Carpet installation is the single biggest problem experienced by most consumers with new carpet purchases. Books can be written on the types of problems consumers have experienced during this phase of the carpet purchase process. Like all industry and trades, carpet installation has been touched by the inability to bring in enough qualified tradesman to handle the demand. It is no different than finding a qualified plumber, roofer, carpenter, or electrician; therefore do not be surprised by what may happen. Just being aware of the potential for problems is usually enough to head off disappointment. Unfortunately, when a carpet installation goes bad from the start, the psychology of the entire purchase decision tends to sour. The consumer is unhappy with the color and insists it is different from the sample, the soil does not leap from the carpet as insinuated, and the traffic lanes begin to change in appearance sooner than anticipated.
A good piece of advice is to contact the Carpet and Rug Institute for a copy of the CRI 105 Residential Carpet Installation Standard BEFORE the carpet installation and review its contents. During the CRI’s quest to approve installers, an open book test of this standard was performed for the process of approval. Almost 80% of the installers taking this open book test failed. Many had been installing carpet for 20 years or longer and insisted they did not need to use the book to pass the test. What was found was that many had been installing carpet improperly for 20 years or longer.
Many installers have never read this standard, which has been in existence for almost 20 years. By obtaining a copy of this carpet installation standard and being present during the carpet installation, you can ask questions of the installer, show that you have a copy of the standard, and look for deviations from the standard. If every carpet installation were performed according to the standard, the number of botched carpet installations would be fewer and the purchase process would proceed flawlessly.
Many installers display honesty and integrity, but they rarely receive the respect they deserve. Installer’s wages (carpet installation prices) have not increased in more than 20 years and the retailer keeps a portion of the amount charged to the consumer for carpet installation. Installing carpet in a residence requires a complex knowledge of people skills, technical ability, craftsmanship, as well as a strong back. You should not be concerned about seeking out your own installer and paying him the full carpet installation price for a job well done. Consider this: of the $5 you may have paid for your carpet installation, the installer received roughly half. For a 100 yard carpet installation this amounts to about $250 to be split between the two-man crew. Out of this, he must pay for his own supplies and expendables, private health insurance , FICA, payroll taxes, and income taxes. Instead of padding the profit of the retailer, consider an agreement with the installer that you will pay him $2.50 a yard for labor and $2.50 a yard if the carpet installation is completed to your satisfaction. This will allow him to take his time, perform the job to your satisfaction, and he doesn’t have to break his back trying to complete the job so he can get another carpet installation in that day. Everyone will be happier, with the exception of the retailer.
A quality carpet installation is critical to the performance of your carpet. When having your carpet installed, select an installer who knows what CRI 105 Standard for Installation of Commercial Carpet is and what it contains.
Before carpet installation, have a clear understanding of the services the retailer will provide and be aware of those that you must handle. For example, while most installers will usually move your furniture, there may be an additional charge. Confirm with the retailer or installer who will remove the existing carpet and carpet padding and who will be responsible for disposal. Placement of seams is important. Ask that seams be placed in less visible areas. Request that the installer follow the instructions from the carpet manufacturer and/or those set forth in the Standard for Installation of Residential Carpet, recognized by the industry. Before the installers arrive, complete other remodeling projects in the room, such as painting and wallpapering. Vacuum the old carpet to avoid the possibility of airborne dust and dirt. If you have severe allergies, have the installers spray the existing carpet with a fine mist of water, using a pump up garden sprayer to anchor allergen in the carpet and prevent airborne release. You also may choose to remove yourself from the area during take up. After the carpet and carpet padding are removed, vacuum the sub floor before reinstalling the new carpet.
Prior to carpet installation, inspect the new carpet for proper color, texture and style, and ensure that it is free of visible defects before it is installed. If visible defects are found, do not allow the carpet to be installed! Many manufacturers will not pay carpet installation charges for carpet that was installed with visible defects. If the carpet installation is performed, the installer should be paid for his services. If the carpet must be replaced, s/he should be paid for this service a second time. If you are contracting directly with the installer, this is important to note.
When it comes to the carpet installation, a power stretcher should be used to stretch the carpet to prevent wrinkling and buckling. All carpet will stretch 1-2% after it has been exposed to foot traffic. By insuring a power stretcher is used, this will prevent the necessity to pay for restretching a year after carpet installation. A power stretcher is not the same as a knee kicker . A knee kicker is used for positioning or moving the carpet. It is not used for stretching.
New, thicker carpet may prevent doors from swinging clear and free. The installer will remove the doors and re-hang them if possible. If the doors do not clear, arrange to have them trimmed. It is your responsibility to provide an adequate supply of fresh air during carpet installation. Open windows and doors, use an exhaust fan, or operate the fan of your heating or air conditioning system.
Vacuum your carpet to remove loose fibers. You may notice a slight new carpet smell, which should dissipate quickly. Ventilate the area for 48 to 72 hours. If you are unusually sensitive to odors or allergy-prone, you may want to avoid the carpet installation area during this period. If you have any questions about this, contact your retailer.
Carpet installation is the single biggest problem with new carpet purchases. Often, once the installation goes bad, the entire purchase begins to sour. Carpet installation should be carefully researched to make sure the carpet installer uses CRI 104 -CRI 105 Carpet Installation Standards. Failure to follow recommended installation procedures can allow for a shoddy installation. Always preserve about 1 square foot piece of the original uninstalled carpet. Some manufacturing defect analysis only can be performed on unused (untrafficked) carpet. Also, should the carpet fail (which is rare), it is helpful to evaluate a new piece versus a sample that has been trafficked. Attic stock (preserved carpet) also can be used to plug damaged areas or heavily stained or soiled areas.