Can carpet be stretched without using carpet pad?

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Old 06-07-12, 09:40 AM
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Can carpet be stretched without using carpet pad?

In short, can carpet be stretched over tackless strips without a carpet pad?

The long story:

My house was built in 1950. I bought it 2 years ago. I expect to be moving cross-country for my job in 2013 and selling the house.

I am looking at flooring options for a concrete basement that does not currently have exterior water leaks. I am not concerned with how plush the carpet is, so carpet pad is not necessary for that reason. I am more concerned with the ability to dry the carpet if there ever is an exterior leak as the house ages or if there is another disaster like my washing machine flooding the basement (which happened last month).

The existing carpet has been pulled up on 2 sides and damaged pad was discarded. The existing carpet covered 7/8 of the concrete floor. The last part of the floor is painted and has an old, concrete-filled floor drain (presumably the sewer once backed up into the basement and the owners at the time blocked the drain to prevent it happening again…there is no other floor drain and no sump pit).

I will probably replace the old carpet because it had pet-stains. Re-stretching with new pad where the damaged pad was discarded was quoted at about $300. It looks like I can buy new beige berber carpet from Lowe’s for $0.75/sf and $0.49/sf for pad (~$500 for the materials). Ideally, I’d like to have the entire room carpeted so it will look more finished (as opposed to 7/8ths carpeted). Also, I am not set on using carpet. If you have a suggestion for another kind of floor covering that will be $600 or less for about 400 square feet and will look finished (i.e. no painted concrete), I’m happy to hear it.

Knowing I will move in about a year, and even though I’d spend about $200 extra to put in new carpet, I think it will be worth it. I may not be able to recoup the extra cost in the price of the house, but I think that having a new, unstained carpet will make the house sell more quickly. Property taxes on the house are over $200 a month, so I think replacing the carpet would be worth it in the long run.

These are the options I’ve come up with:

Option A: Use floor-leveling compound over the low spot around the drain, then carpet the entire room. Advantages: Will look finished. Disadvantages: Will need to be torn up if there is a pad that could hold mold.

Option B: Build a 6” subfloor over the low spot around the drain (the width of the room and about 6 feet out from the wall). Install a heating-vent cover in the subfloor directly over the floor drain, so if there ever is a small flood (washing machine, small exterior leaks as house ages, etc), the cover can be removed and a wet vac can get the water out of the lowest spot in the basement. Carpet the entire room, including the new platform. Advantages: Looks finished. Allows water from small “floods” to pool and easily be removed. Disadvantages: The subfloor materials will cost extra money. If there is ever a major flood, the carpet will still need to be torn up if there is ruined pad.

Carpet Installation Option 1: Stretch carpet over tack strips without pad. Advantages: No pad to hold moisture/mold. Disadvantages: Can it be done? I need advice from someone with experience here.

Carpet Installation Option 2: Loose-lay carpet wall-to-wall. Advantages: No pad to hold moisture/mold. Disadvantages: Will it bunch/move? Will it look unfinished along the walls? Can threshold strips still be used to hold the carpet in place at the doorways? I’ve never seen wall-to-wall loose-laid carpet, so I think there’s probably a reason for that.

Carpet Installation Option 3: Glue carpet wall-to-wall. Advantages: No pad to hold moisture/mold. Disadvantages: Again, I need advice from someone with experience here.

Carpet Installation Option 4: Stretch carpet over tack strips with pad. Disadvantages: Pad would hold moisture if there is ever any water in the basement. [I’d really, really, really like to avoid using carpet pad!!!]

Remember, I don’t consider the lack of a pad to be a disadvantage. I don’t need this to be plush. I know it won’t be as soft without pad and that’s okay. Also, after reading the other forums about carpet in basements, I know lots of people have used carpet pad in basements without problems, and even though I don’t have exterior leaks, I want to avoid the problems that I just experienced with removing carpet pad and restretching carpet after a washing machine leak or any other small flood. To me, prevention and planning for something like that is worth considering all options that avoid use of carpet pad, especially since there is not a functional floor drain.

Thanks so much (in advance) for your help!
 
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Old 06-07-12, 01:37 PM
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Yes it can be stretched in without pad. Gluing carpet down is done all the time. Check out the price of Kangaback carpet. It is an attached pad carpet that is mold resistant and best of all, a DIYer can install it. It doesn't need to be attached to the floor so it is easy to take back up, if need be. You basically roll it out and cut to fit.
 
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Old 06-07-12, 01:45 PM
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Have you thought about ceramic tile? DIY installation and careful shopping could get the job done well under $600.
 
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