How to Install Carpet

Installing your own wall to wall carpet isn't a job everybody wants to take on. It can be hard on both your knees and your back, and if you don't get it right, everybody can see where you messed up. However, installing carpet isn't "rocket science," and by using some specialized tools (available at most tool rental outlets) and being prepared to take your time, installing carpet is a job you can do yourself.

What You'll Need:

  • Tackless strips
  • Stapler
  • Hammer
  • Utility knife
  • Chalk line
  • Measuring tape
  • Rolling pin (or rental seam roller)
  • Work gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Knee pads

Rental Tools:

  • Knee kicker
  • Power stretcher
  • Seam cutter
  • Seaming iron
  • Seam tape
  • Wall trimmer
  • Strip cutter
  • Seam roller

Getting Ready

Your first step is to get rid of the old carpet. Start by removing the moldings around the floor and take the door off the entrance, so you can get the old carpet out and the new carpet in easier. Give the old carpet a good vacuuming so you won't be breathing in dust, and then use a utility knife to cut the carpet into strips about 18 to 24 inches wide.

Start at one end and pull the carpet off the tackless strips and roll it up in sections. Some people feel that you can reuse the existing underlay, but in most cases it will be worn out just like the carpet, so you're better off getting rid of it as well.

Remove the existing tackless strips and make sure the floor is clean and dry. This is a good time to check your subfloor and securely fasten any floorboards that may be loose so they won't squeak under the new carpet (use 1 1/2" screws into the underlying floor joists).

Install new tackless strips around the perimeter of the room, but not in front of doorways. Leave a space of about 1/2" between the strips and the wall, and be sure the pins or tacks face towards the wall. (They're called tackless strips even though they have two or three rows or very sharp tacks, because using these "tackless strips" means you don't need to "tack" carpet down.) At corners, make sure the tackless strips are butted tightly against each other.