Before you install any carpet, you must roll out, cut and secure carpet padding over the floor. Carpet padding provides softness by separating the carpet from the hardwood or composite flooring underneath. The installation of carpet padding is the second step following the nailing down of the tack or tackless strips (they are the same thing). Once the padding is down, the carpeting is rolled out and stapled down.
Cutting Carpet Padding
Once the tack strips are in place, measure across the floor between opposite strips. Double check your measurement. Add at least 2 inches to this figure. Roll out enough padding to cover the span, and with a utility knife cut the padding to length plus 2 to 3 inches. A straight edge or an extended tape measure can help you make a straight cut.
Stapling Carpet Padding
At one end, abut the padding right up against the outside edge (relative to the wall) of the tack strip and staple the padding to the floor. Place a staple every 4 inches. Straighten out the padding across the floor, but do not pull it too tight. It should be long enough to reach the other strip with room to spare. Unfold the padding out over the strip. At the point where the padding begins to overlap the strip, make a small cut with the knife. Using the tack strip as the straight edge, cut right along its edge and staple the padding to the floor. Once again, make sure it is right up against the strip.
As a way to make sure you don’t undercut the carpet padding, roll it out to the other side before making the cut. Don’t overlap the tack strips when stapling it to the floor.