Carpet Seam Problems: 6 Mistakes to Avoid

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  • 2-40 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-500

Whether you’re a professional carpet layer or a do-it-yourselfer, you'll find one of the trickier aspects of laying carpet is connecting each carpet seam. Seams that are not connected correctly can look unprofessional, can cause the carpet to split or unravel, and can create a potential hazard for those walking on it.

If you are considering laying your own carpet, there are a few problems you will want to avoid to make the carpet seams virtually invisible. The following information will assist you in avoiding carpet seam mistakes when laying your carpet.

1. Seam Peaking

To relieve seam pressure and peaking, avoid stretching the carpet across—or perpendicular to—the carpet seam. When you need to stretch the carpet, stretch it parallel with the seam.

2. Seam Shadows

Avoid creating a carpet seam in a location where light from a window or a strong light is likely to strike the seam and cast a shadow. Such shadows have a tendency to accentuate the seam and make it more noticeable.

3. Seam Splitting

installing a carpet seam

To avoid splitting of your carpet seam, keep the seam away from areas of higher foot traffic. Use a pad with a higher density cushion that is less likely to split from constant foot traffic. In addition, when creating seams, use a seam roller to create pressure against the seams and force the carpet backing into the melted adhesive. Finally, create a more firm, flat base for the backing by placing a piece of plywood under the seam when you press the seam into the glue.

4. Seam Unraveling

When cutting the carpet, never cut through a row of tufts. Instead, cut between the tuft rows. But even this will not prevent seam unraveling if you neglect to seal the seam edges. By pressing your sealer into the seam edge you will be more sure of sealing the edges.

5. Seam Discoloration

To avoid discoloration of the seam, do not use a seaming iron that is too hot. See that the iron setting is no more than three or four. To shield polypropylene carpet backing from excessively high heat when using a non-cooltop iron, use a heat shield. To avoid reversing pile in the seam area, always do your seaming with the direction of the carpet nap, never against it.

Another potential source of discoloration will be from using seam weights that fail to allow heat and moisture to escape from the seams, cause tuft swelling, and pile reversal and discoloration. Avoid using seam weights made of metal, plastic, marble, and glass.

6. Unattractive Seams

To avoid creating unattractive seams with wrinkles, indentations, etc., always use a sharp blade and change it often when cutting for a seam. Never cut across a tuft row. Always cut along the space between rows. Pre-stretch seam areas that can otherwise cause wrinkling. Avoid using rollers with star wheels that can create indentations when you use hot adhesive. Instead, disburse hot adhesive evenly into plush carpet backing by using a roller with a smooth surface. A good rule of thumb to remember is: star rollers for cold seams, smooth rollers for hot seams.