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It’s the last thing to be installed before your tools get put away; it was either wall base or carpet base and pretty much was installed the same. Carpet base (years ago) had an advantage because the length was determined by the roll size of the carpet. Wall base was (years ago) manufactured in four-foot lengths but that too changed, and 120-foot coils are available to speed the installation process. As a visual extension of the flooring to the transitioning from a horizontal to the vertical plane, wall/cove base has come a long way in a relatively short time.

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One manufacturer has reinvented it now, calling it “Finishing Boarders,” not wall/cove base. The color pallet in wall/cove base alone has gone from 4 basic colors to 75+ with more being offered each year. Believe it or not there is a “Color Group” whose sole purpose is to invent colors and give them names. I’m not kidding; this is for real! Life was a lot simpler 30 years ago when all you had was black, brown, white and two shades of gray. If you wanted to customize the carpet job you had base made from the carpet, cut into strips and bound. Designers loved it and most installers hated having to cut it and then make an extra trip to pick it up after it was bound. That’s what helpers were good for, picking up and installing the carpet/wall/cove base.

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The cutting of wall/cove base (rubber or vinyl) has changed from a straight edge, utility knife, gouge tool and scribe to a mobile compound miter saw, a protractor and a calibrated eye to properly install some of the more difficult wall base profiles. Other tools have been invented to make the forming of inside and outside corners on the job site easer. Installing the higher end wall base products has become more of an art form and should not be left to the helper who has limited experience. 

The making of carpet base has also evolved into multi-cutting machines that (in some cases) can applying peal-n-stick, pressure-sensitive adhesive all on the same machine. Binding the top edge on carpet base is still done on a binding machine one edge at a time, but I’m sure that would change if the need were foreseen. Also there is a product that can give the bound look without the need of a binding machine; that makes custom work possible on the job!

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But let’s look at a few installations of carpet base that have shortcomings that could have been avoided. In Photo 1 we see carpet base falling off the wall in a commercial application. Photo 2 shows the staple heads sticking out from the carpet. Why is this happening, and what woulda, shoulda, coulda been done to prevent this?  “You Make the Call.”

Photos 3 and 4 show what’s going on behind the scene: looks like the double-sided tape lost its grab! But no that’s not booger tape; that’s packing tape that the binder used to hold the roll of carpet base together. Who would be that lazy, not to remove the tape? Also is tacking the carpet base up with ½ staples recommended by anyone? Good luck with that one; I spent hours trying to answer that question. I was always under the impression that you used cove base adhesive to put up carpet base. The only reason you would use your tacker or stapler was to hold it in place while the glue dried! So I thought my good friend Mike Hetts could help me out with some answers!  Well it seems that the re-write on CRI 104’s tenth addition is being done as we speak and this is a topic of discussion.  Hospitality markets would like to eliminate the glue from carpet base because of the damage to the wall when removing the old base! That’s a good idea, I think. Plus any time you can eliminate working on newly installed rug with glue, that is a good thing.

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Photo 5 shows a white line at the bottom of the base. This is caused by not installing the base tight to the floor. Or is it because the staples did not hold it down tight? Take your pick; they both could be right. Photo 6 is a close-up that shows loose secondary yarn just waiting to be sucked up into the vacuum.

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Photos 7 and 8 are of…well it’s where a 90-degree corner was attempted (in the carpet base) but did not fare very well. This is when paying attention in Geometry would have paid off.

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Bisecting the angle is the term, splitting the angle in two equal parts is what you do. This unsightly termination would hold up if a hot glue gun had been used to mend the cut edges back together.

 Have a great day and thanks again for reading “You Make the Call.”