The day after her new carpet is installed, Mrs. Peak phones the retailer. It seems that something has gone horribly wrong...

The day after her new carpet is installed, Mrs. Peak phones the retailer. She states that the carpet in her living room appears to be different colors on either side of the seam.

Without inspecting the problem, the retailer contacts the carpet mill representative and states that he has a side match problem. The mill rep, also without inspecting the problem, writes up an independent inspection request and forwards it to the mill. The mill contacts an independent inspector, who in turn sets up an inspection appointment with Mrs. Peak.

When the inspector visits the home, he is shown the problem up close (photos 1 and 2). The first thing the inspector notices is the placement of the seam. The seam is running parallel to both the light source coming from the sliding glass doors and windows, and the traffic lanes.

CRI guidelines state that when considering the location of the seam, with regards to traffic lanes, it is better to walk across a seam than along it. They also state that to divert attention from the seams, the placement should not allow the light source to fall across them.

Is this a side match problem that should be addressed by the carpet mill? Do you even see a problem, and if so, who is responsible for it?

You Make the Call!

If you find you are having a difficult time deciding, place a pencil on the seam. With the seam covered, and knowing the light comes in from the right, you should have no problem seeing that no side match condition exists. There is nothing wrong with the color of this carpet from one drop to the next.

Closer inspection of the seam reveals cut loops that are frayed and very visible (photo 3). The backing of one drop overlapping the adjacent drop intermittently at the seam juncture is also visible.

The secondary is laying on top of the primary. This is not a seaming technique recommended by any manufacturer in the carpet industry. Also very noticeable, both with an ultraviolet light source and without, is a complete lack of seam sealer. None was found in the installation.

In most cases like this, a few more square feet of carpet may have been needed for the installer to run the seam the other way. Seam placement should have been discussed with the homeowner during the measuring process, and the appropriate amount of carpet should have been ordered to do the job correctly.

So the questions remain: Who is liable for the installation? Who should fix the problem? How would you handle it?

You Make The Call!