How to install carpet

Carpet is an integral part of a home. When carpet is installed, it is one of the longest lasting facets of a room. If it is time to replace the carpet in your home, you can do it yourself or have it installed by a professional. In most cases, professional installers should handle whole house installation, but a semi-skilled homeowner can easily do one room.

Preparing a room for carpet begins with removal of the old carpet. Locate a corner or a seam, and using a utility knife, cut the carpet completely through. Pull the carpet completely up exposing the padding underneath and remove both from the room entirely. Pay careful attention to the seams that may butt up to carpet in another area or room. Next, using a pry bar and a hammer, begin removing the old tack strips. Finally, determine if there is enough clearance for the new carpet and padding to be installed under the existing baseboard trim and if not, carefully remove the trim.

There are several grades of carpet and padding available. There is even carpet with padding attached. Measure your room carefully before purchasing carpet and remember to allow for waste, closets, and other odd-shaped areas of the room. If you are installing carpet and padding separately, the padding is installed first and is cut to within an inch or so of the room’s perimeter. Padding can be tacked or taped down and the method is determined both by preference and sub-floor. A concrete floor, such as a basement, will require carpet tape.

Carpet needs to be stretched as it is installed to create a tight, solid finish. A carpet stretcher is one tool required for installation. Another is a kicker. This tool is designed to get the carpet to fit tightly under existing baseboards and to hold tightly to the tack strips around the perimeter. If your carpet will be butting up to another area of carpet, you will also need a carpet seamer. Where the two carpets meet, seam tape is placed under both sections and is heated and ironed to activate the tape and hold the seam together. Most installation tools can be rented from home improvement stores and you should be able to find installation guides there as well.