Recently installed carpet is uneven near walls.

Discussion in 'Carpet Q&A' started by TSC, Jan 23, 2014.

  1. TSC

    TSC Member

    Hello. I had new carpet installed yesterday and I am afraid that it was not installed properly. The carpet slopes significantly near the walls. In my hallway, the sloping is significant. If you look down the hall, you can see the carpet attached firmly near the wall, rise up in the middle of the hallway, and slope down to the next wall. In the bedroom, if you place furniture against the wall, the sloping causes the furniture to sit unevenly. I would need to place pads under the rear legs of furniture to level it out. The carpet also has a wavy appearance near the baseboards.

    The hard wood floor was perfectly level before the carpet was installed, so I know that is not the problem. Does carpet regularly slope near the walls? I've never noticed it in any other houses.

    After looking at this website, I learned that a power stretcher should always be used. I don't think the installers used one. Could that be the problem?

    Any ideas? Thanks!
  2. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    I doubt this problem is from lack of using a power stretcher, although that may be a problem of another sort. What it sounds like is the carpet pad is much thicker than the tackless strip used along the edges to hold the carpet in place. The furniture's front legs sit on the carpet and pad, the back legs sit on the carpet and tackless (in very rare cases, there is no tackless, which would make the problem even more severe).

    Do you know what pad you bought with the carpet? Thickness and density? How about sharing a picture or 3 with us via our upload system.

  3. TSC

    TSC Member


    Thanks for the quick reply. You are correct in that the pad is much thicker than the tack strips that were used. The pad was much thicker than I expected. The only description of the pad in the quote was "8 LB cushion with spill blocker." The tack strips they used were quite thin.

    I can tell that a vacuum won't pick up anything that is along the walls because of the sloping. The hallway has a pillowed look in the way that it curves up from the wall. I have attached a few pictures. It was hard to take a picture that clearly shows the problem.

    Thanks a lot!

    The first picture shows the waves in the carpet along the baseboard.

    Attached Files:

  4. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    It's difficult to tell from the pictures, but one of your problems may be that the tackless was installed too far away from the wall. Thinner carpet requires a narrower gully to tuck to. It also looks like there are frayed yarns and a not-to-clean an edge where it's tucked in. Maybe it's dirt I see, but the waviness might mean that the carpet was not pressed onto the tackless very well.

    Do not skip the vacuuming step that uses an attachment to get along the edges of a vertical surface, like walls. Not many vacuums can get that close and most vacuums have a hose and nozzle attachment for thorough cleaning.

    I don't see where the pad is too thick though. It isn't apparent in the pictures. That doesn't mean it isn't. I like the density of 8# rebond, but for thinner and berber type carpets, I preferred using 3/8" instead of 7/16" (some people use 1/2"). Yes, you may have to add furniture leg protectors. Tall furniture may even have to be secured to the wall with a hidden strap made for that purpose. Leg protectors will widen the surface contact and help to keep furniture level.

    Call the installer back and voice your concerns. If the installer is employed by the retailer, then call the retailer and ask for them to come with the installer so they can see and then relay your concerns to the installer. Call into question the size of the gully, the quality of the finish on the edges and illustrate any issues you have with furniture placement on those walls.

  5. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    Pretty sure Jim nailed it. It's either the pad is a hair too thick or the tack strips need to be closer to the wall to hold the stretch correctly-----or some combination thereof.

    Not many other possibilities come to mind other than just a REAL sloppy tuck and trim. If that's the case-----meaning there's nothing wrong with the tack strip install or the pad thickness it's a very easy fix......ESPECIALLY if he didn't powerstretch. In that case you just re-stretch, re-trim and this time take the extra minute to tuck it down there nice and sweet. This wouldn't be a carpet to rush through that process because the color and texture really highlight that wiggly, wobbly knife and stair tool work.

    You can go much faster when you don't care how it looks. To be fair though MOST carpets would be more forgiving-------to the point what you're noticing probably wouldn't have been really visible-------so much.
  6. Nate Hall

    Nate Hall Types With Elbows Senior Member Published

    When installing thinner carpets (like yours) I would shim up the strip so you get an even finish. Of course that would cost extra. Hard to put a price on satisfaction but cheap is... real cheap.
  7. TSC

    TSC Member

    Thank you everybody for the information. I'm going to call the store to have them come out and take a look. When I call them, should I also request that the carpet be stretched with a power stretcher? If I pinch the carpet in the middle of the room, I can easily lift it up a few inches. I'm not trying to be a pain in the ass to the store or the installers, but I paid a lot of money for the carpet and I just want it done right. Thank you!
  8. Nate Hall

    Nate Hall Types With Elbows Senior Member Published

    Yes! Unless you have an exceptional grip you should not be able to lift the carpet in the middle. If you lift it it should snap down quickly (like a taut rubber band).
  9. mcbrides

    mcbrides Canadian Installers Senior Member

    TSC, you mentioned that you have hardwood under the new carpet. Did the baseboards sit tightly down on the wood? In a conventional carpet installation the baseboards are hung approximately 1/4" higher than the floor level for the carpet to be tucked under. It appears that the installer had to work to the baseboards and did his best to tuck down between the tack strips and the base. This would explain the dipping at the walls. However, you should not be able to 'pick' the carpet off the pad if it is properly stretched.

  10. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    In a hallway width, I rarely used a power stretcher. But I did use a carpet covered 4x4 as a brace and leveraged my foot against the brace and my knee on the knee kicker to get a good stretch. There isn't enough room in the hall pictured to get a good knee-slam to stretch the width.

    Bigger rooms need to be stretched tight. Most use a power stretcher to do that, some feel they can get a good stretch with just their knee. My first teacher never used the stretcher and thought his kicks were good enough. But anyone could plainly see that his power kicks weren't as powerful at the end of a long wall, let alone at the end of a whole house of carpet.

  11. Roland Thompson

    Roland Thompson Charter Member Senior Member

    This is not hard to clean up. Just a little cleaning up by the wall's, taking a hand roller down along the tackstrip to take away the uneven look. When it come's to having them tear up and restretch I would hold off asking them if it ever needs restretched they will come out for free and do it. My reason for saying this, is because you could end up stretching passed door frame's and end up having to fill them.
  12. Nate Hall

    Nate Hall Types With Elbows Senior Member Published

    Please post back the excuse they use to try to get out of power stretching your carpet. Some guys get pretty creative.
  13. Hanover Fist

    Hanover Fist Pro Member

    The McBrides are right on this one.
    The base should have been removed and replaced 1/4 to 3/8 inches off the floor.
    Especially with a Berber.
    But that's not free.
    If it was offered to you and turned down, then that's on you.
    If it wasn't offered, the salesman who measured was not competant.

    Now, if you can genuinely lift the field of carpet, then no, it's not tight enough.
    But the "dropoff" at the edge is actually correct. It means your carpet is tucked - something you absolutely need with a Berber like that to keep it from running.
    It does look pretty sloppy, and should be cleaned up with an awl or some snipping to eliminate the loose frays, though.

    And Jim, anything bigger than 2'x2' should be power stretched. Including the hall.
    However, not after the fact, but prior to trimming and tucking - it's too late to stretch now without consequences - or replacement.

    And while the pad might be a bit too thick for some people's sensibilities, I'm of the opinion that pad choice is yours to make - and has its own consequences, such as furniture leaning against the walls.
    And your furniture wil eventually settle into the carpet and pad and level off somewhat - that's what soft goods do.

    My two cents, you're picking the wrong nits.
    The stretch and cleanup here seem to be what's wrong, not the dropoff at the edges.
  14. Darren Ramey

    Darren Ramey Charter Member I Support TFP

    Raised baseboards are not necessary in any situation I can think of. They just make life easier on the installer.

    In this case it just looks like the strip gully is far too wide. For a thin Berber I would go a 1/4 inch or slightly less. I don't really go much over 1/4 for anything.

    The problem is that very few carpet shop salesmen on planet earth are going to catch this and compensate the installer to yank up and replace the strip. In an entire house this is several hours work, plus the expense of the strip itself. Therefore the vast majority of installers, who most likely haven't had anything resembling a raise in over a decade, are going to go back over the existing. I do it myself probably more often than I should, but more and more I find myself yanking and replacing, especially in the more extreme cases. But then I have enough clout I can usually get compensated something at least.
  15. Daris Mulkin

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

    Darren I think you are right on the money in everything you said here. We have discussed the base issue before. If it isn't up its no biggy. When I started it was always to the floor. If strip is to wide move it. Its your reputation thats on the line.
    OK I will get off the soap box know.


  16. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    I agree with Darren on this. Raised base is a relatively new, added process. I believe builders who started doing this were trying to mitigate the poor finish their underpaid installers were doing at tucking carpet properly. It has become an "industry standard" and not because it's a better way to do the job. Too often the gap they leave is too high for thinner carpets. Yes, it does make the job easier, but it doesn't make the job righter.

    Don't agree with this either. Carpet is flexible and thin material. You can always lift it a little bit. How much is too much? Depends on the type of carpet, size of room and the grip & pull you have on the yarns.

    Different thickness carpets require different size gullies. From the pictures I saw, that gully was too wide.

    I agree that all carpet over pad should be stretched, but not necessarily with a power stretcher. I was able to get a consistent and powerful stretch using the brace and foot method I described in hallways that were about 3' wide, as depicted in the pictures above. If the carpet was too stiff, or the hallway too wide, then, absolutely, a power stretcher was in order.

    The pictures didn't give us a complete look at the hall or other rooms, but I never found a room or hall that couldn't be re-stretched. The consequences are a properly stretched room, regardless of the effort required.

    I believe in giving the customer an informed choice. Sales need to think about the type of carpet, traffic and other factors before profit margins. Half-inch (or 7/16") pad is not the standard for all carpet. Sometimes a 3/8" pad is required. But sometimes a sales person doesn't have the training to understand the concept.

    If it were MY house and it took more than a cursory pass with a vacuum wand to clean the collected dirt from that gully, I would be pissed. The OP was right in the first post - it looks like a pillow effect to the customer. Unacceptable and not a nit. Looks to me like the whole job was sloppily done.

  17. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Why don't you think a power stretcher was used? You were not there or you don't know what one looks like?
    Do we have pictures of power stretchers on this site? A lot of people we run into do not know what they are, and the name implies some sort of electric device.
    I glanced at pictures before but I can't tell clearly enough for an opinion. Gully is a big factor as Darren noted and he takes much pride to make it right while others including myself try to trim and tuck just right in order for it to appear uniform, sometimes like shoving laundry in the washer when there's too much material to push into gully.
  18. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    Your wife is saying, "So THAT'S where all your socks are going missing - you shove them in the gully." :(

  19. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    When using wall trimmer and tackstrip is not consistent and properly distanced it gets a little wavy while cutting, sometimes it cuts a little short, some long, and when rows are parallel to wall and whole row falls off into gully, tucking Berber is an art in itself.
  20. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    It's winter time she's wearing around house.
    Seriously though, it would be nice if tackstrip was closer , if I didn't use a trowel blade to protect from bashing baseboard, I don't even do tackstrip unless I'm by myself.

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