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With this being the annual "Trouble Shooting Guide," I thought it would be appropriate to understand just what a trouble-shooter is. In Webster's New World Dictionary, a troubleshooter is defined as "a person charged with locating and eliminating the source of trouble in any flow of work." An Americanism, which means: We came up with it, an original from the US of A! What's real strange is that troublemaker comes before it and troublesome comes after it in the dictionary. Pretty much sums up the average day in the field in our industry! I, like many of you, have been at times in my career called all three on the same day, on the same job site. So for all you trouble types, here is, hopefully, some useful pictorial information. Let's play "You Make the Call; What's Wrong with This Picture?"

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Photo 1 is of the bottom side subfloor looking up from the basement between the joists in a residential installation. The subfloor started to squeak shortly after the installation of subfloor and sheet goods. We see an OSB product and what else? Look for the underlayment fasteners. Do you see them yet? Sure you do, and what do we see? That the staples are sticking out a good 1/2 inch past the subfloor. Many of you will say, "And what's wrong with that?" Any mechanical fastener to include nails, spikes, staples and cleats do not work well (long term) then the fastener is exposed past the material it is meant to hold on tight with. What else is wrong with this picture? The type of staple used is a chisel point; divergent should have been used.

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Photos 2, 2a and 2b are of a commercial carpet installation. What's wromg with these pictures? We see a doorway and a seam. Doorways and seams go together about as well as oil and water. Due to the high traffic patterns expected in doorways, it is never a good idea to place seems in or around them. The pivoting foot traffic puts unusually high loads on the seam juncture.



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Photo 3 is the left side of the doorway, and what do we see? Photo 3a is the middle of the doorway and Photo 3b is the right side of the doorway.



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In all three of these photos there is at least one seam visible. In two of them there are two seams. So what's going on here? Who measured this job?




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Photos 4 and 5 are close-ups of two of the most visible and problematic seams. We won't go into the lack of pattern match that would most likely go hand in hand with who measured it! If you're short of material, please speak up! I have never met a mechanic that wants to put a fill piece that's only 2 feet long nor have I met one that would put two of them next to each other.



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If you have no other choice while on the job then please put them as far away from doorways and pivot points as you can. Seams, when done right, take time and we all know time is money. If you have time to do it, then do it right. If you don't have time, then don't do it wrong. Seam sealer was not used so what's going to stop the seams from coming apart? Gravity will only hold the carpet in place for so long.

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If what you saw in these photos does not bother you, then please, "You Make the Call" to your local floor covering distributor and ask them about the local CFI chapter meetings or talk to any of the carpet mills whose product you make look good every day you're installing. But if you're reading this, then turning a few more pages to the "Installation and Training" section will be the best first step you have made today! Thanks again for reading "You Make the Call." Have a great day!