Carpeting's Top Tips

1. Look closely at the use of the area where the carpet will be installed. If there will be moisture, such as areas adjoining a shower or pool, look for fibers that are mold-, rot- and mildew-resistant. Nylon and olefin are best for these areas. High-traffic areas usually need nylon also, as it wears a little better than olefin.

Gerald Smith,Facilities Technician, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta

2. When it comes to installing your carpeting, have the contractor remove all debris off site at his or her expense, make sure all subsurfaces are clean and level before laying the carpeting, make sure the adhesive has set before the installation (have MSDS sheets available for complaints), make sure that all side and end seams are edge glued, do not allow end seams or end splices except at structural columns and always have the contractor provide three percent overage of uncut goods, not scraps.

Henry Maas, Senior-Planner-Estimator-Scheduler, Facilities Management and Services, California State University, Chico

3. New carpet and the adhesives used in installation will emit some odors. While these odors are not harmful, some individuals may find them offensive. Individuals easily irritated by perfumes, deodorizers or other odors may want to stay away from the area where new carpet is being installed and for 48 to 72 hours after the installation.

Jim McCallum, president, Lees, a Div. of Burlington Industries, Inc., Greensboro, N.C.

4. An enhancer pad usually has a memory, so do not allow your contractor to stretch it into place.

Henry Maas, Senior-Planner-Estimator-Scheduler, Facilities Management and Services, California State University, Chico

5. Installing and maintaining interior and exterior walk-off mats is critical to keeping dirt off floors in the first place.

Robert Key, Facilities Management Department, Longwood College

6. Always compare the specifications located on the manufacturer’s portfolio. Some key factors to compare include the following.

- Tufted yarn weight: usually 28 oz.

- Dye method: Solution or filament dye methods are good. Never buy vat-dyed carpet as the color runs do not always match at side or end seams.

- Determine the construction: Tufted loop pile, multilevel loop pile, cut loop pile, etc. Some manufactures (e.g., Bigelow) provide locking systems for individual locking and setting of pile loops.

- Stitches per inch: usually 10 or more.

- Gauge: usually 1/10.

- Primary backing: usually polypropylene.

- Secondary backing: usually polypropylene or may include enhancer pad pending manufacturer.

- Density: minimum of 6,000 to 10,000 oz./cubic yard.

- Smoke density and flaming: usually less than 450.

- Warranties: Always ask for a written material manufacturer’s warranty signed and dated by a corporate officer.

Henry Maas, Senior-Planner-Estimator-Scheduler, Facilities Management and Services ,California State University, Chico

7. Keeping carpet clean is important. Dirt that is left on carpet will wear on the fibers and shorten the life of the carpet. Vacuuming often is good, and steam cleaning does the best job. Cleaning systems that use a shampoo can leave a soap residue that will attract dirt, and the carpet will get dirty more quickly.

Gerald Smith, Facilities Technician, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta

8. Determine the type of carpet installations you want.

- Do you want a direct glue down installation or stretched with perimeter tack strips?

- Is a pad required? What type of pad? Pads usually do not meet ADA standards as wheelchairs do not move easily across them. Thin, dense pads work best.

- Do you want your pads to be physically attached to the back side of carpet (enhancer pad), glued down first with carpet glued over top (double stick) or loose laid in between tack strips? Note: All loose pads should be token attached to subflooring to prevent migration.

Henry Maas, Senior-Planner-Estimator-Scheduler, Facilities Management and Services, California State University, Chico

9. When purchasing carpeting, look at the color issue from a performance standpoint as well as aesthetics. Proper color selection will help the carpeting keep its intended appearance for years to come. For example, high-traffic locations in private and open office areas, as well as corridors, are served well with multicolored carpeting, which does a better job of hiding those inevitable stains that can’t always be treated on a timely basis. In areas with large windows, fade resistance to sunlight is an issue -- and so are atmospheric contaminants. Investigate which manufacturers offer color systems that include permanent stain-resistant technology that is proven to be effective.

Jim McCallum, president, Lees, a Div. of Burlington Industries, Inc., Greensboro, N.C.

10. Pattern selection is important. Select a pattern that does not overwhelm you. Ask for a large (3 ft. by 3 ft.) sample.

Henry Maas, Senior-Planner-Estimator-Scheduler, Facilities Management and Services, California State University, Chico

11. Know your options.

-Fibers: Natural fibers are luxurious, but the variety of colors and patterns of nylon carpeting choices has expanded tremendously. Nylon is stain and abrasion resistant, and is an excellent choice for high-traffic areas. Olefin is a more economical choice, and it is stain resistant. However, once it is stained, it can be difficult to get clean.

- Pile: Low-level loop pile is the favorite for high-traffic areas. Cut pile carpet offers a more luxurious feel, but is not as crush-resistant.

Backing: Jute and other natural backings are strong, but tend to absorb moisture. Synthetic backings are moisture resistant, and have proven to be durable as well.

- Installation: For high-traffic areas, particularly where wheeled vehicles travel, glue-down is the best choice. Peel-’n’-stick is also popular and available in a variety of types . For areas that have modular furnishings (partitions and workstations) that are relocated or reconfigured regularly, carpet tiles can be effective. Carpet tiles allow the maintenance staff to remove worn or stained pieces without having to recarpet the entire area. Replace-ment can be completed by raising the modular furnishings off the floor a few inches, as opposed to complete disassembly, removal and re-installation. Stretch-in installation is the “old-school” type of installation and is still fine for low-traffic areas.

Robert Key, Facilities Management Department, Longwood College

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