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7 Home Improvement Tips For Laying Carpet

by Clare Kaufman

Repair-Home Columnist

Laying a new carpet can dramatically transform the look of a room. And you can do the project yourself. All you need is a good home improvement guide, and these seven tips from home contractors.

Tip #1. Gather Tools and Materials. Improper planning can drag out a Saturday afternoon project for weeks. Avoid unnecessary delays by compiling a list of all necessary tools and materials. For laying carpet, home improvement contractors recommend:

  • Carpet
  • Underlay
  • Knee-kicker
  • Utility knife and spare blades
  • Tape measure
  • Double-sided carpet tape
  • Gripper strip
  • Pincers
  • Hammer
  • Saw
  • Threshold bar
  • Screws & Screwdriver
  • 4-in wide bolster chisel
  • Tacks

Tip #2. Prepare Work Site. Before laying carpet, it's important to begin with a clean, smooth, and level floor. UK TV's home improvement contractor recommends using a self-leveling compound to smooth out a concrete floor, or installing an extra layer of hardboard sheets to level wooden floorboards.

Tip #3. Prepare Yourself. Laying carpet is less hazardous to your health than many home improvement projects, but it does call for extended time on your knees and possible exposure to noxious fumes. Prepare for these discomforts by investing in kneepads and a mask to protect your knees and lungs.

Tip #4. Nail Tack Strips. Place the strips ½ inch from the wall around the perimeter of the room. Home improvement contractors recommend installing two strips, one behind the other, in heavy traffic areas such as doorways.

Tip#5. Lay the Pad. Carpet installation experts lay the pad perpendicular to the direction you plan to lay the carpet.

Tip #6. Measure Twice, Cut Your Carpet Once. Home contractors live by this general rule of thumb--measure materials and then add an extra margin to the measurement before cutting. This margin is your 'wiggle room' in case of inaccuracies. Carpet installation pros add about two inches of extra carpet before cutting.

Tip #7. Lay the Carpet Correctly. Unroll the carpet and attach to the gripper strips on one side of the wall, then work from the center of the room to smooth and stretch the carpet. The bolster chisel will help you attach the carpet on the opposite wall.

With patience and some sound advice from the pros, you'll be laying carpet like an expert contractor--even if it's your first time around.


Online Tips

"Walls, Tiles, and Floors," UK Style

"Top Ten Mistakes of DIYers," MSN

About the Author

Clare Kaufman works as a writer and editor for an online media company. She has completed a graduate degree in English.