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Within weeks of a residential carpet installation, the customer complains of hard areas on the surface of the carpet and other areas of the installation where the carpet is coming apart and the yarn is letting loose and unraveling.

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The retailer believes that the carpet is defective, and an inspector is called. This is what is seen in the below-grade (basement) strip-n-pad installation. Photo 1 shows just one side of the room; Photos 2 and 3 show hard spots along the wall; Photos 4 and 5 show the areas where the yarn is letting loose. Any ideas yet as to the problem with this installation? Did I give you enough information?

You Make the Call!

The areas with hard spots are along the edges of the wall where the carpet has been tucked into the strip, as shown in Photos 2 and 3. The hard areas are 2-3 inches wide and as long as the edge runs out for that drop.



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Photos 6a and 6b are this same area under ultraviolet (UV) illumination (black light). Photo 7 is what you see when the carpet was pulled back. Photo 8 is when the pulled back piece is laid back down (loose), and a 3-inch-by-4-inch sample has been removed. Some of you will know what the problem is, and probably laugh at it, but hold on; it is not always the obvious that is the problem. Photos 4 and 5 were easy to determine; she has a dog that loves to dig.

Of course, that is not installation related. But what about the hard spots? Most of us would say this is installation related; they put it down, so they own it. But what is it that they own? Photos 6a and 6b show the hard spots, and their UV image looks like someone went crazy with the latex seam sealer.

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Well, you’re half right; this is a carpet that did not have the salvage edge cut away before it was installed. As we all know, the mills recommend anywhere from 11/2 to 3 inches be cut off both sides before installation. Well, this was not done, so we ask “Why not?” To some, the answer is obvious; to other, it is not so. After several Q&As with both the retailer and the installer, the real reason for this came out: there was not enough carpet.

How many times has this happened to you? A call to the office from an installer on the job site who says, “I don’t have enough carpet to do this job right. The salesperson/estimator must have been blind.” I would venture to say that it (the phone call) does not happen as much as it should.



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Communication between all parties in the chain is a vital element for proper and just servicing of the customer’s needs. Whether it is on-site or knocking off a set of blueprints, estimating is quite possibly the single most important action that can make or break any given job. Nothing begins and everything depends on proper estimation of what will be and not be needed on a job site.



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This may appear to be a simple installation-related problem, but it’s not. The installer called in that he was short and asked what to do. He was told to just get it in. In doing so, he compromised his quality of workmanship for the lack of a proper measurement.

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If you have to charge more than the other guys, in order to do it right, then explain to the end user why there is 10 percent more carpet needed to do their room in accordance with CRI guidelines. Most of the time, the customer will understand quality when they are given a choice to do it right, or like the other guy.

If you are an estimator and have not spent time on the floor, then you need to spend a day or two with your installers. As an estimator, you can make a bad day look good by having everything on paper correctly for your installer. You can even help him make more money by giving him all the information he needs, and should have. He or she will thank you for doing your job as a true professional, which in turn allows them to do their job at the same level.

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If you are an estimator and have not spent time on the floor, then you need to spend a day or two with your installers. As an estimator, you can make a bad day look good by having everything on paper correctly for your installer. You can even help him make more money by giving him all the information he needs, and should have. He or she will thank you for doing your job as a true professional, which in turn allows them to do their job at the same level.