A Carpet Installer's Notebook

Illustration 1

A friend called saying he had a job coming up with a carpet he had never worked with and wondered if I could help him with it. A highly skilled installer with a lot of experience installing patterns and woven goods, he is wise enough to ask for help when he runs up against something he's not familiar with. He told me what was involved and I said, "Sure sounds like fun."

Photo 1
Boucl?iltons, or as they are more commonly known, Flatweaves, can be intimidating at first glance. Not much more than a 1/8-inch thick, they require some special handling, starting with the tackless strip.

Photo 2
Tackless strip is manufactured with four different pin lengths and four different widths of wood: 3/4-inch (2 rows of pins), 1 inch (2 rows of pins), 1 1/2- inch Tri-tack (3 rows of pins), and 2 inch Commercial or Architectural (3 rows of pins).

Photo 3
The pin length extending above the wood surface is as follows: C pin 1/4-inch, E pin 7/32-inch, D pin 3/16-inch, and J pin 5/32-inch.

Photo 4
Halex also makes an aluminum tackless strip with the pins 1/8-inch. (Illustration 1)

Photo 5
With a flat weave, you want to use the shortest pin length possible to prevent the pins from penetrating entirely though the carpet and distorting the face.

Photo 6
In this case, the shortest pin length available from our local distributor was D pin Tri-tack. It was still too long for this material.

Photo 7
To resolve the problem we used a layer of scribing felt as a shim to shorten the pin length. Using the width of my straight edge as a guide, I cut 3-inch wide strips of the scribing felt (Photo 1).

Photo 8
Next I placed the strips over the tackless, leaving the gully between the strip and wall uncovered. I then rolled it with a star-wheel roller to seat the scribing felt on the pins (Photo 2). This was done around the entire room (Photo 3). The 3-inch width allowed us to staple the edge of the scribing felt down to prevent movement.

Photo 9
It's important to mention here that your gully between the strip and the wall needs to be much tighter than normal, about the same as the carpet thickness. If you look at it and think "Whoa, that's way too small a gap," it's probably just right.

When it came to cutting the seams, we first tried scissors (Photo 4), but found that a 303-loop-pile cutter (Photo 5) gave us a cleaner seam edge (Photo 6). I mention that particular loop-pile cutter because its blade angle gave a cleaner cut than others did. The edges were sealed with hot-melt thermoplastic adhesive using one of the sealing tips we talked about in the Sept/Oct issue (Photo 7). The seams were constructed with a low profile seaming tape (Photo 8). When you hear low profile, it just means less thermoplastic adhesive or a lighter tape. With this carpet a "premium" tape would have too much glue and cause a profiling problem.

The job was stretched in using the techniques we discussed in the July/Aug issue "Seampeaking Causes and Solutions." A cotton head attachment was used on the power stretcher to prevent damage from the stretcher teeth (Photo 9). This is vital. If you don't use a cotton head on this carpet, you are not just asking for trouble, you are in trouble!