In his 20 years of installing floor coverings, Anthony Putnam has torn up a lot of floors he had put down to replace them with the newest style. “The tenants have changed and now they want something new.” When they pull up the old floor, they often find messages written on the back of the carpet or tile. What do the messages say? “I can’t repeat it,” Dave Ahern, a frequent message writer, says with a laugh. But it’s one way to relieve job frustrations. He has often found his old messages.
Ahern comes from a family of union carpet layers, he states, stressing “union.” Has the trade changed much since his father’s time? “The craft is pretty similar except they expect a lot more yardage from you today. And the products aren’t as good as they used to be. The glues, for example. They take out the stuff that’s bad for you, which is good, but the product doesn’t always work as well.”
At the end of the day, the carpet layers take in the beauty of the new floors. Carpet layer Jesus Rivera, who used to be a printer, appreciates the intricacies of the interwoven color patterns. Wayne Wallace enjoys the grand view of the new floors. Others, like Omar Montoya, get satisfaction walking all over their work.