Carpet: Uneven gaps at baseboard.

Discussion in 'Carpet Q&A' started by 1nurse, Sep 4, 2017.

  1. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Its looks like that didn't happen. In some of your pics, carpenters sometimes fidge the base up or down to fit which looks like up on that one corner and down on the other. Or else your slab is uneven. Its hard to shim on concrete as most installers probably don't carry the tools or longer concrete nails to go that long to bite the floor. We see this quite often when they don't scribe the base to the floor. I had one the other day where they hung the base at 5/8" and I was worried about the coverage. I held the tackstrip tight to the base front just to be sure and it covered barely. Adding an additional piece of trim would be the best. Also, the installer could trim that carpet where it is too long and dishing under the base. Here is a job I added a trim to the bottom of the wall because the wall board was high. It was in our bid to do this.

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  2. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    What is that bump on picture three on the right side?
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  3. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    I finally looked at pics a little closer. If they don't fix by adjusting, I think a nice trim piece that looks aesthetically pleasing would actually dress up and add to the looks of a 3 dimensional base. Looks kind of plain and unfinished to me, maybe match/coordinate with the top of trim, just not too wide getting into carpet field like 1/4 round. A trim carpenter would be the one for precise millworks.
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  4. 1nurse

    1nurse Member

    It's just a weird high place, there are several of these odd areas where there are huge gaps and then a big stuffed bump.

    I just don't agree. The installer may be paid to install to the best of his ability, but we paid for an onsite estimate (basement was completely empty with a concrete slab) which was done by the same carpet company who installed the carpet. It sounds like I needed to be a carpet install expert to ensure a good outcome. They easily could have said, a short berber is not going to work in this space with these baseboards and the uneven floor. They could have given us the opportunity to address the baseboard issue (if there is one) or given us an opportunity to level the floor (since that is what they are saying caused it. Either way, it sounds like the onus was on me to read their minds or become a flooring expert prior to having carpet installed.

    You may be right, but trimming with additional molding/quarter round looks a bit tacky in my opinion and the rounded corners just makes it more challenging. I also have a barn door that I don't want to pull away from the wall with additional molding.

    We are being told that if we choose to do anything but additional molding that the install warranty and the carpet warranty will be voided.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 5, 2017
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  5. 1nurse

    1nurse Member

    Thank you. Your suggestions make sense, unfortunately I will have to hire someone to do this. I am also being told by the installer and the big box store we went through that the install warranty and carpet warranty will be voided if we try to pull the carpet back to fix it. At this point, I guess I don't really care because it's going to drive me crazy to leave it this way. Thanks again.
  6. 1nurse

    1nurse Member

    The carpet company didn't say it was their fault. They initially said it was the fault of the baseboards being too high (the carpet co owner based this assumption on the photos). When they came back to inspect the issue in person, they said the baseboards were fine, but it was due to the substrate not being level. In neither scenario have they ever said it was their fault. The owner of the carpet company said "There was no way to tell anything was wrong until his people actually installed the carpet." He won't comment on the fact that 'his people" were the ones that did site survey/measure and indicated that floor leveling was a potential concern (something that was never followed up on).

    To clarify a bit: This was not a new construction. The house is 14 years old and the basement was just finished. Our contractor only finished the bathroom, kitchenette, walls etc. We had to paint and have the carpet installed ourselves. We hired a big box store who subcontracted it out. We are not flooring specialists, we trusted that they would do the on site survey/estimate and communicate any concerns related to the substrate and recommend an appropriate carpet for the job.

    They said to cover it up with molding.
  7. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    The warranty from the manufacturer is not voided in that case, how can they even say that? I think they are in the wrong business selling carpet by what they have told you.
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  8. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    I didn't see that posted before. Time to go up the chain of command. Don't waste any more time with the installation company, other than to tell them you are going to the contract desk at Home Depot to see if they can resolve this issue. Your warranty isn't void. It is precisely your installation warranty that you are trying to get them to honor. If they are unwilling to admit they made mistakes, then go to the next supervisor in line.

    I have a feeling your installation company will suddenly discover they have other options to resolve this.
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  9. Steve Olson

    Steve Olson Hardwood/Laminate Guru Charter Member Senior Member

    Well, here's the reason it was done around where I live. Contractors were installing 1-5/8" Luan mahogany basebords, set on the floor. Once carpet was installed it looked like dang 1/4 round. So, they shimmed it up, and in situations where the base ran continuously into a vinyl area with 3/8" underlayment, it allowed the base to flow nicely, as it sat snug to the vinyl, it was spaced to where you actually saw most of the base.
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  10. Hanover Fist

    Hanover Fist Pro Member

    Ok - (former) Coloradoan chiming in here. I installed floors on the Front Range for nearly 20 years.
    You have in your area what is called expansive soil. This makes concrete basements very tricky, because they have to have pea-gravel substrate, which results in uneven floors. There's no getting around that, unless you grind down high spots, and backfill/level the low spots. Problem with this is that tackstrip is infamously iffy when installed to anything but actual concrete - SLC can shatter and would be useless in this situation.

    Now, any general contractor worth a shyte will know this, and will tell their trim carpenter that the baseboard gap needs to be 3/8" MAX. This may mean it's touching the concrete in some places. That's normal and any flooring contractor that's installed 2 floors in CO will know how to deal with that.
    This does not appear to be what happened here.

    I'd also like to know how the install manager for a flooring store knows what 'perfect' base install is. What's his professional basis for this statement? To be frank, I have a hard time believing this bit of the story - seems self-defeating for this cat to have said this.

    That aside, as noted extensively above, my opinion is that this is probably a combination of factors here, as follows:
    1) Trim carpenter installs base too high where the concrete subfloor 'dips low' - every problem you have flows downhill from this, but it's not your only problem.
    2) You bought flooring from a big box store. They hire the cheapest labor they can get - that's how it works, and that's what you got. I probably know the outfit, but that's of no consequence.
    2a) The tackstrip should be no more than 1/4" away from the base edge, laterally. I taught my apprentices that you should not be able to put more than the thickness of a piece of tackstrip on edge between strip and base.
    2b) The carpet should also not run upwards under the base - if it does it can force the backing off the pins and eventually become loose - it is cut too long.
    3) Everyone is pointing at someone else here, and they're all right, while being wrong.

    Now, the fix.
    Best solution: total reboot starting with reset trim, then reset tackstrip, and re-installed carpet.
    If you've signed off on any of this, or paid for it, your access to remedy via CO contractor's board is next to nil. In CO, payment is considered acceptance, and you're left with the good nature of the contractor and how much they value their name, and your future business.

    Second best option, have carpet re-done by having floor professionally leveled and re-install on top of that. As above, this is likely to be an out of pocket expense if this was not part of the contract. Guessing the big-box's subcontractor is unwilling to remedy out of pocket, as they probably made chicken scratch off the job to begin with. You contract to a big box for quantity, not quality, of pay.

    Last option: shoe molding or 1/4 round to hide the gap.
    It'll look cheap, but not as bad as the gaps, and will also cover the valleys and long-cut carpet, while 'locking' it down onto the strip pins.

    There's no easy painless fix from here outside of option 3, sorry to say.

    I do wish you luck, in any case.
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  11. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    I'll add some more, I worked at both boxes, I think you still have leverage, it'll most likely come out of the installers pocket. So me being military, and as Jim says, chain of command, they are lined up at the box stores. Install manager, regional manager, corporate level, store level, how high you want to go?

    Tell you this, they want to void warranty? Try me! You may not even end up with that carpet depending on your acceptable resolution. Oh hell no it ain't over type of attitude I would have.

    Say you're a nurse and the big gap in their skin after stitching up is acceptable as their blood spills through. ( just an analogy)
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  12. Chris 45

    Chris 45 Director of P.R. on some deserted island. I Support TFP

    You're dead on, Mike. Might not get results with lower level people in the chain but if you go up high enough and do it in an acceptable way, you will get results. I always hated to see people get the run around for weeks or even months with inspections and attempted repairs. Once they got pissed off enough and went to corporate, things happened.
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  13. Elmer Fudd

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

    @1nurse Skip the install manager, speak to the store manager, give him 7 days to come up with an acceptable remedy. Then go to corporate, HD is in Atlanta, Lowe's is in Charlotte. You will get results.
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  14. 1nurse

    1nurse Member


    I really appreciate all the responses! We hired a reputable contractor to come out and take at look. He said without any hesitation that it was simply due to the tack strip being way too far away from the wall, which several of you mentioned. He pulled the carpet back and shoved padding under the low areas to bring it up. (By the way, I suggested this very thing to our installer and he said absolutely not a possibility). Looks a thousand times better! He only charged $200 (of course we tipped him), I will keep their number for any future carpet installs. I'm just happy it's over and I didn't have to install quarter round!

    Thanks again everyone for the help!
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  15. Darren Ramey

    Darren Ramey Charter Member I Support TFP

    Sorry I'm late to the thread but yeah that is a pretty obvious case of the strip being too far away from the wall. That said, it's not necessarily the installers fault (though in the pics they have cramed too much carpet under there and that is totally their fault). The proper way to install strip is to leave a gully to tuck in to, but when the base is that high, it's best to bend the rules a bit and install the strip right at the edge of the base or even a little under. It helps if you use strip that is a little wider than the norm.

    The strip itself is 1/4" high and there aren't any residential carpet's thinner than an eighth of an inch so a 3/8ths gap shouldn't be a problem. Now if I do this and there are still gaps, I don't consider that my problem what so ever. I've seen many finish carpenters run base 3/4" off the floor, and I'm sorry but that's his problem to fix. On the other hand if there are just a couple of spots I will pull those up and fix them.

    A big part of the problem is that it is really hard to judge where it will work and where it won't until you get it installed and fixing at that point is a lot of work.

    I do like raised base. It makes my job easier most of the time, but personally I think 3/8" is too high in most cases, I recommend 1/4".
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  16. Chris 45

    Chris 45 Director of P.R. on some deserted island. I Support TFP

    Some areas of today's job had the base tight to the subfloor and some areas looked like this. Gonna need some journeyman in a tube to dress this mess up.

  17. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    That base looks like its be cut in place.
  18. Don Monfils

    Don Monfils PRO CARPET Charter Member

    It looks like it was cut with a knife and fork o_O
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