Install Carpet On Your Own
Most people would never tackle a carpet installation on their own, but with the proper tools and some guidance it can be done. Here's how to install carpet on your own.
The first thing that is required in any carpet installation is putting in a subfloor. Carpet is much easier to find subflooring for, since it does not need to be totally level as may be needed with other flooring systems. But subflooring does need to prevent the transfer of moisture from the floor underneath to the carpet or it will rot in time. It also needs to be something that the carpeting underlay can be stapled to. Plywood is often a popular choice for subflooring and a home improvement store may have different choices that are better for different areas of the home, such as a basement which is naturally damp.
There are a few different tools that you will need to gather together before you can begin your carpet installation. There are some which you may have already, and some which are specialized and may not be so easily at hand. They fall into several different categories including adhesive methods (staple gun, edging tape and tackless strips), cutting tools (carpet knives, wall trimmers and seam cutters) and application tools (stair tools, seam irons, knee kickers and power stretchers).
Your first step is to clear away anything hard or lumpy from on top of the subflooring. You want as smooth and clear a surface as possible. No matter what, you want to make sure that you have cleared any nails or tacks away so that they do not poke up through the carpet. Place the tackless strips down so that they are positioned around the outside of the room around half an inch from the wall. Make sure you leave the doorways clear of tackless strips. You also want to make sure that the edges meet when placing your strips.
Underlay is then placed down in strips so that the edges of the underlay butt up against each other but do not overlap. You also need to make sure that the tackless strips are not covered and that the underlay lies smoothly and is not bunched up or this will cause lumps in the carpet. Once the positioning is to your liking, staple the carpeting to the underlay.
You will need to measure the room at the longest point, and add four inches to this measurement. It is better to be safe than sorry so you may want to take several measurements. Use your chalk line to mark the back of the carpet where you will be cutting, and use your carpet knife to cut the back of the carpeting, ensuring that you have cut through the tough backing that the carpet is attached to. Before you attach the carpeting to the floor, you should to a dry run and make sure that the measurements are correct.
If they are and the room is too wide to use a single strip of carpeting, you will need to cut a second strip at this point, using the same measurements but taking pattern repeats into consideration. Once your second strip is ready, overlap the two by about two inches, then use your seam cutter to cut through the two carpet layers at the same time. It may be simpler to cut one at a time but if you cut both then you can be sure your carpet will line up exactly and this can help make the seam become invisible. At this point, you will use seam tape to attach the two pieces together. Place it adhesive side up and press both edges of the carpet into it. You will use your seam iron to heat the seam, activate the adhesive, and permanently join the two pieces of carpet into one larger piece.
The carpeting will be attached to the tackless strips next and you do this with the knee kicker. By placing the kicker about three inches from the strip, you can hit the padded section with your knee and drive the carpet into the tackless strip. Use your edge trimmer to cut the edge at the wall.
On the other side of the room, use your power stretcher to stretch the carpet onto the tackless strips and adhere it there as well. You will end up with a tightly fitted carpet that is trimmed well.
Use your edge trimmer to cut the carpet right at the wall. This provides an excellent finish that looks very professional. Because you will need to leave openings for floor vents, you should cut these with your carpet knife and place any vent covers back into place. The doorway will have a door edge to finish the carpet. Although it is called a stair tool you will use your stair tool to tuck the carpet neatly under baseboards.
When you are finished, you should have a properly and precisely fitted carpet that looks and feels professional. Carpeting can be an amazing way to finish a room and doing it yourself can help save you money and make the project more affordable.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
If you are planning to install carpet as a do it your self project make sure you have all the proper tools. Having the right tools can make or break your carpet installation. If you install carpet in a small area like a room it can give you the confidence to do larger areas.