Page 8 - TFSWinter2020
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Pattern Match Carpet Success

                               By James Macdonald II, CIM of Commercial Flooring Professional

             he need for articles about how to install patterned
             carpet is important because unfortunately, there are
        Tmore mechanics experienced in installing carpet tile
        and too few experienced in installing patterned broadloom.

        This article is more of an overview and not so much a
        “how to.” Both are necessary. Fresh on our minds is our
        experience from a recent large-scale patterned carpet
        installation at Pennsylvania State Courts and Judiciary
        Building. It is adjacent to the capitol complex, and ranks
        right up there as one of the most prestigious and difficult
        installations in our portfolio. Think executive offices and
        judge’s chambers.  Looking back on this installation, it was
        loaded with challenges. Through this experience, it became
        very clear that a successful patterned carpet installation
        includes (among other things) 3 P’s: Planning, People, and
        Production.  As an installer, you are one of the people.
        A very important one. But both the planning and the
        production of the carpet are so essential that they either   options. With this client, we knew we had to educate them
        contribute toward your success as a professional patterned   that the main hallways, not the adjacent offices must be
        carpet installer, or they will cost you time and money.   installed first to assure pattern match at doorways. Planning
        Installing patterned carpet is more than just lining up the   also meant many conversations between the installer, end
        pattern. You are responsible for not only your labor, but the   user, our mill rep, and even people in production. Planning
        cost of the carpet you are about to install! Before you cut   meant the first piece of patterned carpet would be the
        that carpet, before you chalk line patterns, be engaged in   most important, visually as a focal point from the client’s
        these three P’s.                                    perspective, and most important for all the subsequent cuts
                                                            of carpet to be matched to it. Planning, for the installer,
        PLANNING                                            also means considering access to areas not with boxes of
        What does planning have to do with a successful pattern   tile, but with large rolls of carpet. Planning means assuming
        carpet installation? Planning in our case made the   your pattern will be bowed (arced from left to right), skewed
        difference in client expectations, installer exasperation, and   (running off at an angle), and that there will be variations in
        manufacturer credibility. We planned on paper and on digital   pattern elongation, yet all within production tolerances. Are
        screen where we would start with the pattern. We looked at   you prepared to make perfect a little bow, a little skew, and a
                                                            little elongation?

                                                            I am biased. Of all the people involved in a successful pattern
                                                            carpet installation, my bias is that you, the installer, are most
                                                            important. Your expectation of and ability to correct less
                                                            than perfect pattern match makes you an ally to the project
                                                            manager, the client, and folks at the mill. Your professional
                                                            attitude coupled with confidence that you know how to do
                                                            it, will earn respect and more work. Knowing how to find a
                                                            focal point in the pattern using your tape, string line, laser
                                                            and straight edge are important. Having the knee kicker,
                                                            even though it may be a glue down rather than a stretch in
                                                            installation, and “stay tacks” (or “stubby nails” for concrete)
                                                            to hold your pattern correction before glue is fully set are
                                                            also important. These are not only important aspects to
                                                            patterned carpet installation, but they are typical. Many

   8       Flooring Specialist       Winter 2020
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