How to Install Carpet in a Basement

a basement room with carpet
  • 24-72 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 60-100
What You'll Need
Measuring tape
Carpet glue
Glue trowel
Carpet knife
Knee kicker
Carpet tucker

A finished basement is not really finished until the flooring is done. Carpet is a popular flooring option because it adds a warm, inviting feel to a space that typically has concrete floors. However, installing carpet in the basement area presents a challenge. A basement floor is typically solid concrete with no place to drive carpet nails. This project can leave plenty of doubt in your mind as to how you will secure the carpet to the floor. Follow the steps below to lay carpet on a basement floor.

Step 1 - Measure and Cut the Carpet

Measure each room in which you plan to lay carpet. Add 4 inches extra to the width and length measurements of each room. Decide in advance of ordering your carpet whether you want it cut in individual pieces for each room or if you want the carpet delivered in one piece which you will cut into individual pieces.

Step 2 - Locate and Repair Leaks

crack in a concrete floor

As with any project, proper preparation of the space will save you time and money in the long run. If you have leaks in your basement walls, floors, or ceilings, repair them before laying your carpet. Moisture from floor leaks will seep under your carpet. You will be unable to find or stop the leaks without tearing up the carpet. The result will be moldy, smelly carpet.

Step 3 - Inspect for Uneven Floor Surfaces

Examine the concrete surface over which you will lay your carpet. If you find bumps, debris, or ridges, level them. If left unchanged, these bumps will eventually cause uneven wear in your carpet, even with a thick pad beneath it.

Use a cold chisel to reduce small concrete bumps, edges, or ridges. Do not leave sharp edges in the concrete. Sweep and remove any debris, using the chisel to loosen compacted dirt or debris.

Step 4 - Apply Carpet Glue

applying carpet glue during installation

Using your glue trowel, apply your carpet glue. Spread it into a thin layer in fan patterns. Apply the glue in a remote corner of the room and work your way towards the entrance, leaving a narrow path that will allow you to carry carpet to the far end of the room without walking in the glue you've spread.

Step 5 - Lay Out Your Carpet

Bring your carpet roll into the room and begin rolling it out, leaving an extra four inches of carpet at each edge. As you roll out the carpet and move toward the exit, spread glue onto the area you left without glue.

Step 6 - Stretch, Cut, and Trim Your Carpet

With your knee kicker, stretch the carpet toward each wall. Use the carpet knife to cut a slit in the carpet at each corner of the room. The slit should be from the top edge of the carpet to 1 inch above the floor.

Trim the carpet along the edge of each room, leaving ½ inch of carpet turned up at its edge. With all edges trimmed, shove them under the bottom edge of the wall baseboards with your carpet tucker.