floor covering and design...with a fuzzy side

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What's wrong with my carpet? A little knowledge can avoid a lot of aggravation.

bad seam, good seam

 Have you recently had carpet installed and the seam stands out?  Perhaps there is even a color difference at the seam?  If you can't locate your seams, it probably means you've had a great installation. 
where is the seam?

Fact: the majority of seam related issues are installation related -meaning the installer made a mistake.  Today I'm going to discuss just one reason why your carpet may may not look quite right.  It may look like it is two completely different colors or the seam may be very obvious and you're not sure why.  Oftentimes it is a result of the carpet direction.  Specifically, the direction of the fibers (known as pile direction in the industry).

Carpet fibers naturally lay in one direction. When you brush your foot across the fibers they look like they darken but it is simply the fibers laying another direction and refracting light differently. When you vacuum, you can make your carpet look striped by letting the beater bar turn up the fibers every-other pass.
Vacuum lines

It is because the fibers lay in the same direction that an installer must pay attention to this direction when putting in your carpet. When there are two adjoining rooms or rooms that require seams (the room size is wider than the width of the carpet, the direction of the carpet is paramount.

When carpet is cut to room size and the balance is being used to complete the room or cover an adjoining room or space, noting direction is essential.

If the direction is reversed, the color of the adjoining carpets may look completely different (because of that light refracting thing) and the seam will stand out like a sore thumb.

If the direction is turned 45 degrees, not only do you have the fiber direction issue but you also now need to fill on both sides adding two seams that don't need to be there.  When it comes to carpet, the fewer seams, the better.

Below is an example of a proper installation.  The direction is the same, the seam is not visible.

There are times when the carpet is installed correctly and there is a color difference from one side of the seam to the other.  This is a manufacturing defect that I will touch on later.  Now that you know about fiber direction, keep an eye on your carpet install and make sure it lays correctly.