Do-It-Yourself Guide To Laying Carpet

A guide to laying carpeting and padding. Covers choices for securing like tacking strips, staples and adhesives.

If you're the type of person who enjoys doing some home improvements yourself you can save a bundle by laying your own carpeting. Take up the old floor covering and remove staples and tacks. If the previous carpet was glued you'll need either a sander or a solvent to remove the glue, depending upon what type of floor it is. Previous padding can be left in place if it's in good shape but usually if it's time to replace the carpet it's time to replace the padding as well.

After preparing the floor you're ready to lay the padding. Spread it out on the floor and use adhesive or staples to secure it. Staples are easier than adhesive and much better when it comes to future carpeting. Staple the padding every few inches around the baseboards pulling it tight but not stretching it.

When laying the new carpet there are several different methods. One is to staple the carpet close to the baseboards and randomly across the room. Another is to tack the carpeting around the perimeter.

The most professional way of laying the carpet is to implement a carpet stretcher and tacking strips. The carpet stretcher can be manual or electric. They help to tighten the carpeting so that wrinkles don't appear in a few days across the floor. The manual type of carpet stretchers are known as knee kickers. They consist of a board with tacks which is butted with the knee to stretch the carpeting during installation. The electrical type of stretcher goes between baseboards and pulls the carpeting tightly across the room. Electrical stretchers are much more convenient and can be purchased at a home improvement store or leased from a rental store. You can make one yourself by using two-by-fours in the shape of a "T". The two-by-four that forms the base of the "T" should be 16" long and the cross of the "T", 12". Use number 4 nails at a 45 degree angle in the cross of the "T". Place the nails every three or four inches. Wrap a piece of foam rubber around the bottom of the "T" base to protect your knee.

When having to piece carpeting use seaming tape. The tape is placed onto the back of each piece of carpet, at the edge. The tape is covered with a towel and heated with an iron. The tape melds to the carpet holding it together and keeping the seam barely noticeable. Use bar strip to join carpet with linoleum. It is a metal or plastic piece that is placed between the two and tacked or screwed into place.

After the carpet is in place use tacking strips to secure it. The tacking strip is laid upon the floor with tacks pointing upwards. The carpet is pressed down onto the tacks while wearing gloves. After each tack is pushed through the rug the tacking strip is turned over with tacks facing downward. A mallet or hammer is used to insert the tacks into the floor. Tacking strips give the carpeting a finished edge. Corners are a little tricky when using tacking strip. When laying the first strip stop short about an inch at each end to allow for the adjoining strips.

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