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Competencies covered

MSFFL2021: Install lay flat vinyl floor coverings

Seams and joins

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Seams occur in sheet flooring wherever two lengths join side by side.

Cross joins occur where two ends meet - that is, where one roll finishes and the next one begins.

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It is possible to overlap two sheets where they join and simply cut through both at the same time to form a seam.

This is called double cutting.

But it can result in an overly tight seam, which might 'peak' where the sheets butt together.

It's also possible that the pattern may not match exactly.

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An alternative technique is to trim the factory edge off the first piece to remove any damage and produce a clean 'true' edge.

You can either do this with an edge trimmer or a straightedge and knife.

Then trace cut the second piece using the following procedure.

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Trace cutting

  1. Cut a true edge along the line of the seam in the first sheet.

  2. Put the second sheet under the true edge of the first sheet and line up the pattern exactly.

  3. Push the straightedge up against the seam edge of the first sheet.
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  1. Hold the straightedge in position and fold back the first sheet.

  2. Cut the second sheet along the line of the straightedge, holding the knife as vertical as possible.
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Batch lots

Floor coverings are manufactured in batch lots, also called dye lots.

Each roll of material has a batch number on the packaging to indicate which batch of colour dyes was used in that particular manufacturing run.

It will also have a roll number.

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Where possible, you should try to use flooring with the same batch number and sequential roll numbers when they are being placed side by side.

This will help to provide the best match of colours and avoid any inconsistency in shade or intensity.

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Using a utility knife

The most common tool used for cutting is the utility knife.

Because it's relatively thin, lay flat vinyl can be cut in a single pass with a straight, concave or hook blade.

You can use the straight blade for general cutting.

The concave blade is better for more precise cutting, such as around door frames.

The hook blade has a flat heel, which stops the cutting edge from coming into contact with the surface underneath. This allows you to cut on a concrete floor or on top of another resilient sheet.

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Most people tend to undercut the material slightly when the offcut is on the outside of their cutting hand.

This is not a bad thing, because it gives you a sharp edge that butts cleanly against the next sheet or the wall.

But be careful that you don't undercut too much.

If the undercut is more than about 20 degrees from the vertical, the edge might become too weak and break or fold over when it's butted up.

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Learning activity

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Have a look for the batch numbers and roll numbers on some rolls of flooring.

Does your company have an inventory system that records these details so they're not lost when the roll is unpackaged?

Describe the system and how you would go about matching up rolls that have been opened?

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  Go to  Freehand cutting