Ed Braile, CFI Master-II #4
We have been receiving numerous inquiries about the installation of carpet on walls. Carpet is now being specified as a wall covering in gymnasiums, home workout areas, churches, children’s rooms and other areas. The most important thing to remember with these jobs is that the homeowner, dealer and/or contractor must be aware of all local codes and manufacturer recommendations concerning the use of wall carpet and the flammability ratings of the carpet fibers.
Recently, I was involved in the installation of three gymnasiums in one house. This was one of the largest jobs in which I have ever been involved. Who needs three gymnasiums and three large pools? Well, somebody does and we were more than happy to do the installation?
Now, let’s review the guidelines for wall carpet installations.
Rules & Regulations
Make sure to check local, state and federal building codes for installation of carpet on walls. Carpet may be required to contain fire-retardant fibers that meet certain flammability requirements. The fire resistance of wall coverings is measured using NFPA 255 (ASTM E84, UL 723) Standard Method of Test of Surface Burning Characteristics of Building (Steiner Tunnel Test). Before beginning the job, make sure the specified carpet meets all of the code requirements (local, state and federal) for the installation.
Here are some tips for a successful wall carpet installation:
- Staff the job correctly. Make sure you have enough team members on the jobsite to complete the job with precision and timeliness.
- Protect the floor from spills when trowelling the adhesive.
- Prior to cutting the carpet, run rows in the carpet. Make sure to cut the carpet in sizes that can be handled by the number of installers on the jobsite.
- Install the carpet on the wall using a high solids, multi-purpose adhesive containing no or low VOCs. Use a fan in the work area to circulate the air.
- Use a 1/8” x 1/8” x 1/8” U-notch or a 3/32” x 3/32” V-notch trowel. Apply the adhesive working from top to bottom.
- The adhesive will start to tack-up or grab at the top.
- It may be necessary to use stay nails to hold the carpet along the top of the wall until the adhesive sets up.
- Use a hand roller to smooth the carpet down the wall and ensure a complete transfer and strong bond of the adhesive from the wall to the carpet backing.
- Seams are to be constructed as a direct glue-down installation. Make sure to butt the carpet edges together and seams must be sealed.
Completion of the Job
At the floor, a wood trim can be used or the carpet can be trimmed flush to the floor surface. Wood trim can also be used at the top of the carpet and around door openings.
Finally, use a transition or binding in areas where the carpet is terminated to avoid frayed edges. In most cases, if the carpet ends in a corner, a transition may not be necessary. Using these installation methods will achieve customer satisfaction and avoid future installation problems.