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Seam Sealer on Seams

This report was commissioned by the claimant.

TYPE OF SITE: Commercial

TYPE OF BUSINESS: Office Building

DATE INSTALLED: May or June 1996

METHOD: Direct Glue Down

SUBFLOOR: Concrete

AREA INSTALLED: See Report

USE & MAINTENANCE INFORMATION AT THE TIME OF INSPECTION

LITERATURE RECEIVED WITH PURCHASE: Not Determined

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

TEMPERATURE: 72°F -

RELATIVE HUMIDITY: 60%

VACUUM TYPE: Not Applicable

FREQUENCY: Not Determined

ENTRY MATS: Yes

CONDITION of THE CARPET: Good

SOIL: Slightly Soiled

HEATING TYPE: Central Force Air Gas

COOLING TYPE: Central - Electric

CLEANING: See Report

REASON FOR COMMISSION

The claimant states that the seams have an unreasonable noticeable appearance..

THE REPORT

Geographical Background Information

The carpet in question was located on the second floor of this two story commercial building. This building was located on the western edge of the Los Angeles basin less than three miles from the Pacific Ocean.

 

BACKGROUND INFORMATION MADE TO THE INSPECTOR

The same style of Interface carpet had been installed in another facility without any seam problems. After this installation the claimant noticed an unsightly appearance. The seams began to darken with time. Corrective services were performed by the installer and some improvement was made. After a few days the seams discolored again.

It was reported during the inspection that all seams had a special seaming adhesive applied. The notion that a trace of seaming adhesive was on the face yarn was not rejected by those present at the inspection.

The manufacturer of the seaming adhesive reported that they have a product that can remove freshly misapplied adhesive. Seam sealer that has dried however, will be more difficult to remove. The seam-sealer-remover product was reportedly a solvent blend of alcohol, naphtha, and aromatic solvents.

DESCRIPTION OF PROBLEM AREA BY THIS INSPECTOR

The problem seams were dark on an area that ran on both sides of the seam. This dark area was approximately two or three inches wide. In most cases this dark area did not have a well-defined edge and was more noticeable in trafficked areas. There was no difference in the size, twist, bulk, or density of the yarn.

FIELD TESTING

A general spotting agent by Groom Industries called Perky SpotterŪ was applied to a towel and the towel was blotted onto the trafficked and spotted areas. The results of this test revealed that the dark areas slightly diminished after applying the Perky Spotter.

THE ISSUE OF THIS REPORT

The question that needs to be addressed is: if the problem was created from seaming adhesive residue, what can be done to remove it?

GUIDELINES FOR EVALUATING THE ISSUE

Industry Standards used for commercial installations are:

1. the CRI104 by the Carpet and Rug Institute of Dalton Georgia.

2. the manufacturer’s installation instruction

The Cleaning Standards are:

1. The Standard for Carpet Cleaning S001-1994 published by the INSTITUTE OF INSPECTIONS, CLEANING and RESTORATION CERTIFICATION at the recommendation of the FEDERAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY.

2. the manufacturer’s cleaning instruction

INDUSTRY STANDARDS, PRACTICES & DEFINITIONS

Concerning the Seaming the Edges of Direct Glue-Down Carpet, the CRI104 - 1994, says this on page 11:

8.5 Seaming To prevent fraying and raveling at the seams, a 1/8-inch (3.2 mm) continuous bead of seam adhesive should be applied to the base of the first edge where the face yarn enters the backing. (See diagram below.) This will seal the first edge as well as the second when the edges are butted together to form the seam.

THE INSPECTOR'S ANALYSIS

Seam sealers are polar substances that are not removed with aqueous cleaning solutions. Therefore a water-base detergent would remove soil, but not the residue itself. A seaming adhesive requires dry solvents to dislodge it and if the manufacturer’s seaming-adhesive-remover was used, it would appear to have been ineffective. An additional problem in removing seaming adhesive is that over application of a seaming-adhesive-remover can create delamination if it travels into the backing system of the carpet. Some of the carpet cleaning solvent spotter are formulated with viscosity builders that reduce this problem. Some also contain more types of solvent that could be more effective. In addition , professional cleaning equipment would provide additional factors into the cleaning equation such as heat, mechanical action, and greater flushing action to remove residues left in the process.

CONCLUSION

Based upon the attempted failures to correct the problem at the time of this writing, the soil attracting residue should be removed by a professional cleaning service.

RECOMMENDATIONS

A professional on-location carpet cleaning company equipment, with a truckmounted cleaning machine should be used. The machine should have suitable vacuum to assure adequate moisture recovery and high heat to assist in the removal of the foreign residue on the carpet seam. Since cleaning the area will likely result in a new lighter spot created from soil removal, it is recommended that all or most of the carpet be cleaned.

The cleaning should be done in compliance with IICRC S001-1994 CLEANING STANDARDS. A special viscous dry-solvent spotting agent should be applied on the problem area. Great care should be taken as to not allow the product to run down the yarn.