Every manufacturer produces patterned carpet. It’s here to stay and appears to have taken a strong foothold in both the commercial and residential marketplace. There are manufacturers whose product lines are close to being 100% patterned goods. When we meet with the design and architectural communities, patterned carpet installation is always a topic of discussion. They never seem to quite understand the importance of the skills associated with this type of installation.

The installation of patterns always requires more skill, more knowledge, different tools and more manpower than a solid carpet. When consideration isn’t given to a detailed diagram, complete with cuts designating the pattern match, installers find this a real nightmare. If we don’t receive ample carpet, it doesn’t work, period!

I agree patterned carpets are more difficult to install, no doubt about it. However, if we arrive prepared and work closely with designers, dealers and contractors who understand the value of a matched pattern, then this type of installation becomes a work of art.

We receive patterns that cannot be matched - I don’t care who is doing the work. If the carpet was constructed by hand and you achieve a pattern match, call me; I’d like to see this.

Specialty backings added to the carpet’s construction also pose a problem for installers. Many times, the point of sale personnel seem to find a layout that is impossible for us to install properly. All of this is true, but I find that the most common complaint for not achieving the desired appearance is when installers without the skill and training for this type of carpet are sent to perform the work. Often, there is not sufficient manpower, tools or time to achieve pattern alignment. If the onsite personnel do not thoroughly understand the requirements, respect the workspace, and realize that NO ONE can walk on the carpet during installation, then we are doomed to failure.

The one thing that the CFI continuously promotes is the importance of skill and knowledge. CFI-certified installers can immediately identify an imminent problem as soon as they arrive on the site. It’s been my experience that manufacturers believe in the job we do and if possible, will work with us to satisfy the customer and finish the job on time.

While inspecting patterned carpet installations, I often hear installers saying, “This is what I received and this is the way we installed it. Not my fault. I didn’t put the bow or skew in this carpet and no one is paying me enough to take it out.” I guess I don’t understand the mentality of a dealer or contractor who would send this type of installer to a site when customer satisfaction is the ultimate goal.

We are partners. We must work with the industry to achieve customer satisfaction. I understand that often the pattern is not within manufacturing tolerances, but if you bid the work correctly and knew what you were going to install, then you would have allowed for ample time to work the pattern. If it becomes more difficult than the time allowed, then contact our partners at the mill. Explain the additional time involved and be certain that you explain the problem in a professional manner. Understand the terms bow, skew and pattern elongation, and speak intelligently. I can almost guarantee you that if the technical personnel at the mill can communicate with you, then they will understand your dilemma. They would much rather get the job installed and if possible, satisfy the customer, than to stop the work.

It’s always OUR customer who suffers. It’s our name that is on that horrible installation; we can’t run from it and blaming others still leaves your work on display. Next time, we’ll talk about manufacturing tolerances that vary substantially for patterned carpet.