Friday, January 4, 2013

Carpet Binding: Do it yourself or hire a carpet binding pro ?

Lets look at the DIY Carpet binding method.

I have received some calls from a few customers over the past years inquiring about binding their own rug or carpet remnant they have in order to save some money. I try to help anyone who calls me with a project in any way I possibly can and to anyone out there who may read this, I will give you some insight on what is involved and some of the tools and items you will need to take on this project yourself. After reading through, you may want to reconsider this idea and I will elaborate.

Lets begin with a carpet remnant. A fairly nice sized 10x10 rug is our goal to make. There is 40 lineal feet to be bound ( four sides at 10 feet each ). To tackle this DIY project you can do it many ways but I am going to outline the three most practical ways to get it done.

The first way would be the easiest for DIY binding.
There is a product available called instabind. This product looks very nice when completed from what I have seen. ( although I have never done this type of binding before, I have watched the video on how to install it.) The trickiest part of the process seemingly would be applying the hot glue to the very edge of the carpet to adhere it to the binding strip. You would need a glue gun with a very fine 1/8 inch nozzle and a steady hand to pull this off neatly and keep the hot glue off your rug edges. To complete a 10x10 rug you would need the following materials and tools.
1 roll of instabind. Cost about $54.00 plus shipping.
Clear tape
Several hot glue sticks. Cost about $ 5.00
A  good quality hot glue gun with a fine tip nozzle. Costs can vary widely.

The final costs would be roughly $ 59.00 and most likely more if you have to purchase a glue gun and fine tip nozzle and add in shipping or taxes for the instabind. I would estimate the total time spent doing this project to be around  1 to 1.5 hours or more of non stop work. The long term durability also would be an unanswered question due to the self adhesive tape and hot glue used.

The second method which involves stapling the binding on the top side of the carpet with an edge binding stapler, then folding the binding over the edge of the carpet and gluing it in place on the back side.  This method  can looks very good also ( if done properly) when done but not as good as a sewn on binding with a carpet binding machine.

This method would require the following tools and materials:
An edge binding stapler that costs about  $ 40.00
A box of edge binding staples that cost about  $ 6.00
A quart sized bottle of latex seaming adhesive or about 8 to 10 large good quality glue sticks ( Faster set time ). Cost $ 6.00 to $15.00
A roll of 1 ¼ inch polyester carpet binding that costs about $15.00
A good quality hot glue gun if you choose this gluing method. Costs can vary widely.
( The costs I posted are approximate and based on what I have bought in my years in the binding business so your costs could vary based on where you shop. )

It’s not so much the cost of the materials in this method but the amount time it takes to do the entire rug is where it gets taxing. Heavier weight dense plush carpet and longer piled shag carpets will also take more time and patience to finish. I have bound many carpet pieces using this method before I bought a carpet binding machine and this rug size would take me about 2 to 3 hours of continuous work to complete .  I would say the average non experienced person would take about 4 to 5 hours to complete.  The final damages are $67.00 to $76.00 and good amount of time and some nasty burnt fingers if you choose the faster hot glue sticks which is what I prefer because of the time factor.

The third way to bind this 10x10 rug would be to  hand sew and glue the rug. Using the same idea as in the second method you would sew the binding with a blind stitch from the top side and then fold it over the edge of the carpet and glue it to the back. This method would be cheaper  in total material cost but not as uniform looking as using the stapling method . By eliminating the binding stapler  and staples cost it would save about $ 36.00 in total costs. (Figuring you would need to buy few heavy carpet needles and some heavy thread to sew the top side.)

Total materials costs for this project would be the same as above but by eliminating the binding stapler and staples and adding the needles and heavy thread the final cost would be about $35.00 to $50.00. The real story in this method comes from the time aspect. I could not imagine even trying this method but I’m sure there are some experienced hand sewing speed freaks who could pull this off in about 6 to 8 hours. The slowest part about both methods is gluing the back side. You can only go as fast as your glue gun will supply glue or as fast as your glue will tack up and set allowing you to move forward.

Now for the professional method using a carpet binding machine.

A typical 10x10 carpet remnant brought in to a carpet binding pro would run about $40.00 to $80.00 dollars total cost depending on where in country you live and exactly what kind of carpet you have and how much cutting and prep work is needed. A rug of this size in my shop will run $60.00 dollars to cut and bind in any color you wish and takes less than 30 minutes to complete and the finished rug will look much better than the above methods.  After  weighing all the materials cost and time factors it seems that doing it yourself is not very cost effective at all. Some jobs are meant not to be done DIY. It’s up to you to decide.

Thank you and I hope this has been informative.