A Carpet Installer's Notebook

Photo 1

Photo 2
It was a beautiful two-story entryway. A dramatic cherry wood staircase, the first 12 stairs about 15 degrees off the 90-degree turn at the landing, then five stairs up from the landing to the second floor.

Photo 3
But, and you knew there had to be a but, the landing except for the stair nose was plywood!

Photo 4
Why they do this I don’t know; you see it all the time. What would it take, 15 or 20 square feet to do the landing?

Photo 5
Then you could do anything with the staircase; runners, wall-to-wall, or leave it bare.

Photo 6
It seems like leaving the staircase half finished.

Photo 7
In this case, the decorator wanted a machine made oriental pattern runner to highlight the wood's beauty.

Photo 8
The landing presented a problem because of the plywood.

Photo 9
Normally, it's not a problem; miter the corners on the landing and be done with it.

Photo 10
We were left with a couple of choices; wall-to-wall for the landing, but then you lose the runner look.

Photo 11
Added to the problem was the fact that this product only came in runners and area rugs.

Photo 12
The solution? Well, it's a bit complicated, but; buy an area rug, cut off the border, buy extra runner, and cut off their borders.

Photo 13
Then border the landing with the stair runner borders, but bring it over the nose as a runner, exposing the cherry wood stair nose and matching up to the runner.

The first thing was to make a pattern of the landing (Photo 1) using the wide side of a carpenter's square to transfer the landing perimeter to the scribing felt. The pattern was then cut down to the line two inches short of the finished size (Photo 2). The pattern was placed upside down on the back of the landing field piece; it was cut to the landing size (Photo 3), then reduced the width of the border.

The method chosen to attach the border to the field was to hot glue it together from the back, using a special glue gun tip from Carder Industries (Photo 4). This tip has a fin in the middle, like a vinyl seam sealer bottle; this fin opens the seam allowing hot melt glue to seal the two edges, as you pull it toward you. The flat backside smoothes out the glue leaving an inch-wide band securing the two pieces of carpet together (Photo 5).

After the rug was complete, I applied Fiberglas webbing to further secure the seam, using the flat portion of the tip to spread the hot glue (Photo 6). After that was done, I used a seaming iron to completely flatten the glue on the seams (Photo 7).

Once everything was put together, the corners had to be finished. This product was serged not bound, so the next course of action was to hand serge the raw corners (Photo 8).

Photo 14
It's not as difficult as it first sounds; serging is after only a tight whipstitch.

Photo 15
First strip the serging off a waste edge to get the matching thread needed (Photo 9). Use the thread doubled; this makes the serging go faster.

Photo 16
Use a dab of latex to compress the two threads then cut the thread on an angle (Photos 10 and 11). This makes it much easier to thread the needle. Serge the corners; remember it’s just a whipstitch (Photos 12 and 13). In this case, the mitered corner needed a little help from a marker to clean it up (Photo 14), as well as the finished corner (Photo 15).

The pattern is lying on the finished carpet. The distance between the pattern and the finished edge is the width of the carpenter's square used to make the pattern (Photo 16). The landing was then completed via double glue installation.