Unfortunately, most consumers spend their time choosing color, pattern, and texture, and proper installation is never given a second thought. Here are several important second thoughts to consider.

Ripples, buckles, and bulges develop a few months after installation.

Many a professional installer’s assistant gets a few months’ experience, purchases minimum tools, quits his job, and goes into business. How is that related to your problem? He simply doesn’t have one essential tool required, per every carpet installation school, which is a power stretcher. Properly installed, only carpets with all-synthetic backing will ripple and require re-stretching after a few years. Remember, ripples in traffic areas create greatly accelerated wear.

My carpet is raveling or losing tufts at the seams.

Sprouting tufts should be clipped immediately, and seam separations should be repaired quickly. Otherwise, traffic will literally kick the carpet apart in these areas. What causes raveling? Although age could be blamed, it is usually the installer’s failure to edge-bead (with latex adhesive) the carpet’s cut edge before seaming. Edge-beading locks tufts in place, eliminating raveling or tuft loss.

The edge of my carpet along the baseboard has gotten grey and dingy over the years.

This is caused by airborne dust and soil filtering through the nap. Although filter soiling is not entirely preventable without caulking under baseboards, the installer can stop most of it with double tucking. This is done by forcing a double thickness of carpet into the gully between your tack strip and the baseboard. The “U” that is formed stops filter soiling.

The seams separated the first time the carpet was cleaned.

Two possibilities exist.

First, installers occasionally get in a hurry and may move their seaming irons too rapidly across their hot-melt seaming tape. Inadequate adhesion between the tape and the carpet back results.

Second, woven carpet is usually back-coated with a glue compound that will not bond to hot-melt seaming adhesives. The slower, more expensive, latex-seaming technique must be used. If done, when shrinkage tension is produced by thorough cleaning, seam separation is unlikely.