A Carpet Installer's Notebook


This month's featured installations both require binding. In the first, the upper hall is 35 feet long installed wall-to-wall (Photo 1).

The stairs are to be a runner and the designer wants the carpet to transition from wall-to-wall to the runner over the top step (Photo 2).

The second, a custom stair runner with pie stairs using pattern wool Berber, in a hundred-year-old house with the upper hall as an installed runner (Photo 3). The problem there is lining up the pattern in the three bedrooms installed off the hall. The carpet has to be cut onsite for the match, the pie-shape stairs need to be cut on site to line up with the straight runners. What to do? In the first case, maybe you could precut the hall and the stair runner, send it to the binder before hand, which is a fairly easy fix there.

But, what to do in the second case? You could tear the lady’s house up, layout and cut the hallway so you can line up the bedroom patterns with the hall, and then install the bedrooms.

Next, you would need to half install the stairs so you can cut the pie runners to line up, then take the upper hall and stairs to the binder, leave the house half done for two to 10 days while the binding gets done. Finally, you would need to make a second trip back, losing a day’s work, to finish the job. That’s a pain in the…well you know. Another option is using a method of finishing the edge with out a binding machine called Instabind.

Invented by a couple of installers to solve this type of problem, Instabind doesn’t replace machine binding in either speed or cost, but can eliminate some of the restrictions of machine binding.

It is an easy product to use and comes in three styles: binding, serging, and rope. The basic Instabind is 3-inch binding tape secured around a piping to give it body; the remaining flap has an inch-wide strip of very aggressive double face, pressure-sensitive tape.

This is the same tape that is used to install stairtreads. To install the Instabind is a two-step process. First, peel the paper off the tape (Photo 4) and apply the flap to the back of the carpet. Second; fold the Instabind, in this case rope, back (Photo 5) and apply a bead of hot glue to the cut edge of the carpet. It is best to use clear glue sticks and an extension nozzle on your glue guns.

This step accomplishes two things: 1. it seals the edge of the carpet; and 2. it locks the Instabind to the edge of the carpet. Corners? This is pretty easy; make a relief cut in the back flap, and follow around the corner either an inside or outside corner (Photos 6, 7 and 8), and unlike machine binding, you don’t have cut a slot into the carpet field to allow the machine to make the inside corner.

I found pinching the corner with a pair of pliers helped to make a nice shaped corner (Photos 9 and 10). Joining edges together is not difficult, but with the serging and rope, it’s best to take a little care to make a clean edge.

Tape each side to be cut with masking tape and cut through the tape (Photo 11); place a bead of hot glue on the cut edge (Photo 12), and smooth it with the side of your glue gun nozzle.

This will stop any fraying (Photo 13) and makes a nice clean seam (Photo 14). Remember those pie-shaped stairs? Another nice thing about this product is you can bind those stairs in place once they are cut (Photo 15).

Just a couple of other quick tips: When applying the hot-glue to the edge, use a board to hold the Instabind in place for the 10-15 seconds needed for the glue to grab, as you move forward (Photo 16).

Take a little time to seal the cut edges; it stops fraying and makes a much nicer finished product. (Photos 17 and 18)

The finished product left the lady of the house thrilled with the custom look of the rope Instabind, which is not something you can offer with machine binding (Photos 3 and 19).