Professional carpet installation is very important to the life and finished look of your carpet. Installation is often an overlooked yet one of the most important parts of your new carpet investment.
A professional carpet installer must provide you with:
Get all details in writing before the work begins. Examples:
1. Proof of liability insurance.
In the event that the installer damages your home or your new carpet, the installer should be able to provide you with a copy of their insurance policy.
2. Warranty of work.
An installer should be able to provide you with a written warranty of the contracted work. A one-year WRITTEN warranty is standard. It should cover at least all seaming problems and re-stretching services. Verbal warranties are NOT acceptable! If an installer does not have his warranty in writing, request on ein writing BEFORE the job. If the installer is not willing to do that, hire another installer who will.
Verify all references. Anyone can claim a reference, make sure the references are real. Call or visit at least one or two people who have done business with the installer.
1. Placement of seams (see more information below). 2. Responsibility for adjusting doors. Make sure that doors will open clear and swing freely over the new carpet. 3. Responsibility for moving furniture. 4. Removal and disposal of old carpet (make sure all costs are clearly allocated and that proper disposal laws are met by the installer. 5. List of any other concerns about your particular situation.
Prior to installation, make a list of all existing damage to walls, base boards, etc in the rooms where carpet will be installed. Have the installer inspect and initial this list. Take pictures of the wall area before the job begins.This will prevent any doubt about whether or not damage was caused by your installer. Also:
1. The sub floor (flooring where carpet will be laid) should be clean 2. Room temperature, sub floor and the carpet itself, should be at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Then the carpet will stretch properly into place. 3. Fill all holes and cracks in the sub floor before laying carpet. This will help prevent damage to the carpet.
Additional considerations about the carpet laying process:
1. Do not place carpet seams directly over pad seams unless the seams will be running perpendicular. 2. Good lighting will help hide the seams. Place seams under the primary natural light source when possible. 3. Seams should be out of main traffic patterns if possible. 4. Placing seams under furniture will help hide them.
1. Ventilating the area where carpet is being installed will help avoid the buildup of any gasses emitted from your new carpet (see Carpet Gases for more information). 2. The nap of carpet should be aligned in the same direction. Carpet piles (tufts of fiber) laid improperly against the adjoining nap will produce undesirable carpet appearance. It will also appear as though the two pieces are different colors. All adjacent carpet should be laid with the nap facing in the same direction. 3. Thoroughly vacuum the old carpet prior to removal. 4. Proper molding between thresholds of carpet and other types of flooring should be used. 5. A power stretcher is usually necessary to stretch today's type of carpets into place. Ask if a power stretcher will be used.
Carpet installation is charged at approximately $3 to $6 per square yard for most residential carpet. Geographically, this charge can be quite a bit higher in major metro markets such as Los Angeles, Chicago, DC and New York City. Local pay scales, economy, demand, and labor unions are the major cause of this higher pricing. It does not mean you will get better service, it is just the price you pay for living in the city you chose. Also, installers will generally have a minimum fee that will be charged if the job is too small. A minimum charge in the $75 to $100 range is standard.Carpet layers may also charge extra for the following:
1. $1.00 to $2.00 per square yard extra to move furniture. 2. $1.00 to $2.00 per square yard extra for Berber 3. $1.00 to $2.00 per square yard extra to remove the existing/old carpet. 4. $1.00 to $2.00 per square yard extra to dispose of the existing/old carpet, often called a discard fee. (note: although you can save this money by pulling it up yourself and throwing it away in your trash, it is not any easy job. And, it will likely wind up in our already overflowing landfills. If it is at all possible find out if you can achieve your decorating goals by having your existing carpet dyed). 5. Installers also charge extra for steps, irregularities and protrusions into the room. It will be "built into the cost" if you don't see it on your bill. Never-the-less, it is there! 6. A fee is usually charged to you for installation appointment rescheduling if you reschedule, but no discount is given if the installer has to reschedule. In some cases, an installer has to reschedule (i.e. weather conditions, road accidents, etc.).
The Cost of "Do-It-Yourself" Carpet Installation
You may be able to save about $1.00 per yard by hiring your own installer instead of using your local carpet retailer's installer. You can verify this by calling some stores and asking them what they charge for installation. If they won't tell you what the installation charges are or if they claim "it's included", ask how much you can buy the carpet for if you install it yourself. Remember, nothing is free and nothing is really included without a cost figured in somewhere.
Liabilities & Responsibilities
Carpet installers hired by you are solely responsible for their work. A good independent carpet installer will provide you with a fair price, written warranties and verifiable references that you need for a comfort zone as well as recourse should something go awry. You will not have any recourse with the any carpet installer, whether associated with the carpet retailer or an independent installer, if the warranties are not in writing.
Carpet Installation Warranties:
Also, the actual carpet warranties are dependent on proper installation to some degree, so that it is wise to verify with the carpet manufacturer's policies and warranties how the carpet installation affects your rights. (Note: insist on seeing the manufacturer's WHOLE warranty BEFORE you purchase any carpet.) If possible, get a list of customers who have bought the same type of carpet and a list of customers who have dealt with the carpet retailer for at least 5 years.
If installation is not done properly, chances are you won't notice right away. Most poor or bad installations aren't visible until several months or even years after installation. It is better to take every precaution and verification step BEFORE a problem occurs so that if and when it does you will know what steps to take to exercise your consumer rights.
Important Information About Installing Patterned Carpet
Patterned carpet is more difficult to install than solid color carpet because the patterns as well as the naps have to be lined up. The same applies to most multi-color and sculptured carpets. From here we shall refer to all patterned carpet, multi-color carpet and sculptured carpet as "patterned carpet". In patterned carpets, patterns may not be exactly the same size (may be off several inches over a large room area). This creates the need for the installer to stretch one side of the carpet in order to match the pattern at the seam. Although this is normal on patterned carpet installation, it further substantiates the need to hire an installer educated and experienced in various installations.
Carpet Installer Education and Credentials
Some installers have taken higher education courses in the field of carpet installation such as the CFI certification program. This certification can be obtained by a company which provides installation services with one installer and not the other field installers. This is dependent on whether the installer company or the individual installer has completed the courses. Ask to see the certification proof of each installer on your job. Write down the certification number for your records. Also make note of the actual time of arrival, total time working, time of completion, any call back work dates/times and the names of every installer on the job. We recommend that the installer is CFI certified with at least an R2 or C2 rating.
Carpet Allergies and VOC's
Our research on this subject is as follows:
Complaints arising about carpet gases and emissions from new carpet installations which could cause allergies or other health problems are so far not valid. At the core of the issue is the emission of VOC's (volatile organic compounds). There is a misconception that the actual carpet fibers produce VOC's. These airborne VOC's get trapped at the respective carpet manufacturing facilities and stay in the carpet until installed. A few days after installation (after the carpet is aired out) VOC's release into the air of a home. Although the level of emissions are quite low, they will dissipate in a just few days.
All existing studies prove that VOC's are never emitted at an "unsafe" level. The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI), in response to these complaints, began placing a green label (seen below) on carpets that pass its test for safe VOC emission levels. Allergic reactions arise from dust mites, dirt and mildew that can build up in carpet due to a lack of cleaning, not from the carpet itself. However, VOC's can also be emitted by an adhesive called "seam sealer". Ask your installer to use a seam sealer with the same CRI green label.
More carpeting information from a third party. Expert carpet inspectors disclose many vital facts about carpet.
If you insist on doing the installation yourself, read this page first:
Do It Yourself Carpet Installation.
We do not endorse home owner self installation methods. We strongly endorse home owner self education!
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