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How To Lay Carpet

Laying carpet is easier than you think! In fact, all you need is some information, tools and equipment that you can rent, plus the will to accomplish the job!

Tools and Materials

  • Row running knife
  • Knee kicker
  • Seaming iron
  • Hot melt seaming tape
  • Power stretcher
  • Tackless strip
  • Carpet padding
  • Gripper edge
  • Masonry nails

Preparing Your Floors
Installing carpet begins with preparing your floors. If you have a wooden floor, a thorough sweep or vacuum should do the trick. Nail down any loose floorboards. If you have duct heating, find out where exactly the ducts are underneath the floor so that you don’t nail into them. To do this, wet the floor. The area of the floor that dries first will show you where your ducts are. Mark these areas with chalk so that you can avoid sinking nails into the area during carpet installation.

Installing Tackless Strip
The first step in laying carpet is to install the tackless strip. Cut the tackless strip to fit the length of each wall. You’re going to nail the strips around each wall, leaving about an eight of an inch between the strip and the wall. Nail the strip using masonry nails. The pins should point toward the wall. Make sure that the strips join together at the corners of the room. Remember not to install tackless strip by the sides of the door!

Installing Carpet Padding
The next step is to install the carpet pad. You need the cut the carpet padding in strips long enough to reach the tackless strip. Make sure that the waffle side of the carpet pad is facing up. Staple the carpet padding every 6 inches. If your floor is masonry, you’ll need to glue the carpet padding to the floor. Let the glue dry completely before moving on to the next step in order to prevent the carpet padding from bunching up. Remember that the carpet padding should not overlap, but rather should butt together. Cover seams with duct tape. Cut off any excess carpet padding.

Cutting the Carpet
When cutting the carpet, you need to remember a few points regarding the texture of your carpet. The pile should always face in the same direction, so if you’re going to have seams, make sure that all the pile faces one direction — usually the main doorway is the preferred direction. Here’s a guide:

  • for pile cut carpet : cut along back of carpet with a utility knife
  • for loop pile carpet : cut through the face of your carpet

Take a measurement of your room and cut about 4 to 6 inches extra so that you have some excess carpet. Lay the carpet.

Cutting Carpet Seams
To cut the carpet seams, you’ll want to have about 2 inches of overlap in the carpet. Take one end and draw a straight chalk line along the back. Cut along this line with your utility knife, again ensuring that it’s a perfectly straight line. Now lay this over the uncut carpet and use it as a guide with which to trim the adjoining carpet piece.

Take a breather! And now get ready, because you’re about to use your seaming tape!

Cutting and Placing Your Seaming Tape
Cut the seaming tape to measure the length of your carpet seam. Make sure that the adhesive side of the seaming tape is facing up. Center it under the butting edges of the carpet. Now get your seaming iron ready. Heat the seaming tape by slowing dragging the iron over the tape. As soon as an area of seaming tape is heated, press the adjoining edges of carpet over the tape. It’s useful to take a rolling pin and firmly press down the carpet.

Using Your Knee Kicker
Now you’re ready to hook the carpet onto the tackless strips. You’re ready to use the knee kicker! Push the teeth of the knee kicker into the carpet approximately one inch from the wall. Kick the cushioned end of the knee kicker with (that’s right) your knee. This will firmly hook the carpet onto the tackless strip.

Attaching Carpet with the Power Stretcher
The purpose of the power stretcher is to attach the carpet to the wall. Place the bottom of the power stretcher approximately six inches from the wall, using a piece of scrap carpet or padding to protect the wall. Once you’ve pressed down the teeth of the power stretcher into the carpet, lock it into place. Stretch the carpet and hook it onto the tackless strips. Repeat this procedure around the room.

Use your trimmer to cut off the excess carpet.

Installing Your Gripper Edge
The gripper edge covers the carpet around the doorframe so that the door won’t yank the carpet up. Install the gripper edge according the directions on your package.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully installed your carpet! Go brag about your carpet installation know-how to all your friends!

Visit our Floors forum for answers to all your carpet questions!