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Tip-Sheared Sidematch

On-Location Correction
Issues with color are not the only sidematch problems that can occur. Another type can happen when random sheared carpet is seamed. Notice the texture difference in the left closeup. Although the problem is not actually color related, many times it is still correctable, as seen in the top two photos.
( Click on images for larger photos )

In carpet installation, an objectionable color or texture difference at a seam can occur. This is known as a poor sidematch. There are a number of possible reasons for this, but usually the problem doesn't become apparent until just before, or even sometime after seaming takes place. The offending factors can be texture related, off coloring, a combination of both, or even other causes. For carpet texture, a problem can arise from the random tip shearing process.


Shearing is required in the final manufacturing stages of cut pile carpet. After tufting, application of the secondary backing and drying, the carpet surface may be uneven. In order to clean this up, the carpet will be sent through a carpet-shearing machine. This machine has many steel blades mounted on rotating cylinders that cut surface fibers in a manner analogous to a rotary-blade lawnmower cutting grass. This process assures that the yarn twist remains intact at the carpet's surface and that each yarn tip exposed on the fabric face is clean and defuzzed. The industry norm is sending the carpet through two such cutting heads. But for a very refined finish, the carpet may be sheared additional times.


The shear also is used for tip, or random shearing, an effect that creates a textured look.

Carpet tip shearing uses blades mounted on rotating cylinders that cut surface fibers in a manner analogous to a lawnmower cutting grass.

When a tip-sheared carpet is specified, the carpet is first tufted as a level loop or multi-level loop carpet. Then a light, shallow shearing is used to cut only the higher loops. This results in a textured finish. The sheared areas appear darker, being less light reflective, while the un-sheared areas appear brighter and lighter in color. If the carpet is first tufted in a random manner, then a random pattern is produced. It is when this random pattern is not maintained, or not able to be maintained during seaming that a poor sidematch in texture can occur. Because randomness is involved, the possibility of a sidematch issue showing up as a problem can be simply a roll of the dice. Usually there isn't a problem, but sometimes it may be unavoidable.

Level Random Sheared Texture
Carpet textured with a random shear is created by shearing either level loop or high-low loop carpet so that only the longer loops are sheared. The general affect is dark and light areas, with the sheared areas being darker because they reflect less light.


For the times that a poor textured sidematch does occur, on-location correction by hand tip-shearing is available. With care and patience, an experienced and skilled craftsman can produce the required textured randomness at the seams. The sidematch issue becomes no longer a problem, but will blend into the carpet's overall elegance. Reinstallation and business interruption can thus be avoided, for a fraction of the cost of which that would entail.

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