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Side Matches
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A side match is a color difference at the carpet's seam and it could be created from five different sources:

  1. A true hue difference in the panels of carpet
  2. A reversal in the directions that the carpet was laid
  3. A texture difference in the yarn
  4. A peaked seam near and parallel a natural light source
  5. A pile direction variance in one or both panels of carpet

1. A TRUE HUE DIFFERENCE IN THE PANELS - This problem can exist either from ordering carpet from more than one roll and/or dye lot or from a problem inherent in manufacturing.

  • If the side match is from different dye lots, then the CARPET & RUG INSTITUTE says this: Claims will not be considered for sidematch on different dye lots. Color may differ slightly from dye lot to dye lot. Because of manufacturing variances, sidematch of pattern carpet cannot be guaranteed: therefore claims cannot be considered. Additional carpet yardage may be required for the installation of patterned carpet. No claims will be considered for slight color or texture variation between merchandise shipped to the dealer and his display samples. (See Chapter 10 of the Specific’s Guide for Contract Carpet Installation and The Carpet Specific’s Handbook, both published by CRI).
  • If the side match is from the same dye lot, then the amount of variance determines whether the problem is something most carpet mills will accept as an acceptable defect. Measurements of hue differences should be done on an American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists Gray Scale Card. sidematch_hue_grayscale.gif (54602 bytes)

The above shot shows the AATCC GRAY SCALE CARD and a side match problem from hue differences.

2. A REVERSAL IN THE DIRECTION THE CARPET WAS LAID: This kind of side match will change from dark to light and light to dark depending upon what direction it is viewed from. Additional confirmation can be made from looking at the 'ribs' and 'ribbons' in the secondary backing. The carpet in this case will be either quarter or semi-turned. According to the CARPET & RUG INSTITUTE 7.5 Seam Locations - The customer should be shown the proposed layout, which contains all of the seams. The locations of the seams should be explained and an agreement obtained before any work starts. If a piece of carpet is to be given a quarter turn,  the customer should be informed and a written agreement obtained.

sidematch_texture.gif (88849 bytes)

A seam is located in the lower third of this shot and the panel of carpet in the lower half has a tighter weave than the top half. Thus a side match was created from texture variations.

pile_height_cut_and_loop.gif (99292 bytes)

Above is a side match created by a pile height difference between the sculptured and non-textured portion. This problem could be fixed by shearing the carpet.

4. A PEAKED SEAM NEAR A NATURAL LIGHT SOURCE: All carpet seams are peaked and when seams run close to natural light sources such as sliding-glass-doors, the carpet will normally appear darker on the far side of the light source. According to the CARPET & RUG INSTITUTE: "Seams . . . be sure there is agreement between you and the customer as to the locations of all seams that may be required. before the job starts. Usually, seams are best laid toward the primary natural light source. Visibility of the seams will vary with the type of carpet purchased. Carpet seams cannot be guaranteed to be invisible.", CRI105, Carpet Installation Guidelines.

5. A PILE DIRECTION VARIANCE ON ONE OR BOTH PANELS - This problem is referred to as shading and although it could be inherent in manufacturing, according to the CARPET AND RUG Institute's CLAIMS MANUAL, it says this about shading. "8. Pile crushing, pile shading, and soiling are not manufacturing defects and will not be considered as a basis for claims. Claims for fuzzing and pilling will be subjected to examination and testing by the manufacturer. Claims for missing tufts will not be considered except on a basis of repair. No claims will be honored for carpet installed on stairs, in elevators and in bathrooms. The mill reserves the right to correct any repairable manufacturing defect. (See Glossary for definition of terms)."

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Revised: 05/14/06

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