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Laying Your Home's New Carpet

by Clare Kaufman
Repair-Home Columnist

Laying carpet is almost as easy as it sounds. After cutting and laying the carpet on the floor, you simply attach it using specialized tools. Unless you have back or knee injuries, this home improvement project is perfect for the average do-it-yourselfer.

Preparing for Your New Carpet

Before you begin, make sure all the materials you need are at hand. Besides patience and a strong set of knees, carpet installation calls for the following tools, available at tool rental outlets:
  • Knee kicker
  • Power stretcher
  • Seaming tape, iron, and roller

You'll also need tackless strips, a stapler, hammer, utility knife, and measuring tape.

Six Steps to Laying Carpet

  • Install Tackless Strips. Cut the strips to fit the length of each wall. Leaving a ½" space, nail the strips along the perimeter of the room. The tacks should face the wall.
  • Install Carpet Pad. Lay out the padding, waffle side up, and nail or staple every six inches. Cover the seams with duct tape.
  • Cut Carpet to Size. Take a measurement of the room and cut the carpet with a utility or carpet knife, adding an extra four inches. Consider which way the pile will face, making sure all the pieces go in the same direction.
  • Join Carpet Seams. Cut tape to the length of the carpet seam. Lay it underneath the seam with the glue side facing up. Heat the glue using a seaming iron, and press the tape into the glue using the roller.
  • Attach One Carpet Edge with Knee Kicker. Here's where the knee kicker comes in. Push the teeth of the kicker into the carpet one inch from the wall. Kick the cushioned end with your knee to hook the carpet onto the tackless strip. Trim off the excess carpet, leaving ½" extra. Tuck this extra lip between the strip and the baseboard.
  • Attach the Rest of the Carpet with Power Stretcher. Place the power stretcher six inches from the wall. Press the teeth of the stretcher into the carpet, and stretch the carpet. Again, hook the edge onto the strip and trim excess.

Those are the basics. All that remains are some finishing touches: install a door edge strip to prevent the door from pulling up the carpet, cut any vent openings, etc. Finally your home improvement project is finished-sit back and enjoy your soft, comfortable floor.

About the Author
Clare Kaufman is a freelance writer specializing in education and career advice. She has a graduate degree in English.