Installing Carpet

Installing carpet may not be the simplest project you’ll ever tackle, but with patience (and the right tools), it may be one of your most rewarding. When installing carpet, the exact step-by-step procedure depends on what type of carpet you will be installing, type and condition of the flooring underneath, and any specific manufacturer’s instructions.

Tools and Materials Required for Installing Carpet

You’ll need some or all of the following tools to complete this project. Some you may already have, while others you may want to rent. After all, how many times will you be installing carpet? Regarding materials, some are obvious, while others may not be so clear (or even required, depending on your particular project). In general though, here’s what you will need:

• Carpeting
• Padding or cushion
• Hammer and nails
• Screwdriver and screws
• Knee kicker
• Power stretcher
• Plastic paddle
• Knitting needle or comb
• Tack strip and cutters
• Gripper edge
• Seaming iron, hot melt seaming tape
• Row running knife

Steps Required To Install Carpet

1. Before you can begin installing carpet, check the condition of your floors. Remove shoe molding to check for any floor squeaks. If you find some, mark them with an “X” and insert a drywall screw directly into the sub-floor right down into the floor joist.

2. If using a tack strip, install it all around the room’s perimeter. Keep a 3/8” gulley between baseboard and tack strip. Align the tack strip with printed arrows toward the wall. Nail down tack strips around obstructions such as air vents. Be sure each tack strip has at least two nails in it.

3. When installing carpet, a good quality carpet cushion or padding is essential to protect carpet and be easier on your feet. Begin in one corner of the room and roll out complete strips of carpet cushion (or your pre-measured carpet padding). Trim as close to the tack strip as you can so there aren’t any visible gaps after installing carpet. Do relief cuts around the trim, including the door frame. Staple the cushion or padding every couple of feet.

4. Roll out and position the carpet where you want it in the room. Leave plenty of excess along the walls. You’ll trim that off later. Start the carpet installation in one corner of the room, placing a nail every 5” or so that you hammer halfway through the carpet. Next to the wall, use a plastic paddle to tack down the gulley, pressing firmly down with the wooden end of your hammer. Don’t hammer carpet into the tack strip, because it may bend the tacks and your carpet won’t hold securely.

5. Use the power stretcher. Pinhead is for cut pile carpet, while a cotton head is for loop pile. To use the power stretcher, extend it the width of the room and stretch carpet in increments. Lock the power stretcher head down and then tack carpet into the tack strip.

6. Use a trimmer to trim the carpet against the baseboard. Then, tuck it into the gulley.

7. After installing carpet, replace the shoe molding. Vacuum the carpet to pick up any debris and carpet threads. That’s basically it.