Learn how to lay and install carpet yourself and save the expense of a professional. Here are some tools and guidelines and steps to get you started. When it’s time to lay new carpet in your house consider renting a carpet stretcher and doing the job yourself, rather than calling in the professionals.
If installation of the carpet was thrown in with the price of the carpet, let the carpet layers do their thing, but if having it installed is going to cost almost as much as the carpet itself, get a few tools together and a buddy or two and you’ll be done in no time. Of course, you’ll have to do the job correctly the first time or you’ll have a lumpy, dumpy-looking floor job that no one will be proud of, so do it right the first time. Go to a tool rental center and rent a carpet stretcher to make it easier on yourself. This is basically just a bar which you push over your carpet and it helps to tighten the carpet as you’re laying it. If you attempt to lay the carpet without a carpet stretcher, it might look like a fine job until a few days or weeks pass, when you’ll start to notice bulges here and there in the carpet.
First you’ll need to remove the old carpeting by first removing all grip bars. These are the metal pieces which are placed across the floor of a doorway if the carpet is seamed in that spot or if the next room is linoleum. After removing the grip bars, start in a corner or doorway and use a pry bar to begin prying up the carpet. Normally the carpet is held in place by tacking strip – a cardboard strip with tacks every few inches. You’ll have to pry up these tacks in order to remove the old carpet. After getting a good section started, you can usually pull the carpet up, but it’s helpful if you first use a carpet knife to cut sections. It is much easier to remove portions of the carpet at a time than to attempt to remove the entire piece, unless it’s a small room. Use gloves to help protect your hands against the tacking strip. If the carpet was originally put down, then baseboards or quarter round, you’ll have to remove the woodwork before you remove the old carpet.
Sometimes, staples are used to hold the carpet in place. If this is the case, a good tug in the areas where the staples are should break them loose. After removing all the old carpet, decide if you’ll also be replacing the carpet padding. If it’s clean and not torn, you might want to continue using it, but usually if it’s time to replace the carpet, it’s time to replace the padding. After the padding is in place, you can begin to lay the new carpet by unrolling some, pulling it up against the wall and rolling out a little bit more. Now, to hold the carpet still, lay the tacking strip flat out on the floor with the tacks sticking up, and push the edge of the carpet down on to the tacking strip. Place the strip about one inch away from the edge and when you have tacking strip all the way across the edge, flip the strip over to where the tacks are now facing down, push it all the way against the wall, and hammer in the tacks. Use the carpet stretcher now to get the carpet real tight before repeating the tacking strip process on the opposite wall.
After both ends are secured, put the tacking strip on the sides and hammer in place. If there were originally baseboards or quarter round installed, it’s not necessary to fold the carpet over the tack strip. Just secure the end of the carpet with tacks or staples, use your carpet stretcher and then staple or tack the opposite end. You can then staple or tack the sides before moving on to re-installing the baseboards or quarter round. If you’ll be going room to room with the carpet, try to make the least amount of seams as possible. It’s easier, of course, to cut the carpet off, and then start the next room, but you’ll have a more professional look if you take the carpet from one room straight into the next. This usually means cutting the carpet to fit one room, then measuring and cutting large pieces out of the carpet, to allow for the flow of the carpet into a hallway or the next room. These pieces which are removed are perfect for laying carpet in the closets or a bathroom.