Visible carpet seams, why do they 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 have a layered appearance or feel when you rub your hand over them. To check the seam edge, separate the pile at areas of visible carpet 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 from the back using a straight edge or top cutter using a trace cut which resulted 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. When the heat is captured between the nonconducting surface and the carpet the 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. This is often not a correctable problem though a correction should not be ruled out before steaming the area and sweeping the carpets pile back in the correct direction.
Visible Carpet Seams Have They Been Sealed?
Most carpet seams must be sealed 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 of sealing the seams it was not performed correctly when the concrete is sealed instead of the carpet.
This article has been modified from Carpet Inspectors Handbook by Terry Weinheimer and Kevin Weinheimer