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How to Install Carpet

It only takes a few special tricks to install your carpet like a professional.


Determine Floor Area
1. Divide your area to be carpeted into rectangles.
2. For each rectangle, multiply the length x width (in feet).
3. Add all of those areas together and divide them by 9 to find the total square yardage.
4. Order 10% more than the total square yardage to accommodate errors and pattern-matching.
Uncover and Clean Subfloor
1. Scrape off any paint or other substance on the subfloor to make it smooth.
2. Sweep and vacuum.
3. Do not put down a moisture barrier.
Remove doors
Removing the doors first makes it easier to work.

Installing the Carpet Underlayment Pad

Install Tackless Strips
1. Determine the correct tackless strips for your carpet before purchasing them.
2. Use a strip cutter or heavy snips to cut the strips to size.
3. Nail strips 1/4" to 1/2" away from the wall. (Use masonry tacks or epoxy adhesive for concrete subfloors.) Do not put strips in any place where people might walk, such as across thresholds. If you do, make sure to hammer the tacks flat after you are done.
Install Carpet Pad
1. Lay the carpet pad perpendicular to the direction that you want to install your carpet in. (The carpet's seams should be parallel to the main light source, so put the pad's seams perpendicular to the light source.) Cut pad pieces to fit the space.
2. Staple the carpet pad down near the tackless strips at one wall using a staple hammer.
3. Stretch the pad taught, then staple it down at the other tackless strips.
4. Stretch the edges of pads together at the seams, then staple each edge at the seam where they meet. Alternate stapling one piece and then the other.
5. Using a utility knife, cut the padding along the interior edge of the tackless strips, exposing the tacks.

Installing the Carpet

Trim to Size
1. Add 3 inches to the longest measurement of the space to be carpeted.
2. Notch this length onto the back of the carpet. You may want to do this outside.
3. Roll up the carpet until the notches show at the top of the roll. Run a chalk line from notch to notch, then cut along the chalk line.
Place the Carpet
1. Unroll the carpet in the space to be carpeted to so the extra 3 inches goes up the walls.
2. Cut and place pieces to fill the space. Make sure the seams between the pieces are straight and that the pieces' piles both lean in the same direction. Make the seams parallel to the main light source of the room.
3. Use a carpet knife to trim the carpet around obstacles. Continue to leave 3 inches allowance. Do NOT cut holes in the middle of the carpet for vents at this time.
4. If you have columns or poles, you will need to place the edges of carpet pieces against them so that the seam intersects each column, or cut a seam through one piece.
Seaming the Carpet
1. Place seaming tape under the seam with the adhesive up.
2. Heat the seaming iron, then stick it into the seam and hold it on the tape for 15 - 30 seconds.
3. As you slide the iron along the tape slowly, press the carpet seam into the melted adhesive.
4. Put heavy objects onto the seam to hold it down until the glue dries.
Attach the First Edge
1. Choose one wall to be the first edge. Place a knee kicker on the carpet about 3 inches away from the wall.
2. Hit the padded end of the kicker hard in order to stretch the carpet onto the tackless strips.
3. Remove the excess carpet from along that wall using a wall trimmer.
4. Use a stair tool to tuck the edges under the baseboard.
Attach the Other Edges
1. Stretch the carpet over to the strips on the other side of the room using a power stretcher.
2. Use the knee kicker and stair tool where the power stretcher can't reach, such as in a corner.
3. At thresholds, nail down a binder bar. Use the knee kicker to stretch the carpet onto the binder bar's hooks, then close the bar onto the carpet using a wooden block.
Final Trimming
1. Cut out the vent openings.
2. (Optional) Attach shoe moldings.
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