Commercial carpet patterns continue to evolve, and as we’re seeing the demand for more ashlar, brick, modular and quarter-turn patterns, properly installing them comes down to knowing what the tolerances are for these and other patterns when matching up the carpet. We took the top tips from experts on the topic—Tyler Rahe, 351 UBC INSTALL instructor at Northwest Ohio Joint Apprenticeship Training Center; Eric Martinez, instructor, North Atlantic States Carpenters Training Fund; and Tracy Yanske, floor covering instructor, Carpenters Training Institute; and created a comprehensive list to serve as a handy resource for you. And for a more in-depth conversation on the subject, check out our interview with Yanske.

Resource Checklist

  • Keep the “carpet bible” handy (The Carpet and Rug Institute Commercial Carpet Manual)
  • Check the tolerances of the manufacturer and do not install it if it exceeds. Most say once it is glued in, you accepted its flaws.
  • Read the instructions and make sure you understand the logistics of the product so that you know what you can and can’t do with it.
  • It comes down to your layout: Establish your pattern first and trust in your marks.
  • When working with patterned goods, expect to take a little longer on that project in order to make sure the pattern is lined up as good as you can get it, and expect to do more stretching to make sure lines are straight and seams are tight.
  • Make sure you cut your seams on the proper row of carpet. If you’re one row off, that’s going to throw your pattern off and that could make or break the job.
  • Try your best to make the most inconspicuous seam as possible and with the proper techniques, that can be done.
  • Crab jack, seam squeezers and stay nails are your friends. 
  • If you don’t have a dead man built, use two or three knee kickers on the end of the stretcher and have someone kneel on it.
  • Or, to save your knees, spend a little extra to invest in a mini stretcher. They are costly, but worth it in the long run.
  • Use sharp concrete pins and have multiple dry lines down long hallways to eliminate waves. 
  • If you have one area to cut your carpet shots, use your phone to take a picture of the row you have to match to so you don’t have to walk back if you forget.
  • If you’re ever having trouble, never hesitate to immediately contact the manufacturer rep. They’ve probably seen the issue you’re having before.