12 Steps, by David Hunt

Discussion in 'Spotlight on Flooring Professionalism' started by David Hunt, Jun 28, 2015.

  1. David Hunt

    David Hunt Charter Member Senior Member Published

    Greetings to All!

    It's been a while since I've posted and I hope you'll be patient with me as I attempt to get back up to speed with the site. Thanks.

    We recently had a simple runner job with a couple of twists. The runner was a generic Karastan runner, 100% wool pile, face to face wilton woven to a width of 30" with the edges serged. The pattern has a 57" repeat that is actually a 114" for a straight match in the body portion of the pattern. But I digress...

    The job was 12 steps with no landings or pies. One twist was, the runner on the top step needed to be 32" wide and every step down got progressively wider to the bottom step where the runner needed to end at 54" wide. The second twist was, every step was curved out in the center.

    I've got to say, at first glance there didn't appear to be anything particularly difficult with this job ... except for the curve of each step and that they wanted them fit in the waterfall method. Oh, and we needed to match the pattern. OK :eek:

    Here's photos of the naked steps.

    Attached Files:

  2. David Hunt

    David Hunt Charter Member Senior Member Published


    With every step being a different size and no straight or square lines to work from, a template was made for each step. To be completely honest, knowing the curve would require each step to end beyond the point in the pattern required for match, I made a best guess on the quantity. ...and just barely squeaked by, needing to monkey match the body on one step, but I will not say which step.

    With the installation plan calling for the runner to be fit in the waterfall method darts were sewn in the riser just below the nose of the tread. Otherwise it was a fairly straight forward fabrication.

    With a picture being worth a thousand words, I'll let the photos tell the rest of the story. Hope you enjoy them and I appreciate the opportunity to share.

    With kindest regards,


    Attached Files:

  3. David Hunt

    David Hunt Charter Member Senior Member Published

    My apologies, it seem's the size of the photos require multiple posts. Sorry Jim, baby steps, I'll get this worked out for next time


    Here are the photos of the runner on the steps. It's funny because when we look from the top down, the change in the width of the runner appears unnoticeable.

    Thanks again!


    Attached Files:

  4. David Hunt

    David Hunt Charter Member Senior Member Published


    Here are a few up close and in progress photos. Did I mention there were end caps also? Thanks again!


    Attached Files:

  5. Roland Thompson

    Roland Thompson Charter Member Senior Member

    Let me be the first to say, HELLO David. looks cool. Here is a flight I did that was of the same manor. Thanks to you, I can handle these type of job's

    Attached Files:

  6. David Hunt

    David Hunt Charter Member Senior Member Published

    Last photo, just to show the pattern match because aligning the pattern on every step was perhaps the most challenging aspect of the job. That and the fact that this job was done in only 74 pieces. Thanks again & again!!


    Attached Files:

  7. Grant H

    Grant H I'd rather be patting my dog.

    Very nice Craftsmanship guys. Credits to the profession.
  8. Daris Mulkin

    Daris Mulkin The One and Only Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    As always both of you guys did an excellent job. Mr Hunt I have a question. I see you have a running match up the steps. I got into an argument with a designer about that. She says that the pattern should be in the same spot on each step, that is what every installer should know. In this case the stairway was done in one piece, how could it not match? We got into a pissing match and she hung up on me. I also said if that is the way you want it done put it on the work order otherwise it goes on in the biggest piece possible.
    Who is right?


  9. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    It seems to me, if the person doing the install knows it can be done in more than one way and no option was chosen, then he/she must ASK before doing. The designer may not know that there are choices to be made. The installer should not presume to be the arbiter of design, especially when there is a real designer to work with.

    Just one more instance where communication, or lack thereof, can make the difference in the success of a job.

  10. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Administwative Asst. Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Following that logic, this job with a 57 inch repeat would call for 57 inches for each 18 inch step, that's a lotta waste. David using a running match and the pattern is not the same on each step.
  11. David Hunt

    David Hunt Charter Member Senior Member Published

    Daris, to answer your question in short...

    To force a pattern to land in the same spot on each step disrupts the parallelism, radiation and rectangulation of the design and ultimately impedes the eye's ability to enjoy the pattern.

    Maybe this will help more? The longer, more detailed version of the answer is located in TFP's articles section: Patterned Carpet On Stairs | The Floor Pro Community

  12. Daris Mulkin

    Daris Mulkin The One and Only Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Incidentally I was not the installer on the scenario I mentioned. I was asked for my opinion which she did not like because I said it was a perfect match beings the carpet was one piece from top to bottom, how could it not be a match. To her a match was where the pattern was the same on every step. I basically was told I didn't know what I was talking about.

    David, good having you back my friend.


  13. David Hunt

    David Hunt Charter Member Senior Member Published

    Thanks for the welcome backs. It is appreciated.


  14. kylenelson

    kylenelson You'll find me on the floor I Support TFP Senior Member

    I am curious about your patterning of the steps, and what method you use. Fantastic job on the stairs!
  15. Mike Sliwinski

    Mike Sliwinski The Doctor Is In I Support TFP Senior Member

    What a surprise, I came home for some seam tape and decided to log on and see what's new. Fantastic job ! and WELCOME back !! :cool:

  16. Lance

    Lance Charter Member

    So the curve is pretty mellow and i like the idea of sewing darts in them. Will more darts work on a more drastic curve with a little hot water instead of cutting?
  17. JPfloor

    JPfloor Pro Member

    Nice work gentlemen...

    Although you mentioned pattern matching to be the most challenging part, I'm particularly impressed with the waterfall installation on the rounded steps. I've done that in the past and it's no easy task. Did you have to sew different size darts for each step? The bottom couple of steps almost appear to have a large enough circumference to not require sewing... I think I would have begged the designer to consider cap and band on a job like that!:cool:

    I noticed how you put a seam in the middle of the end cap to get the miters to line up very nicely... Kudos! I also think I would have begged to omit the end caps! LOL :cool:
  18. Nate Hall

    Nate Hall Types With toes I Support TFP Senior Member Published

    David! You were missed...bigtime. glad to see you back'
    The face to face weave is a bit stiff, which helps on the risers but any tension discrepancy and you get wrinkles. Did you use tackless strip and a stair stretcher? Details please.
    The last one I did like that was a broadloom and I got to french cap them. MUCH easier without the border.
  19. David Hunt

    David Hunt Charter Member Senior Member Published

    Thanks for allowing me to share. I'll try to answer the questions and hopefully don't forget anyone.

    Nate: The materials were stretched onto tackless with a strip on the tread and riser. No mechanical stretcher required. Because a template was used, each step was sewn to fit like a glove and no stretching was required for alignment other than the normal tension required to seat the material on the pins and make it taut.

    JP: The size of the darts decreased with the width of the runner. On the bottom step we removed a wedge approximately 1-1/2" x 12" where as the upper most step the wedge was approximately 3/4" x 4".

    All steps required sewing darts. One secret I will share is, because the field on every step is comprised of three pieces, we stitched the darts in the field before stitching the border. This allowed the border design to remain uncompromised. Not to mention the serging.

    I'm truly surprised anyone caught the seam in the bottom end cap.

    There was no designer involved, we worked directly with the client and never allow the difficulty to influence the customers preference. Truth be told, when the client asked for my opinion on which method would look best, I told them that, for this particular pattern, I believed the waterfall method would be best because it would prevent the design from becoming to chopped on every tread and riser. Even though I knew it was by far a more difficult install. As for the end caps, it's just a little more sewing and at this point, what's a little more.

    Lance: Darts will work on any curve. The one caveat is; the greater the curve, the greater the section that is removed, the greater the section removed the more havoc it can have wreak on the pattern.

    As for the application of water, I'm a bit confused, is the application intended to soften to enhance stretch or shrink to replace stretch? In either case the benefits of hot water are constrained by the size of the step. Not to mention some material are more receptive to hot water than others.

    Mike: Thanks Mike, I think it might be good to be back!

    Kyle: The pattern, or template, was made with regular sheet paper. This allowed the both the angle of the stringers and curve of the tread/riser to be easily measured back in the shop. It also enabled us to find the center point of each tread for pattern alignment. However, the greatest benefit was the ability to curve of the darts in register with the arch of the tread. Effectively eliminating puckers which, in a face-to-face wilton would be near impossible to remove.

    Daris & Roland: Thanks guys.

    A few other random thoughts... what made the pattern alignment more challenging was; while the center point of the step measured 20", to compensate for the curve and darts, each step needed to be fabricated at 21-1/2". This required an 1-1/2 over lap on each step to keep the pattern on the center panel of the field in register. Sewing the darts and the attaching the border made the treads look like Ruffle Potato chips when they were laid on the shop table. It was a bit unnerving but had to trust the template. Another small detail was the serging that required a careful application of latex to prevent raveling.

    Hopefully some part of this information helps you with your next install.

    With kindest regards,

  20. Mike Sliwinski

    Mike Sliwinski The Doctor Is In I Support TFP Senior Member

    My eyes are playing tricks :blink: because I can't see (post #2 )the sewn darts ? or any break in striation lines and !! absolutely no havoc in the pattern from the manipulation.

    You are ! David Carpetfield :p (The Magician)


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