Visible carpet seams. Why do my seams appear this way and are they normal? These are questions regularly addressed by floorcovering experts such as Terry Weinheimer and Kevin Weinheimer. In this article we will discuss some of the most common installation related causes of visible carpet seams.
Visible Carpet Seams Have Layered Appearance
Visible carpet seams may have a layered appearance or feel when you rub your hand over them.
To check the seam edge, separate the pile at the seams with a tool such as an awl, screwdriver or other pointed object. Is there a low row of yarn, overlaps or gaps? If a credit card will fit in the gap, it is too wide. If you observe a low row, what you are seeing is a row of yarn that has been trimmed short when the installer cut the carpet seams. A straight edge at the back or top cutter using a trace cut results in more visible carpet seams. Keep in mind that problems like this are correctable.
Visible Carpet Seams Appear Darker than Carpet Field
At the visible carpet seams there is an apparent discoloration the same width as the seaming tape? Check to see if it is directly above the tape and in no other areas. In this situation the installer has usually set the iron too hot. Or has used a metal tray or other non-conductive flat surface behind his iron when constructing the seam. Heat captured between the nonconducting surface and the carpet pile can become distorted, causing the apparent discoloration. This is not a correctable problem.
Darker and or lighter visible carpet seams can also occur when a hot iron is ran against the grain of the carpet. Often not correctable though correction should not be ruled-out. Try steaming the area and sweeping the carpets pile back in the correct direction.
Have The Seams Been Sealed?
Most carpet seams require edge seal to prevent raveling and delamination. Properly sealed carpet seams will have a bead of adhesive applied to the trimmed edge and secondary backings at the base of the face yarns. Failing properly seal can result in visible carpet seams as the seams begin to ravel. This is especially true on loop pile carpet though it can also occur on cut pile or cut and loop style carpets.
1. On properly sealed carpet seams you should be able to see the sealer. At the end of the seam lift the carpet and elevate it slightly to look for the seam sealer.
2. With ultraviolet light, you can also visually check for seam sealer. Carefully inspect the seam in a dark room and look for a glow that will normally be light blue. Warning! Not all seam sealers have fluorescent tracers but even on these the U.V. will often allow the sealer to show as a different color, sometimes white or tan.
3. On an improperly sealed glue down carpet seams, you may see a dark streak on the substrate where the seam sealer ended up on the concrete instead of on the carpet’s edge from an improperly tipped applicator. While the installer went through the process, the sealer went on the concreted instead of the carpets edge.
In need of an expert to check out the seams in your carpet? Contact The Weinheimer Group for an expert carpet inspection. Serving Oregon and Washington.
Buster Phipps says
I’m about at my wit’s end trying to resolve an installation problem with carpet that we bought from Lowe’s and had installed last December. Every seam in the house is visible and very noticeable. To begin with, the installer did not follow the seam layout that we had chosen which would have the seams less visible. In one case, there are two seams six feet apart, with one running parallel to a door opening. In addition, an inspector from Shaw Industries, the maker of the carpet, came out and noticed that some seams were gapped while others were overlapped. Delamination was evident along the seam lines, and there was no visual signs of seam sealer.
We haven’t gotten much help from Lowe’s in getting this situation resolved over the last five months. We want new carpet installed because of the installation problems with the seam and the installer’s not following the seam layout to hide most of the seams from view. The installer wants to try to redo the seams, but my wife and I are concerned that recutting/restretching the seams will place more pressure on the seam joints and with the directions of the seams as they are now, and when we vacuum the carpet, we will vacuum perpendicular to the seams, which we believe will eventually weaken those seams and make them more visible.
We have only one year’s warranty on the installation, and half of that has been wasted on back-and-forth with Lowe’s and Legacy (the installer). I agree with your statement that the longer a person works in carpet installation does not necessarily mean that the better he gets. Our installer was supposedly “the best” installer that they had. He refused to come back out to look at the problem on the day that he was scheduled and did not even notify Legacy of his decision until they called him to find out why he had not shown up. He blamed it on the carpet instead, and he is no longer working with them.
We have an arbitration-only clause in our contract, so I would appreciate any help/advice you could give us as how to best resolve this situation. We bought the best carpet and the best padding because we are in our late sixties and wanted this to last us as long as we were alive and living in our home, which we have been in for almost 38 years. We’re very concerned that the installation won’t last past the warranty and we’ll be stuck with having to pay someone else for Legacy’s poor job of installation.
Jerri Granger says
I have a carpet in master bedroom with a very noticeable seam..any “home remedy” I could try to correct? Heat, steam, etc?
Some carpets just show seams. Without knowing if the same was properly performed and is just visible or the seaming was a poor job, it makes it difficult to give advice. Have you called your dealer and had them check out the seam? I have seen many seams inexperienced people have tried to correct and only made them look worse. Often carpet seams can be improved by vacuuming in the direction of the seam and not across it and you might give that a try.