor. For installations on a concrete substrate,
use double-face tape to hold the tackstrip in place when using the toe-kick
don’t have a Z-bar carpet trimmer when installing carpet that requires Z-bar
instead of another type of carpet bar; use a scrap section of Z-bar as a guide
to trim the carpet. Install the Z-bar as
normal. Next, take the scrap section of Z-bar, making sure to turn it around
backward and insert it where the carpet would normally be tucked. Use the back
edge of the Z-bar as a straight edge to trim the excess carpet. This procedure
leaves the correct amount of carpet to be tucked.
strip cutters are designed to cut tackstrip that is up to 1-inch wide. When the
job calls for 1-¼" strip, normally it is necessary to purchase wider
cutters. In order to use the
conventional cutters, simply turn the cutter blades around. This provides approximately ¼"
additional length. Many installers use
the 1-¼" wide tackstrip strip with three rows of pins instead of
double-stripping or using the architectural strip.
that trowel! Cut a 1-1/2”to 2” slit in
the top edge of the adhesive bucket. Insert
the trowel and scrape off the adhesive into the bucket. This technique scrapes
the trowel virtually clean.
popcorn noise! When installing pin-less metal for glue-direct carpet on
concrete, run a bead of carpet seam sealer on the back of the metal. Secure with concrete nails to avoid the
always work to just use caution tape to keep people from walking on freshly
glued flooring. I completed a large set
of stair treads and risers in a church and placed caution tape at both the top
and the bottom of the stairs. Minutes
later, a little girl was seen coming down the stairs. When asked if she had
seen the caution tape, she replied, “Yes, and I was being really, really
cautious!” Needless to say, from that
point on, I always add warning signs, such as: WET ADHESIVE UNDER FLOOR - KEEP
Al Brown (MO) (deceased)
increase the shelf life of adhesives, store the buckets upside down. This keeps
the seal airtight. Warning! Check to be sure the lids are on tight before
are often used to keep the carpet from shifting when tubing back glue-down
carpet to spread the adhesive. The
gripper half of a Velcro-strip can be used instead of the stay nails. Use the Velcro-strips to hold one section of
carpet to the other to keep it from shifting.
This is especially helpful on concrete floors.
save a little time when applying cove base?
Instead of using contact cement on your difficult wrap-around outside
corners, try using exterior-grade, double-faced carpet tape. This saves the drying time, as well as the
mess. Just remember that you must use exterior grade tape.
Jim Rank (MO)
bead of liquid nail (or that type of adhesive) with a caulking gun on the floor
the full length of the glue-down carpet bar.
Place the carpet bar into the adhesive, and roll it with a hand roller
to achieve a complete transfer of the adhesive.
To achieve a much stronger bond, gently lift the bar up and lay it on
its side, allowing for flashing of the adhesive and then reapply it with the
roller. If this procedure is followed,
the bar should never release from the floor. To insure that it will not come
up, use a hammer drill to install up to three anchors per bar.
install the hallway first in a home or in any area where several rooms come off
a main hallway. In most cases the
hallway must be done first anyway, especially with patterned goods. But, by
completely installing the hallway first, it will save “down time” by allowing
several work areas to be ready at the same time to keep the entire crew busy.
carpet is out of the manufacturer’s stated tolerances for bow, skew and pattern
elongation, it doesn't necessarily mean that it cannot be properly installed.
It will, however, take a lot more time and effort. By talking with the retailer and the
manufacturer, suggestions can be made to stop further delays or problems with
the job and agree upon additional compensation for the installers’ time. Example: The bow is out of tolerance, but
only on the ends of the carpet. If you
have enough carpet to cut it back to the next pattern, you can eliminate the
“scalloped” look in the pattern after installation.
Bob Lowe (MO)
gaps can appear as you tuck a straight-row berber carpet into the gully between
the tackstrip and the wall. To prevent
this from happening, pull the yarn in the row closest to the wall. This leaves extra backing to tuck and the row
will not break off as easily.
way to avoid the unsightly gaps that appear in straight-row berber carpet is to
set the tackstrip closer to the wall.
This causes the gully to become smaller, preventing the rows in the
carpet from breaking open.
If you do
not have an “anti-sway kit” for your stretcher tubes, you simply place your
stretcher poles through a cardboard carpet tube. Since these tubes are at least 12-feet long,
they keep your stretcher tubes from swaying.
cushion will occasionally have a foreign object, such as a small piece of hard
plastic embedded in it. This causes an
annoying “squeak” or hard spot usually undiscovered until the carpet
installation is complete. There is
something you can do besides remove the entire installation. Use a very small sharp awl to alleviate this
problem. Separate the carpet fibers and
insert the tip of the awl through the backing and into the “hard spot” of the
cushion. Work it around until it is
fingers by holding short concrete nails between the teeth of an ordinary pocket
seaming at a doorway, use an adjustable straightedge. Cut the installed side
first, then overlap the loose, unattached side. Use a utility knife with a NEW
blade. Push it through the bottom
overlapped carpet on both ends and one in the middle. Then flip the carpet over
and connect the small cuts with a straightedge and carpet knife. Seal the edges
and begin seaming. This method
makes up for any bow in the carpet edges and creates a “gapless” seam.
over lap the carpet edges to be seamed on glue-direct seams. This keeps you
from “fighting” to keep them together when they are glued.
Ken Miles (GA)
technique that will assist in achieving an aligned pattern is to count the
patterns to determine which roll to install first.
Chuck Kubich (NE)
gluing down carpet, cover your spreader with grey (duct) tape on the top and
bottom. When finished with the project,
peel off the tape. The only area left to
be cleaned is the teeth on the spreader.
Installation Tips from the Pros - Part 1-- Carpet
March 6, 2009