I keep hearing about the economy from installers. It seems some installers find it easy to blame a bad economy for lack of business. When work is down, it means you need to create some. One of the best ways of doing this is repairs. Nothing feeds the ego better than getting a phone call asking you to fix a job that you had previously lost to someone that underbid you. In an effort to cut costs many jobs end up with terrible seam placement. This, on top of a weak labor force makes for a lot of unsightly seams. (Photo 1)
If a seam is correctly installed, you could pull the carpet back and spread adhesive between the carpet and the cushion. In order to correct this, the seam needs to have been properly constructed. In most cases, seams are peaked due to poor construction. (Photo 2)
onstruction. (Photo 2)
Fixing these seams can improve your bottom line. Before you start tearing anything apart, you must understand that you are there for a reason. You are there to solve the issue. The customer doesn’t need to know how bad the other installer was. They would not have called you if they were happy. Make absolutely certain that you can fix the issue. Once you touch it, it is yours. The first thing I tell my customers is that there is no easy “fix.” In most cases, the seam was not sealed and it requires the skills to completely reconstruct it.
Another common “seam” problem is seam placement. Most of the seams that I remake are placed on an angle or directly across the light source of the room. When the installer does this, the light from the window will causes a shadow to be cast directly on the seam. Installers try to pass this off as sidematch or color variation. By the time I get there, placing blame for the issue is a mute point; the customer just wants it fixed. (Photo 3)
Depending on the placement of the seam, the surrounding installation, location and size of the furniture; my repair methods could vary. If the seam is correctly constructed but placed in a bad location, ripping it apart can be tricky. In most cases, there will be gaps in the seam, ledging or overlapping causing the seam to look unsightly.
When you make a decision to remake a seam, you are completely redoing the entire room. After the room is folded back, you must carefully remove the seam tape from the carpet with an iron. It is important to make sure the bottom of the iron is clean. Take your time with this procedure. It is always good to work with someone who is as patient as you are. (Photos 4 and 5)
If we are working with a pattern, we cannot compromise the seam edge. Remember when you are working with a pattern, the alignment of the pattern is the most important thing. It is not always possible to remove a couple of rows from the carpet edge. (Photo 6)
Before we seal the edge, we need to make sure it is clean. After we have removed the seam tape, we are left with glue “chunks.” These need to be removed or you could end up leaving the same mess you walked into. When I seal the seams, I like to use thermoplastic. The peak buster tip has not failed me yet. One thing to remember is to be very careful. In many cases the old seam tape adhesive is already filling a lot of the voids on the carpet edge. By using thermoplastic, we ensure a bond from both edges of the carpet. This is an important step in removing the peak in the seam that was unappreciated when we got there. (Photo 7)
After all this preparation, we are ready to seam the carpet back together. Here we have some more choices. What seaming system should we use? Depending on the situation, I have three choices; (a) use a conventional 3-inch iron; (b) use a 6-inch iron of (c) use a Koolglide iron. All three have advantages for certain situations. For this procedure, I do not use my conventional 3” iron as often. I need it to be clean for removing seam tape from the carpet. When I do use my 3” iron, I like to make sure I use a seam tape with urethane in the adhesive. This burns thin and uses less adhesive. Yet, it sticks to everything and penetrates the secondary backing very good. By doing this, I do not have to deal with causing a profile effect in the seam that I am trying to correct. (Photo 8)
The second method uses a 6” conventional seaming iron. Over the years this has been my favorite method. I know a lot of installers who do not see the value in using a 6” iron, but you cannot argue the results. Whenever I get into a situation where I have to remake a seam in a great room, especially when it is placed across the light source, I prefer using a 6” iron. Any room that has a seam over 4’ from the wall is my personal rule. Something important to remember when you start tearing apart work is what type of seam tape to use. The seam tape you select is very important. When using my 6” iron to remake seams, I do not like to use a seam tape with a lot of adhesive on it. You have to remember there will be adhesive left behind from the old seam tape. The 6” tape spreads the adhesive out. This is another way to help reduce the peaking in seams. (Photo 9)
The third method is somewhat new to the industry. There are many advantages to using the Koolglide Iron. Remaking seams is a real good one. If I have furniture that for whatever reason cannot be moved out of a room, this becomes my favorite tool. When I am working in tight quarters, I bring out a couple of pattern stretchers or double-headed crab jacks to stretch my seam in to place. I also like to use a tool called The Seamer Down. This tool works really well. Its main function is to cool the seam quicker. I find it has some added benefits though. It actually helps to pull the adhesive from the seam tape through the secondary backing into the primary backing. This is just one more way to get better penetration from your seam tape.
By using the Koolglide in conjunction with my Seamer Down, I can move my iron wherever it benefits me to make a good seam. The seam tape is also wider than conventional seam tape and it is made from a urethane-based adhesive. There are a ton of positives here. The adhesive burns thinner and the wider seam tape helps to reduce peaking. (Photos 10 and 11)
No matter what method I choose, I like to put seam boards underneath the carpet. By doing this I eliminate many potential problems. My seam tape will never stick to the cushion. Remember, we have to work with the cushion that is in place. The heat that is generated can end up compromising the cushion. For some reason, I do not get any seam ledging when I work on a hard surface. When I am working on concrete, I am allowed to stay nail the seam on both sides when necessary into the seam boards. If I am careful with my iron temperature, I can work as slow as I want. Also, the Seamer Down allows me a little flexibility by cooling the seam off quicker. (Photo 12)
All three of these methods work. Of course, they all have their separate applications. It is important to remember first and foremost, repair work is no place for shortcuts. Make sure you give yourself enough time and resources to do the job properly.
Make sure you give yourself enough time and resources to do the job properly. If you do not deliver the goods, your customer will be right back at square one, and collecting your fee could get tricky. (Photos 13 and 14)