Do you know where your seams are?
Seam placement is vitally important to the overall look and longevity of your carpet.
Carpet comes in rolls 12 to 15 ft wide. A Standard roll is usually 12 foot wide. Because most rooms are larger, installers must add an additional piece of carpet to make up the difference. To adjoin the additional piece of carpet to the main piece, installers must make a seam.
After carefully lining both carpets up next to each other, they place the seam tape (a special tape with glue on it that melts when heated) behind the two pieces of carpet.
Then, with a special seaming iron made just for carpet; the installer inserts the iron under the two pieces of carpet, while resting the hot part of the iron on the glue tape underneath. This causes the glue to melt. As it melts, the installer will move the iron slowly forward by its handle, while carefully manipulating the carpet together. The installer must be careful not to catch loose fibers in the seam during this process as it could create valleys, making the seam look more visible.
Once the two pieces are joined together, a tool called a tractor must be run over the seam in a back and forth motion. The tractor is a handle with little metal wheels and blunt spikes on the end. When run across the seam, this smooths out any rough areas, blends the two pieces of carpet together, and ensures the bond of the tape to the carpet backing. Now, you have one solid piece of carpet that will accommodate the room over 12 foot in size. It is common to have a seam in doorways and closet doors.
Although installers can create a good seam, there is NO SEAM THAT IS INVISIBLE.
Some carpets create a better seam. Carpets that are plush, or thicker accept a seam better and allow for a seam to be less noticeable.
Low nap, pattern, or berber carpets leave more of an opportunity for a seam to be visible, or more pronounced.
As important as it is that your installer makes a good seam, where an installer places the seam is even more important. Seam placement is figured when your flooring professional measures your area, not when the installer comes to install. The reason for this is so the right amount of carpet can be ordered. When measuring, your flooring professional will take into consideration the layout of your room, where your furniture is placed, location of doorways into adjoining rooms, and light sources. Where your furniture is placed is important because seams should be placed in areas where they will receive the least amount of traffic across them. Seam placement against a wall or underneath a bed or dresser is the preferred place to put a seam. Heavily trafficked areas like entrances and exits, paths to bathroom, hallways, and outside doors should be a last option for seam placement. It is usually a good idea to buy a little extra carpet to avoid placing a seam in these areas.
Where the light sources are in the room is also important because sunlight will flow over seams that run toward windows, making them less visible.
If a seam is run perpendicular to windows it will highlight any valleys where carpet is seamed together. It sounds more complicated than it really is, just think of it like this. If you walk in your room and you have a window straight in front of you on the far wall, you want your seam to run with the flow of your eye, and the light, not against it. This would be front to back. If your seam runs from left to right instead, it breaks the natural flow of the light, and your eye. When the light hits it, it makes any imperfections where your carpet was joined together more pronounced.
Let me guess, you are thinking “Well why is there an imperfection at all if my installer is a professional?” Good question, but as qualified as your installer is, there is still NO INVISIBLE SEAM. That is why seam placement in your room is so critical.
Your flooring professional will always take this into consideration while measuring, so don’t worry, but now you know why seam placement is so important.