Carpet Seam Peaking


If you arrived at this page, it is probably because you have a visible carpet seam, and some carpet company somewhere told you it was "seam peaking". You did a search to find out more about carpet seam peaking, and arrived here. You arrived at a good place.

Seam peaking in carpets is not caused by poor quality materials or poor workmanship. This video will help explain what causes seam peaking.

Peaking can cause seams that are visible, but not a seam that is inferior. We do not "fix" seam peaking, because there is nothing to fix. Just as we do not "fix" visible seams in clothing.

What Does Seam Peaking Look Like?

First, you may be able to feel a slight lift in the carpet where the seam is located.

Furthermore, you may notice the carpet appears to be a different shade at the seam. To understand this, you need to know that the sides of yarns appear lighter than the tips of yarn. More light reflects from the sides of yarn.

Where the peak occurs, as we look across the seam, the side of the seam closest to us is facing us more directly, and appears darker. The far side of the seam faces away from us slightly, and appears lighter. You may notice that further into the room on either side the carpet is flatter, so we have a shade that is more in the middle.

Minimizing Seam Peaking

While seam peaking can not be "fixed" or eliminated, we do have some tips for minimizing the effects.
  • Avoid light colors. Light colors make the peak more visible.
  • Orient seams perpendicular to large windows or light sources. Although this is not always reasonable or possible.
  • Place seams away from light sources.
  • Flatter, denser carpets are more prone to showing seam peaking.
  • Gluing carpet direct to the floor, instead of using a stretch-in installation, will eliminate seam-peaking. While direct glued carpet is common in businesses, most home-owners prefer padding.

Fallacies

There are also some common fallacies about minimizing seam peaking. People, including professionals, are often desperate to make this go away. We can't. It is a fact of life. Here are some common fallacies:
  • Hammering a seam. We can not "hammer down" a seam.
  • Use wider seam tape. It is amazing how many professionals believe this is a "solution". In our experience, this has NEVER eliminated seam peaking. Refer to the video, and you will clearly see that using a longer length of carpet binding glued to the bottom of the boards will have no effect on the resulting seam peak whatsoever. It could have an impact IF the seam tape is totally rigid, but it is not. In reality, seam tape does have slight rigidity, but the resulting change is minimal. Consider this to be "wishful thinking" rather than a solution.
  • Edge sealing seams. While this is required so the carpet does not come apart at the seam, it has no effect on seam peaking.
  • Prestretching. Again, this is an excellent technique to get a good longitudinal stretch on the carpet, but it does not address seam peaking.
  • Construct on a flat rigid surface. Yet, again, doing so will help an installer make a better quality seam. But . . . it does not address seam peaking.

Why all the Fallacies?

People hate to be the bearer of bad news. But seam peaking is a fact of carpet seams. Sometimes it is noticeable, and sometimes it is not. However, even professionals have a hard time telling people (that they believe are disappointed): That's the way it is and we can't make it any better. So they come up with many superstitions.

Recap

A visible seam is not a bad seam. Sometimes seams are visible because they are poorly constructed. In these cases, we have cause to be concerned. You don't want the seam to come apart later.

But seam peaking is a cause of a visible seam that should not concern us. It does not impact the durability of the seam.

Seams are not invisible. But they should not be feared. Almost everything has visible seams, and carpet is no exception. Have questions? Don't hesitate to call us!
Bing UET