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How to Install Carpet

Getting Ready to Install Carpet

Installing carpet is likely one of the hardest jobs for a novice to complete, but for an amateur who takes their time and is patient, the install job can come out all right. It is important for a beginner not to be upset if the installation job does not come out quite right, because each kind of carpet will present its own set of problems to address.

Tools Required for the Job

Certain tools will be required for the installation job, and other tools may be necessary depending on the type of installation used. Be sure to have all these tools on hand before beginning the job. The specialty tools required for the job are expensive for people who do not install carpet on a regular basis. These tools may be rented from a specialty tool store to save money.

Basic Tools

Carpenter’s Square

Utility Knife



Chalk Line

Safety Goggles


Measuring Tape


For a Glue Down Installation, additional tools

Carpet Cutter

Carpet Roller

Duct Tape

Gripper Edge


Leather Gloves

Seam Sealer Kit

Push Broom

Notched Trowel


Stretch-In Installation, additional tools

Knee Kicker or Power Stretcher

Seaming Tape

Seaming Iron

Staple Gun


Stair Tool

Tackless Strip and Cutters

Leather Gloves


Gripper Edge

Duct Tape


Carpet Cutter

Carpet Roller

Installation Basics

Before starting any sort of carpet installation, it is important to consider the following:

Though it can be done, it is not recommended to install carpet in any below ground surface where mold and mildew could become a problem.

If planning to install the carpet over a radiant heating system, check with the carpet’s manufacturer to ensure it is safe for use.

Carpet tiles should never be installed over existing carpet. Do not install carpet tiles on an unsealed cement floor, over a hand-painted floor, or over an unfinished waxed floor.

Use the recommended padding type for your carpet. Do not reuse an existing carpet pad. The wrong pad, or an old pad, could easily cause the carpet to wear out sooner than it should.

Getting Ready for Installation

Before installing new carpet, remove all existing flooring in the room. If you find asbestos, do not remove any of the old flooring. Contact a professional company to remove it for you, or be sure to familiarize yourself with all safety guidelines for removal and follow them carefully.

If the carpet is being installed over a concrete subfloor, make sure the concrete is properly sealed to prevent moisture from seeping into the carpet padding. If you are using a glue down or double glue down method to install the carpet over a concrete subfloor, check the concrete’s calcium chloride concentration as well as the pH alkalinity. The calcium chloride level should not exceed 5 pounds per 24 hours per 1000 square feet. The pH alkalinity should always be higher than 9 on the pH scale.

Check the subflooring to ensure it is level and flat. Minor issues are okay, but if there are major dips in the floor, it could create issues later in the installation. The flat subfloor will ensure doors will open and close correctly after the carpet is in place.

Though you will want to leave the wall base as is, before installation begins, remove all quarter round molding. Remove the doors in the room, as well.

Before beginning installation, sweep and vacuum the subfloor to clean up dirt and debris.

Inspect the carpet roll for defects and ensure it is what you want.

Use the appropriate safety gear and follow all of the manufacturer’s safety guidelines.

Carpet Installation Methods

The installation process for carpet depends on the method used.

Stretch In: This installation method is used for rolls of broadloom carpet. The carpet is cut to the dimensions for the room, and rolled out over the carpet padding. Tackless strips are installed around the outer edges of a room and used to secure the carpet. Stretch in is in the most common installation method in use today.

Glue Down or Double Glue Down: This installation method is only used for certain types of broadloom carpet. In the case of glue down, carpet is glued directly to the subfloor with a special adhesive. In the case of double glue down, the padding is glued directly to the subfloor with a special adhesive; then the carpet is glued to the padding. This method is a good choice for indoor and outdoor carpeted areas for both homes and businesses, and patterned carpet in highly trafficked areas.

Basic Installation Steps for the Stretch In Method

•         Padding is stapled down directly to the subfloor, covering the entire room.

•         Edges are cut so there is room to tack the carpet down and install the tackless strips.

•         Once the carpet has been laid flat over the entire room, cut the edges and fold in.

•         Use the knee-kicker or power stretcher to stretch the rug, with the edges secured.

•         If you need to blend carpet at a joint, overlap the carpet and cut through both.

•         Use a roller to blend and secure the carpet with weight until the glue has a chance to harden.

Basic Installation Steps for Glue Down or Double Glue Down Method

•         If using the double glue down method, padding is laid over the entire room, and cut to fit.

•         Padding is pulled back and adhesive is added to the perimeter of the room, with the notched trowel.

•         Smooth the edges of the padding with a drywall knife.

•         Repeat steps with carpet, this time on top of the padding.

•         If skipping padding, apply the adhesive to the subfloor, and place the carpet on top, smoothing out the edges.
These basic steps will give you an idea of what you need to do, but for more detailed installation guidelines, consult the carpet manufacturer.

(5) Comments

  1. Our Church propose to lay a wool based carpet in our leisure hall. It has a stone floor and I have suggested that a thick paper membrane be laid on the floor over which a 6mm marine board be laid. on top a premier underlay and then the carpet.

    Would you agree with my proposal as the house is over 100 years old/

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