Are you getting ready to rip out your current carpet and install fresh carpet in your home? Are you feeling daunted by the task ahead and want to make sure you miss none of the crucial steps?
While it may be a time-consuming task, carpet installation is not nearly as complicated as you may think. It requires preparation, patience, and the right supplies to do correctly. To simplify your life, we have put together a detailed guide for installation, an overview of the supplies you will need to get started, and 6 key tips to make the process much easier.
Carpet Installation 101
Take Out the Old Carpet
Before you can get your carpet installation underway, the first thing you need to do is take out the old carpet. You will need to begin by disengaging the moldings on the perimeter of your floor and removing any doors from their hinges. This will make it far easier to remove the old carpet and install the new.
Take the time to vacuum the old carpet before taking it out so you will not inhale dirt and dust during the process. The easiest way to remove it from the room is to take a utility knife and divide the carpet into pieces around 3 to 4 feet in width.
To remove the old carpet, begin at one end of the strip and roll each piece to be put out for the trash, including the current underlay. Be sure to keep the tack strips in place and check that the floor beneath is free from moisture and dirt. Look at the sub-floor and check to see if any floorboards have come loose. Tighten those if so, using 1 1/2-inch screws so your floor will not creak or squeak once the new carpet has been installed.
If your carpet installation is taking place on newly constructed floors or you are installing carpet over wood or vinyl, position additional tackless strips around the room, save for the doorways. Keep a gap of around 1/2 an inch in between the wall and your tackless strips, checking that the tacks are positioned facing the wall. In the corners, the tackless strips need to be positioned next to each other without extra space.
Install the Underpad
The next step in carpet installation is to install your underpad. Take the underpad and lay it down in strip sections to connect with the tackless strips. You can rest the underpad strips closely next to each other, but do not allow them to overlap. Once the underpad has been laid down, staple each section to the inner portion of the tackless strips.
You will probably find you have additional material to work with, so snip off the extra underpad resting against the inner part of the tackless strip. Take duct tape to secure the seams. If your carpet installation its taking place over concrete floors, you can use a sliver of glue to keep the underpad secured.
Install the Carpet
Now, it is time for the actual carpet installation. Take a strip of carpet that will overlap with the perimeter of the floor by around 4 to 6 inches in total. You can snip off that extra portion afterwards, but you want to have plenty of material to work with. To cut your carpet strips, take the measurements of the room you will do your carpet installation in.
Measure the longest part of the room and tack an additional 6 inches onto that to be safe. Make a small mark on each edge of the back of the carpet you will install and connect both marks. This will make it easy for you to fold the carpet and cut it into an installable section with a straight edge and utility knife. Put scrap board or a similar durable material beneath the area you are cutting to avoid damaging the current flooring.
Mind Your Seams
Another important aspect of carpet installation are your carpet seams. Depending on the width of the room you are installing the carpet in, you may need more than one section. If you need to cut and install another section, follow the same steps as noted above, conducting your measurements, marking, and cutting the piece.
When laying multiple carpet sections down, take care that the pile is flowing in the same direction and overlaps the perimeter of the floor and the other section by around 4 to 6 inches. Pay attention to how obvious your seams are and try to install them, so they blend.
At the point where your carpet sections meet, let them overlap, then cut both edges with a utility knife or seam cutter to make sure they align precisely. Once you have made an even cut, take some seaming tape and position it on the floor beneath the area where the edges meet, with the sticky side facing up. Take a seaming iron to trigger the adhesive, then line the carpet edges and secure your seam with a carpet roller or rolling pin.
Secure the Carpet
To secure the carpet to the floor, take a knee kicker to apply to the edges. Knee kickers are around 18 inches with sharp edges that take hold of the carpet on one side and are padded on the other side.
A carpet stretcher is the last tool you need to secure the carpet. All you need to do is place the stretcher at a point on the perimeter where the carpet installation has been completed and leave the other end around 6 inches from the opposite wall.
The carpet stretcher will take hold of the carpet when you press the lever, stretching it out to secure it against the tackless strip. As you stretch the carpet, you might find that you have some extra material. Take a utility knife or wall trimmer to snip off these extra bits as you go along.
For the final steps in your carpet installation, take a stair tool and push the carpet beneath the gap in between the perimeter of the room and the tackless strips. Snip off excess material at the doorways so the edges are symmetrical and put in your door edge strip. Remember to cut openings for any vents too.
Use Specialized Tools
We mentioned supplies you need for carpet installation in our 101 guide, but you will definitely need some specialized tools beyond the regular variety to complete this process. Some standard tools you will need include things like a hammer, tape, scissors, tin-snips, a snap-line, stapler, and utility knife.
However, you will need to rent, borrow, or buy some specialized tools for the carpet installation process. This includes a seam iron, knee kicker, and power stretcher. These are fairly expensive to purchase, so definitely rent or borrow them if you can.
Grab That Carpet Stretcher
We mentioned this tool briefly, but it cannot be emphasized enough that the carpet installation process will be terrible without a good carpet stretcher. If you try to install your new carpet without one, the final look will be uneven and lumpy, rather than smooth and even. Carpet stretching is the key to making sure your installation is a success, so rent or borrow one before you begin work.
6 Simple Tips That Make Carpet Installation a Lot Easier
Do It Yourself
This may seem like an obvious tip, but one of the best ways to make your carpet installation a lot easier is to do at least part if not all the process yourself. Purchasing new carpet can be quite an investment by itself. Removing the previous carpet and padding on your own saves on money and labor costs. If you go the extra mile and install the new carpet on your own, your savings are multiplied.
Clear Out Your Furniture
Always clear out your furniture before beginning the process of carpet removal and carpet installation. Even if you enlist the aid of professional carpet installers, completing this step yourself will save considerable time and money in the long run.
Before the old carpet can be removed and the new one installed, every piece of furniture must be taken from the room. You must also remove and secure TV wires, computers, and other electronics in a safe place away from where the installation will take place.
Do Things in Order
If you are doing an entire remodel, you will need to complete any of these improvements before getting the new carpet installation underway. For instance, if you are putting in new wallpaper, paint, trim, or fixing issues with the subfloor, this needs to be done ahead of time.
Pay Attention to Pile Direction
When in the throes of your carpet installation, pay close attention to the pile direction of the sections you are installing. If your carpet is patterned, or you are required to install more than one piece to cover the entire floor, you need to make sure the seams align properly.
Before finishing the installation, lay the pieces side by side and stand at different points to make sure the seams are congruent. The pile needs to be the same across the board.
Buy Additional Carpet for Patterns
If you install patterned carpet, you will find that you have more scrap materials than you would with the regular variety. The reason for this is that you must often cut more carpet away to make the seams and patterns meet than you would with a non-patterned kind.
The bigger the pattern, the greater your wasted fibers will be. So, to be safe, buy 5% more of patterned carpet than you would for other types so you will have enough to work with during carpet installation.
One final tip to make your carpet installation run smoothly is to avoid over-padding. Never install padding above the tackless strips. Instead, keep it at the surrounding edges but not so they overlap. If the padding crosses with the tackless strips, the perimeter of your carpet will be uneven and lumpy.
Installing new carpet is definitely a process that requires a considerable chunk of time and some perseverance. However, it is not a very complicated endeavor nor does it require professional training to complete.
Make sure you have the right tools before getting started with your installation, clear the room of any furniture or electronics, and complete any additional renovations ahead of time. By using our six simple tips when conducting your next carpet installation, you will make your life far easier and finish the job more quickly and efficiently.