ICS Magazine

A New Standard in Seaming and Patching

December 8, 2005
Thirty years ago I became a professional carpet cleaner. The "professional" part was questionable, but I did do it for money, so I guess that qualified me.

Numerous problems confronted me in the following weeks and months as my workload increased but my knowledge lagged behind. Of the many challenges I faced, one that perplexed me every time was carpet installation and seam problems. My customers wanted me to make repairs. They wanted me to remove the impossible stain or burn spot, or repair the split seam. My customers wanted a floor-maintenance professional, when what they really had was a carpet cleaner who only cleaned carpet.

By asking around and visiting my local carpet installation supplier (there were no real carpet cleaning suppliers then) I was able to glean an understanding of what I might do to satisfy my customers. Let's consider just one of the basic tools (there are many available) that each professional cleaner and restorer must have for seam repair, cut and plug repair, and carpet reinstallation after water damage.

I first learned that, in order to do carpet patching and make new seams when reinstalling carpet after water damage, I would need a seaming iron. These irons are sometimes referred to as a heat bond iron. Used with a special tape that has adhesive on it for bonding two sides of carpet together, the seaming iron replaced the needle and thread years ago as the standard of the industry for creating a carpet seam.

That "standard" looks like it may be coming to an end with the introduction of a new innovative tool, the Kool Glide iron. The Kool Glide works without heat on the iron itself. Through a patented system of unique frequency waves, the iron heats the glue on a special tape, and this glue binds to all types of carpet backings. The iron glides on top of the carpet while sending its frequency waves through the carpet to heat the adhesive. With a regular seaming iron, the temperature of the iron can reach over 400 F; the Kool Glide stays at room temperature. If you - or a carpet you worked on - have ever been burned by a regular seaming iron, this should be good news.

When a new tool is presented to me, I am very cautious until I have tested it and exposed it to several working professionals who also put it through its paces. The Kool Glide works at about the same speed as a regular iron but with no smelly smoke, no messy glue on the iron, no discoloration or other damage to the carpet, and it's pretty well goof-proof. If for any reason you make a mistake on the seam, simply "un-make it" with the Kool Glide and start over. You can go back and do this five minutes later or three years later with the same results.

Adding this tool to his arsenal allows a technician to become the ultimate stain removal professional. With very little practice, you can remove spots from stains or bleach in record time and replace them with a patch of clean carpet. The stains shown here were cut out and replaced by a rookie who had never done this procedure before. And when re-installing water-damaged carpet, simply plug in the Kool Glide and start creating the perfect seam immediately.

The Kool Glide iron and its tape are both more expensive than a conventional system. But if you're like me, you will appreciate the speed, convenience, and professional results this new gadget will bring you. Your local supplier should have one in the showroom ready to demonstrate.