Carpet Seam


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Old 10-14-07, 09:07 AM
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Carpet Seam

I'm installing carpet in a room for my daughter. The room is roughly 6 1/2' x 16'. In order to cut costs, I bought a cut-off roll of 12' x 14'. I figured once cut in half, I'd have a running length of 24'. This is a first time project for me, but I figured a narrow rectangular room with square corners would be a good place to start. The guy at the carpet store said I'd be better off stapling and gluing the floor so I wouldn't need a seam iron. I'd really like to use padding though, as this room will be for my 9 month old daughter. Since the room is narrow, and second piece will only be 4' long, can I tape the seam before installing the carpet? Basically I'm wondering if I can heat the tape with a regular, household iron from the backside and then install it. If that's not doable, does anyone have any other cost effective ideas?
 
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Old 10-14-07, 07:23 PM
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By six and 1/2, do you mean six feet, six inches or six feet, one half inch? In either case, do you intend to cover the entire floor or leave bare floor showing around the edges? even six feet one half inch is not half of twelve feet. Additionally, twelve wide goods seldom actually are twelve wide. They are usually a half inch narrow, oft times more. Have you measured the width of the material you purchased to make sure it is actually twelve wide? If your room is wider than twelve and your goods are twelve or less, you'll need to cut it so one piece is wide enough to cover the floor, plus a couple of inches, and then split the remaining piece and lay the pieces side by side in order to cover the whole floor. This will require doing a "T" seam but will get the entire floor covered. If you intend to stretch the material in over pad, the home owner sticky tape for carpet seams will not be sufficient. That stuff only works for a loose lay and then only temporarily if there is much traffic on it, especially over pad. One inexpensive way to do a seam if you don't have access to a seaming iron is to hand sew it. Use a heavy, curved canvas needle with some heavy waxed thread. Start at one end of the seam, working from the backing side, and make frankenstein looking stitches the length of the seam. When you get to the end, go back the way you came and do it again so the seam ends in a series of "X" stitches. When finished and tied off, coat the seam liberally with latex and allow it to dry. This seals all the holes in the backing from the needle and glues the stitching onto the backing. Do the seam that stitches the smaller pieces together, or the leg of the "T" seam first, then the seam that fastens the resulting two larger pieces together. It may not be real pretty, but will fasten everything together so the material can be stretched in. You can't apply as much stretch to it because it isn't as strong a seam as a hot seam, but it works. Another option is a double stick installation. Glue the pad to the floor and then glue the carpet to the pad. This method technically requires seam tape, but you can get away with precutting the seams, butting them together when you're gluing the carpet, and sealing the seams with seam sealer. I suppose you could give the idea you mentioned a try, but I'm not sure a household iron will get the glue on the seam tape hot enough to properly melt into the backing. A seaming iron is pretty hot. If you try that, do it on the bare floor, before the pad is down, and use a weight to hold the tape in contact with the backing until it cools enough to bond.
 
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Old 10-15-07, 03:09 PM
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Hi Smokey. Thanks for your response. I'm not sure that we're totally on the same page. First off, you're correct, the room is 6'6" wide. The plan was not to cut the carpet along the width (12'), but along the length (14'). That would leave me 2 - 7' x 12' sections for a total running length of 24'. This will not require a T seam then.

As far as bonding the seam tape goes, I'm not sure if we're on the same page. I was thinking of doing the seam from the backside. I'd lay the carpet facedown, apply the seam tape, and heat it from the backside. I don't know how hot a household iron will get compared to a seam iron, but at least the heat will be applied directly to the tape and won't have to transfer through the carpet first. Also, if the iron doesn't get hot enough, I can experiment with other methods without having to worry about burning the topside of the carpet. For example, I could use a scrap piece of tin and somehow put a handle on it. I could then heat the tin on the stove or with a torch to get it to the temperature that I need. In fact, this may be a better solution, so that I don't risk ruining my iron. I don't know if any of the adhesive will leak out of the seam and onto the iron. Without the teflon coating that a seam iron has, I'd imagine that this would ruin the iron. Anyways, let me know what you think.

Thanks again,
Chris
 
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Old 10-17-07, 06:14 PM
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Oh, I think I get it. You have a fourteen foot piece of carpet and you're going to cut it down to two seven foot pieces. A little carpet language misunderstanding there. In that regard, the pages were different. In so far as the seam is concerned, they were not. In order to do as you propose or hand sew it, you will indeed have to put the material on its face. The method you propose to melt the glue on the tape is the same method that is used to remove tape from a seam. I have used your method to do repairs from the back that were too small to get an iron out of and it does work. The tape has an edge of paper that keeps the glue confined under it so there is little chance of getting glue on your iron. The problems will be two fold. First, you won't be able to see the joint where the two sides come together so the seam could be gapped or overlapped. Second, when doing a seam conventionally, there is a tool called a tracker that helps get the glue into the backing and twists the yarn of the two sides together to make the seam less visible. As the tracker is used, a seam weight is moved along the seam to keep it flat as it cools. The seam tape will not adhere well if you don't use a weight and it may not look so good without being able to use a tracker on it. Are you using cut pile or a loop pile? If it's a loop pile, you'll need to seal the seam or it will unravel. According to the rules, you should seal all carpet seams, but the loop pile material is the most critical.
 
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Old 10-19-07, 09:51 PM
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Yea, it took me a second as well to get what the store owner was talking about when he said to cut the 12'x14' piece in half. I was thinking lengthwise too, not widthwise and then rotating them. I have to admit that your last post has left me scratching my head. I read a couple of articles and was confident that I knew enough to try it myself. I don't remember reading anything about a tracker and I'm embarressed to say I don't exactly know the difference between cut pile and loop pile. I also don't know anything about sealing the seam. I guess I will have to do more research.
 
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Old 10-20-07, 12:35 AM
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You can see what a tracker looks like at the following address.

http://www.tools4flooring.com/seamin...s-c-46_48.html

As for sealing seams, loop pile will tend to unravel if the seam isn't sealed. Loop pile is the kind of weave folks often call berber or level loop. They also call level loop indoor/outdoor, which it usually is not. It is stitched in a series of loops. A cut pile is more the conventional type that most folks call plush. Each loop has been cut to create the cut pile look. You are actually doing more research by asking questions on this site. Sealing seams is not a tough thing to do. All that you're doing is gluing the yarn back into the backing where it was disturbed during the seam cutting process. Run a light bead of sealer along the cut edge of the seam, being careful to not get too much on the yarn. You just want it on the cut edge of the backing and the very base of the yarn, where it contacts the backing. If you use too much, as the sealer dries it shrinks and will draw the yarn down with it and make an ugly seam. There are two basic types of sealer, one for glue down applications and one for stretch in applications. Both will work, but you need to let it dry good before seaming it if you use the glue down kind on a stretch in job. Since I do this stuff for a living, I don't let the latex kind dry before doing the seam because I can get the job done quickly enough that it isn't a problem. It will probably take you a bit longer, being unfamiliar with the process, so I would suggest letting it dry good regardless which sealer you use. The store you got the material from should be able to tell you what sort of weave it is, cut or loop. If I can get that information, I can instruct you on how to cut the seam also.
 
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Old 10-20-07, 01:27 AM
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Believe me. When Smokey speaks, he's a pro. I sold carpet and other floor coverings. My problem was installers who were not CFI certified (Certified Flooring Installers), and I advertised for them. After having to eat so many jobs. I got out of the business.

Most installers do not use seam sealer. There is no such thing as an invisible seam. Seams can be very visible on berbers and other loop if not properly seamed and seam seal used. All seams should be seam sealed, but the installers I encountered never heard of it. Of course, they were not CFI certified or researched on installation procedures.

There are rental companies that have all equipment necessary available for carpet installation. Your carpet retailer should be able to provide you with the installation supplies like seam sealer and tape.

Do not despair, as Smokey can walk you through the installation process. I was a retailer, not an installer. Installation is not an easy process, but it can be DIY if you do enough research and have the right equipment and supplies. Remember, Smokey is the pro for installation here. I have never questioned his professional installation procedures. I am not DIY, but I am a reader/researcher. Just wish Smokey lived near me. I need new floor coverings. Old, little and can tell you how to do it, but can't do it myself. Smokey knows and can advise you better than I. He's the best in the trade IMO.
 

Last edited by twelvepole; 10-20-07 at 10:52 PM.
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Old 10-21-07, 11:11 AM
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Wow, high praise for Smokey. It seems I'm talking to the right guy. I did my homework and figured out what the tracker was. I'm hoping I can find one at one of the big box stores but I may have to order online or make a special trip. As for the carpet, I've been assuming it was an open loop pile, but I wasn't 100% sure what the difference was before. Yes, the pile can be unraveled. In fact, the carpet store owner suggested that I can unravel a pile and then cut the backing to get a square edge. This may be a dumb question, but I have carpet glue, can that be used to seal the seam? I bought a quart because I originally planned to glue the carpet down. Unfortunately, my GF talked me into installing padding now, which opened up a can of worms. I still am unsure how I'm going to do the seam. I want to use the tape, but I can't justify dropping $100 on a seam iron for a 6' seam. I may do more carpeting in the future if all goes well on this one, but I've already dropped a ton on tools and materials to remodel this room. I think I may just try doing the seam from the backside first. I can use a rolling pin to evenly compress the tape to the backing. Then I can flip it over and use the tracker to twist the yarn together. If it doesn't work, I have more than enough carpet to cut the seam and try over. I may be looking to cut costs, but only at the expense of efficiency, not quality. Let me know what you think.

Thanks much for all the help,
Chris
 
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Old 10-21-07, 12:41 PM
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Most rental equipment stores have all the equipment a DIY carpet installer requires. The seam sealer is a special adhesive that dries clear.
 
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Old 10-21-07, 11:02 PM
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Twelvepole: I'm humbled. I think that's one of the nicest things any one has ever said about me. I'll work hard to be worthy of such lofty praise. Thank you.

brewcityc: The point of the sealer is to keep your seams from unraveling. I've never tried what you propose, but it may work. I guess the question needs to be, do you want to run the risk? Seam sealer is available pretty much any where carpet is sold and really doesn't cost that much. You supplier is correct about pulling a row and then cutting along the edge to get a good seam. That tells me it is a loop pile carpet and that is how the seams are cut with this type of carpet. Once you've pulled a row, a good heavy scissors will do the job to cut the seam. The draw back is, sometimes the rows are not stitched exactly straight so the two edges won't come together well along the entire length of the seam. You won't know if that is the case until you cut the seam and butt the edges together. Lets hope yours behave. It is, however, imperative that you seal the seam if you want it to last. Twelvepole is correct, carpet tools are available at most tool rental places. One way to get access to a tracker would be to rent a seaming iron. It should come in a seam box that includes a tracker. Another idea would be to just ask your supplier if they have one you could rent or borrow. Another option is one I've done many times. Ask an installer to come and run the seam for you once you have everything to that point. I never charge much to do that for folks in my area, nor do I give them a hard time about wanting to do it them selves. I would think you should be able to find one willing to do that for you, for a fee. If you do it on your own, don't flip the carpet over until the seam tape is cool.
 
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Old 10-23-07, 11:27 AM
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I'll definitely get the seam sealer then. Because of my ignorance on the subject, I didn't know if there was a difference between that and the carpet glue. Like I said before, I'm trying to save money, but not at the cost of quality. As far as tool rental goes, I reserve that for bigger machinery. I've found that the cost of renting smaller tools is a big chunk of what it'd actually cost to buy the tool. In that case, I'd rather buy the tool and have it for next time. I think I'm just going to try the seam from the backside. If it doesn't work out, I have plenty of carpet to work with still. In that case, I'll just bite the bullet and buy an iron. One of the big box stores has one on sale for $75 this week anyways. I found a tracker at that store too by the way. Thanks again for all the help. You've educated me well beyond my original question and I appreciate that.
 
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Old 10-26-07, 11:55 AM
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Finished Update

Well the seam is done. I ended up using a plain old household iron. I noticed the pile was not square though. What I did was I cut both pieces along the pile to get them close. Then, I marked out a T on a 1/2" piece of plywood. I stapled down one piece (about 3" back from the seam edge) face-down on one side of the T. Then I mesured 1" back from the seam line of the T and marked a parallel line on the carpet backing. Next, I stapled the second piece down so that it was overlapping and butting the line marked on the back of the other piece. I used the adjacent line of the T to line the carpet up square since the pile was off. Then I cut along the edge of the top piece and removed the cut-off below. After that, I layed down the tape and stapled down one end to the plywood to hold it still. I proceeded to heat the tape, working on a 2' section at a time. I heated it until the glue was melted thoroughly and then worked the glue into the backing with a rolling pin. Then I layed a scrap piece of 2x4 over it and applied weight until it cooled. Once the seam was done, I cut the tape flush with the sides, pulled the staples, and sealed the holes.

The one mistake I made, was that I didn't seal the seam right away. I was skimming through the directions and read where it said to apply an 1/8" beam to one seam and butt them together. I missed the part where it said that was for when gluing it down. So my plan now is to go back once the sealer on the backside is dry, flip it over, bend the seam open, apply the sealer, and then lay it flat again to dry. The only other thing I have left to do is blend the fibers together with the tracker once it's installed.

I know this all sounds like more trouble than it's worth, but it took less than an hour. That's about the drive time I would've spent going to and from the hardware store to rent a seam iron and I didn't have to drop a bunch of cash on a 6' seam. The way I see it, the time I spent picking your brain on here was well spent too, because I learned some things the how-to articles left out. Thanks again for the help.
 
 

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