There is nothing else that quite brightens up the décor of a room at a reasonable price than laying a brand new carpet. Good quality carpet can be bought relatively cheaply, however the costs of hiring a professionally qualified person to fit it can be quite high. Alternatively, there is nothing to prevent the individual from laying their own carpet, and if done carefully, using the right tools, and preferably a few pairs of helping hands, it can look as professional as paying for someone else to do it. DIY installation of a carpet in a small to medium sized room is fairly straightforward when following the steps below. Very large or unusually shaped rooms may be trickier, so consult a professional beforehand even if the plan is to DIY.
Buying a Carpet
When buying a carpet, quality is key. Purchasing the best quality carpet and underlay that can be afforded will ensure that it lasts as long as possible, particularly in areas of high traffic such as hallways and stairs. Be particularly careful if installing a patterned carpet, as these can be much more difficult than a single colour carpet, and it is easy to go wrong by not aligning the pattern in the right way.
Tools Required for This Job
- Tape measure
- Strip Cutter
- Knee Kicker
- Stair tool/bolster chisel
- Threshold strips
- Gripper Strips
- Staple hammer
- Wall trimmer
- Power Stretcher
Step by step instructions
Take the following steps to properly fit a carpet in a room.
1. Work Out the Size of the Room
Measure the longest walls in the room using a tape measure - ideally with help from another person if possible. Always add an extra 10 per cent for discrepancies in measurements.
2. Prepare the Floor
Remove any carpet that is to be replaced. Ensure the floor below is clean and smooth, and use a leveling compound to fill in any holes if needed. Allow this to dry before attempting to lay the carpet.
3. Remove the Doors
If possible, remove the doors in the room from their hinges. This will make it easier to fit the carpet rather than having to fit around the doors. This will also make installing the door plates easier.
4. Install Gripper Strips
Be careful when handling gripper strips as these have very sharp points. They have angled spikes on them which should be sloped towards the wall. Cut the gripper strips to size with a strip cutter or heavy strips. Nail the strips down about 1-2” from the edge of the wall so that once the carpet is put down, it can be tucked into the gap underneath the skirting board. Remember not to place them across doorways as the tacks are very sharp and could poke through into feet. Gripper strips can come in a variety of sizes, thickness, and height so make sure the correct one for the job is being used. If the carpet is being installed over concrete, use masonry tacks or an adhesive to hold the gripper strips in place to the floor.
5. Fit the Underlay
Although it is not compulsory to install underlay, it is highly recommended. Underlay helps keep the warmth in the floor, extends the life of the carpet, and also smoothes out any unevenness on the floor before the carpet goes down. The underlay should be laid perpendicular to the direction the carpet will go down. Then staple it near the gripper strips with a staple hammer. Then staple any seams in the underlay to ensure there are no gaps.
6. Trim the Underlay
Feel through the underlay to find where the gripper strip is, and use a utility knife to cut along the edge so the underlay lies up to the gripper strips but leaves them exposed.
7. Notch the Corners of the Carpet for Trimming
Measure the room at its longest point, and add a generous 3”, just to be sure. If possible, take the carpet outside and notch the back on both sides at the right length for the room.
8. Trim the Carpet to Size
Run a chalk line from notch to notch. Cut the back of the carpet along the chalk line, roll the carpet up, and take it to the room where it is to be installed.
9. Trim the Excess Carpet
Once the carpet is unrolled in its intended room, keep it as straight as possible and cut away excess, but leave about 3” next to the walls. Fill the room with all the carpet required.
10. Glue the Seams
In areas of the room where carpet edges join, a seam will need to be created. Always check that both edges are completely straight. Place a piece of seaming tape under the seam, with the adhesive side up. Use a seaming iron (following manufacturer’s instructions) to glue the seams together, then place heavy objects on the seams to ensure they stick.
11. Attach the First Edge of the Carpet
Now the installation can really begin. Attach the carpet to the tackless strips along one wall of the room, and use a knee kicker to forcefully strike the carpet over the tackless strips. Always use the padded end of a knee kicker and ask advice from an experienced user if unsure on how to use one. When fitting a patterned carpet, ensure that it is symmetrical during installation and adjust it as work progresses if necessary.
12. Trim Excess Carpet from the Edges
Use a wall trimmer to trim the excess carpet away. A wall trimmer rests against the wall and gives a straight cut in the right place for the finished carpet. Once this is done, use a stair tool or bolster chisel to press the carpet edges underneath the baseboard trim of the wall.
13. Fixing Any Creases
Use hands or a rolling pin to smooth out any creases in the carpet, starting from the middle of the room and working outwards.
14. Stretch the Carpet
Use a power stretcher to stretch the carpet into place across the other side of the room from the one that has already been installed. In awkward areas, use the knee kicker and stair tool as before.
15. Finish Trimming the Carpet
Once the carpet is in place in all areas of the room, cut any vent openings or architectural features such as fireplace hearths. These areas will probably need to be stapled down to ensure the carpet edges do not roll up and look untidy.
16. Install a Threshold Strip
A threshold strip goes across the doorway entrance, keeping the edge of the carpet in the room and the one in the next room down. These usually come in either brass or silver, depending on the desired style of the room. Cut the threshold strip into the right size of the door frame, and use nails and a hammer to fix in place. And voila. Now time to sit back and enjoy the brand new carpet, installed without spending money on a professional.
Where to Find Carpet Installation Tools on eBay
In order to find carpet installation tools on eBay, first head to the homepage. From here, go to the options on the left hand side of the page, and select Home & Garden and then Home & Garden again from the drop-down selection. This will then load the Home & Garden page of eBay. From here, go to the left hand side of the page again and select DIY, and either Hand Tools or Power Tools from the selection. Carpet installation tools can fall under either category. Alternatively, use the eBay search engine to look for specific tools, as listings of this type can be placed under several different categories.
If the above steps are followed, and care taken at every stage of the process, doing a DIY installation of a carpet can be simple and straightforward. It's preferable to have other people around to help as this kind of project will be considerably more difficult for a DIY-er to accomplish alone. If in doubt, consult with a professional installer. Once the carpet has been installed, the hard work will have been worth the effort.