New CRI Standard for Carpet Installation

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I have been away and have some catching up to do. When you do go on vacation you don’t miss work, seems like you just defer it.

I saw several small commercial carpet inspections in the past week. It became very obvious to me that most installers have no clue there is a new standard for carpet installation. The Standard came into effect on Oct 1, 2010.

The biggest change in the standard is on the subject of seam sealing. In the old standard CRI 104  you were allowed to seam seal or edge seal one cut edge of carpet and then butt  the other cut edge of the other carpet panel into the first panel. The new standard states that both cut edges must be sealed and then a third bead of seam sealer attaches the two cut edges.

I spoke to Rosemary Schooley at the Floorcovering Institute of Ontario and have asked her to do a blast to all their members letting them know of the new standard. I did this because nobody is making any effort in informing the carpet installers. I find it very surprising that the carpet mills have not made a concerted effort in informing the installers.

This new standard is going to be around for a while. I really don’t forsee any changes in the new upcoming IICRC S600 Standard for Carpet Installation.

Seam sealing is an extremely important part of carpet installation yet may installers don’t bother at all or just hastily put a bit of sealer on an edge. To make a seam correctly you are supposed to apply an approved edge sealer or seam sealer. First and foremost you must cut the edge of the carpet. You do this by using a row finder and the correct row cutter. You should cut one side of the panel flush left and the other side flush right. Apply sealer to both cut edges. The seam sealer  is to be applied in an ample amount with an appropriate applicator. You are then supposed to run your fingers over the edge to close the cut seam. After this is complete you apply a third bead of seam sealer between the two panels and join them.

Top cutting seams or cutting through the secondary is not an acceptable means of cutting carpet edges.

Anyways, I saw five commercial jobs this week and most of the installers said that the carpet was stiff and hard to work with. All I can say to that is–yes it can be that way. But the carpet mill is not going to replace the carpet for that reason. Even on the residential side I had about ten inspections and at least three were about zippering seams. I spoke to one installer (he ended up being the store owner) who told me that he didn’t bother sealing the seams because he knew he was going to replace the carpet anyways??

No wonder the carpet industry continues to lose market share.

Seam sealer added later

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Again this week I saw two situations of installers just not getting it when it comes to seam/edge sealing.

First one was from an installer who was repairing a seam that had a depression along it that was likely caused by too hot of a seaming iron.  The guys who had tried to fix the seam the first time had dismantled the seam, redid the seam and then left a tractor with the customer and asked her to run the tractor over the seam all weekend. Needless to say the customer was not impressed. The last installer went in there and said he could not match up the pattern. It was a high /low loop and the pattern was just less than an inch long. The installer said he could not powerstretch the carpet a half inch to help line up the patterns. I found this quite unbelieveable, especially when there were no elongated holes in the secondary backing that always exist when the carpet is adequately stretched. The same installer told me the seam he constructed was excellent and that he sealed the seams from the bottom with a glue gun!

Second one is from a delamination claim on a commercial install. There was more sealer on the concrete than on the seam. The old Standard said you could butter one cut edge and then butt the other edge into it. The new Standard states that you must seal both cut edges and then add a third bead of sealer to bind the two cut edges together. When I mentioned this to the retailer he was shocked that the new standard says that and that no manufacturer had told them of the new Standard For Carpet Installation.

I guess he has a point, who else would tell the retailers and installers that there is a new standard but the manufacturers? However is it the manufacturers responsibility to tell everyone of the new Standard? Of course it isn’t! I guess this is the tip of the iceberg for us inspectors over the next couple of years.