Comment: Installation instructions from Carpet and Rug Institute?

MasonScJanuary 13, 2012

I am not a carpet expert! Just wanted to get that out of the way because I know there are many here.

For those like me who know little, I found this document very interesting:

Some highlights (for me at least):

16.3 With the exception of fiber cushions, secure seams with appropriate vinyl-coated cloth cushion tape per the carpet cushion manufacturer's recommendations.

16.5.1 Using a Mechanical Stretching Device (i.e. Power Stretcher) is Mandatory. Devices used as a substitute for, or an attachment to such devices that penetrate through the carpet backing may cause injury, damage carpet or substrates, or result in inadequate stretch. Such devices are not acceptable.

. . . among others.

I wonder if any of our resident experts have any comments on this document and what it prescribes? Anything you disagree with and why?

Just wondering, because we will soon be doing ~ 600 ft in our new basement, but had hurricane damage and will shortly be doing another 500-1000 ft in other parts of our house.


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I never disagree, but many of my installers fail to follow the guidelines to the letter. Good Seam Tape, power stretching other than closets with an occasional hallway exception. All good stuff! Many many many many many installers have learned to take some shortcuts, and normally it is of no consequence. My company creates pre printed invoices for the installers to present to the company for payment.They fill in the amount and yardage based on their rates. I am currently having a portion of the warranty disclaimer changed if they want to work for me. They are actually at the printer right now. Most installers warrant for one year. The invoices they present me will now say warranted for one year unless an improper installation technique is used causing the manufacturer to deny a claim of warranty. At that point their warranty extends to that date. We have had many cases where improper techniques takes two sometimes three years to show up and they are off the hook supposedly and I have to replace the floor at my cost. No more. As long as they are still in business they will be responsible if indeed their shortcut created a failure or a manufacturer exclusion to warrant a claim. Just a little more insight. I treat my installers fair..and pay them better than average by far, but I cant let their laziness screw my store because I do not screw customers.I have caught several installers, damned good installers...cheating a little in the last quarter of last year because we were so busy. If they are going to cheat or get lazy...the one year deal goes out the window if it is a verifiable cheat. Good Post and a great post to start a subject line on this topic.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 10:54PM
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thank you and thanks for the feedback! I enjoy your posts, btw.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 12:38PM
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Resurrecting this thread as I am ready to pull the trigger & buy 1,500 sq. ft of frieze carpet. Because of two especially large rooms and another that's a foot over the 12' carpet width I see a lot of seams on the plan. (doesn't come in 15' width). Because it's frieze/textured I realize the seams will be a lot more hidable, but I still don't want failures due to poor installation or "shortcuts" as Floortech mentions.

When the measurer came over I said something about gluing carpet seams together with a bead of glue all along the edges (like I read on that carpet institute rules) he said "nobody ever does that" anymore, but they do use a tape that's heat sensitive and it's meshed with something like a hair dryer? Does that sound right?

My question: If you were me what would you ask the salesperson to write on the sales slip how an install MUST be done? I just feel if I'm going to accept the way the seams are drawn out (several pieced together areas)I want to insist it is installed properly so it lasts! And then, what should I watch for when we're here overseeing installation?

Thanks for any help!!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 3:07PM
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Another option is to pay for more yardage so there are less seams.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 5:01PM
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That's true and I can do that, but my question is more about installation procedures and supervising it adequately enough to know the installers are not using "shortcuts".

So, how many of these steps would the experts consider MANDATORY for proper installation vs not that important:

1. 24 hour "relaxation" of the unrolled carpet in the house?? (how can this happen? the installers would have to come one day, roll it out, then come back the next day to install? Is this practical? Is it important??)

2. Cushion (under pad) seams taped?

3. Carpet to be "Powerstretched" (not knee kicker/stinger)?

4. Carpet edges be glued down with adhesive?

*5. Carpet seams: a "seam adhesive sealer" or "tape" applied first to edges and then...(the following is what the measurer said "nobody does anymore")... *an ADDITIONAL "bead of latex seam sealer" applied along one edge of the carpet seam to fuse the FIBERS together" with the joining carpet seam (per manufacturer guidelines)?

Yoohoo, Floortech...are you anywhere around to help me? : ) I value your opinion!!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 9:20PM
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I would insist on #3 and #5.
#1 is important more in the winter in my opinion. #2 if on cement is important..not if staple down unless it is some type of moisture barrier cushion...then it should be taped. #4 I dont understand..I must be missing something. 3 and 5 are big time important. When the salesman argues about #5..heres the scoop. On a cut pile or frieze, its not nearly as important like it is on a commercial or looped carpet. But what happens is that my store has had some de lamination of carpet backing maybe 3 or 4 years down the road. When the inspector comes he black lights the seam and if there is no latex..he blames it on installation procedure. I do not agree with it but it is the way they wiggle out in todays economy. Also the sealer on edge actually will fill the holes left behind from straight edging the carpet to prepare for the seam. Thus encapsulating the fiber so that it doesent fall out. With a decent carpet, you wouldnt see it anyway as their are plenty of fiber to explode onto one another across the seam, but it is still important and the way it should be done. I do not believe that 8 out of my 9 crews that are currently working for me do this...but I am telling you what is correct. On a loop it is imperative as the loops will unravel at the seam. The seam tape does not do the job of sealing the holes. The power stretcher is just a no brainer. A kicker for a closet is fine or maybe a wildly shaped hall in a spot or two..but that's it. If they bring in a stretcher with a hook, throw them out..thats not stretching carpet..not to a flooring store standards. maybe a moonlighting installer that charges you half it is, not a bonafide flooring store. Good Luck. hope it helps. Dont over think it'll just make yourself sick and most of the time these installers get away with these shortcuts ... maybe I'm a little to anal at times but I too like things done correctly.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 11:48PM
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THANK YOU Floortech for responding!

If you would please indulge me for a couple more questions:

A: I'm getting Karastan (Smartstrand) Natures Bounty (frieze/textured), do you think it's a "decent enough carpet" that the "tape" (that's heated) they're going to use under the seams will "fill the holes left from straight edging" on this style carpet? (the Karastan installation guidelines website states that "A bead of latex seam sealer must be applied to the cut edges to seal all seams" ~ the guy said they only use that tape. Should I insist that they add that sealer bead? or should I not fret it? (Note: The carpet dealer said they have a lifetime warranty on installation! Would you believe it?)

B: Do you know how many inches of carpet material would be cut off to prepare for seams? (my room is 24' wide & I'm getting 12' wide carpet so I know I may need a narrow strip of carpet pieced in along one side wall or the other) (I'm working on an alternative layout myself to reduce the seams originally suggested)

Cool re: power stretcher! I did IMAGE searches of power stretcher, knee kicker & carpet stinger so now I KNOW THE DIFFERENCE & what to watch for! Thanks!

I do have a concrete floor so will make sure the cushion seams are all taped (It's SmartCushion & DOES have a moisture barrier).

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 8:57AM
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If you want it done correctly, the bead of sealant should be applied. I only say this should there be a manufacturer claim of warranty. They will use the lack of the sealer for some backing issues. A frieze will normally not show the fiber loss and it will lose fiber without the bead. Frieze carpets are shaped like little springs so they hide the fact that some fibers will fall out where the holes are exposed. These are facts, not myths. Tell the guy you want it sealed on both sides with a slight bead of latex sealer. Not elmers glue either. Now if they wont do it, find another is ridiculous for them to fight you on it. Tell him you know what this difference is between a good carpet installation and a bad one? 15 minutes
We use that phrase a lot. Whether he is right or wrong, it is proper procedure and you have the right to have it done. I have had 3 claims Mohawk.(Horizon label)(which is who owns Karastan) because the backing wasnt sealed at seam location and the backing was de-laminating there. If that iron is a smidge hot or if there backing isnt built perfect, backings can seperate at a seam location. With the premium price you pay with deserve to have it done by the book. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 10:09PM
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Floortech: This is exactly the info I needed. You are such a big help to people, hope you know that! Thanks so much!!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 11:02PM
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