How to Fit a Carpet

Written by  Harry Taylor
Last updated: July 5, 2023

Carpets give your home that warm and comfortable touch and are part of the décor for many modern homes. Though laying a carpet may seem as simple as glueing it down, there is more to it. When a carpet is mislaid, there are some tell-tale signs. The edges will become frayed, and the corners will pop up regularly. It is, therefore, essential to get the job done right. Once you have poorly fitted your carpet, it can be quite challenging to adjust. Carpet is a unique substance and responds to cutting in a specific manner. It is therefore advisable to practice cutting on a spare piece of carpet before cutting the material you plan to install. Materials and Tools:

  • Carpet adhesive
  • Carpet bolster – 3 inches (best to rent since they can be expensive)
  • Carpet gripper
  • Carpet knee kicker
  • Door bar (if setting a carpet across a doorway)
  • Double-sided tape
  • Knee pads
  • Notched trowel
  • Paper of any kind
  • Roller (if you are laying underlay)
  • Stanley knife + 5 new blades
  • Tackifier (if you are laying underlay)
  • Underlay (if your carpet is not pre-equipped)

Calculate how Much Material you Will Need

Measure the floors in the relevant area. You can easily calculate square and rectangular regions by multiplying the length by width. It can be somewhat more challenging to measure uneven rooms and doorways. Many people forget their door frames and room trims, so make sure to factor them in. If you plan to lay carpet on a stairway, make sure to measure each stair’s depth (as they may be different) before multiplying the figure by width (which should be constant). Go over your calculations and make sure they are correct before purchasing the material and the appropriate underlay. Once you have the final figure for the amount of carpet necessary, add at least 5% for waste. When purchasing material for stairs, it is better to allow 10% extra, as they can be unpredictable. It is always better to have too much material and cut it than be a couple of centimetres short.

  • Prepare your Subfloor

The subfloor is the surface beneath any covering, such as carpet or tiles. It is the basis of any installation. The first rule of working on the floor is to put on kneepads. You would be amazed at the severity of knee problems you can develop from working on a subfloor unprotected. If your flooring is in excellent shape, no extra work is necessary. However, in most cases, the carpet you will be installing is designed to cover less than perfect flooring. If any nails are sticking out or any of the bords are loose, make sure to fix the problem before proceeding. Since installation is long-term, it is probably best to pull out the flooring and start anew. Although flooring is an entirely separate topic, it is usually best to place tongue-and-groove chipboard flooring panels underneath a new carpet. Remember, if you have installed a new floor, let it sit for at least 48 hours before beginning work on the carpet. Make sure the subfloor is in prime condition before doing anything. After all, carpets are only as good as the floor underneath.

  • Choose the Underlay

To protect your carpet against damage from heavy furniture and constant treading, we install a level of underlay. Underlay is a form of padding which prevents the carpet from repeatedly rubbing against the bare floor. The padding provides insulation, keeping your feet warmer in winter and preserves much-needed warmth. One of the most important decisions you will make when installing a new carpet is which padding to install. Some manufacturers fit their carpets with an underlay, so make sure you find out which padding your chosen model is sporting. In other cases, stores sell the underlay separately, and you can fit in any type you wish. The underlay and its quality should be an important part of your purchasing decision. There are several basic types of underlay. Each has its characteristics and advantages. You will find rebond padding installed in most homes around the country. They are not the highest quality, but arguably they provide the best value for money. Their main drawback is that they are unsuitable for heavy foot traffic. Therefore, rebond padding is not appropriate for businesses or rooms where you frequently entertain visitors. In these cases, the best choice is bonded foam. The bonded variety consists of superior quality foam and is therefore significantly dearer. It may be worth investing the extra cash since bonded foam is of higher quality and more durability no matter where you install it. If you or a loved one suffer from an allergy problem, a rubber underlay may be the way to go. It is also far more durable than most carpets, and therefore you should be able to squeeze another use out of it. Finally, felt wool underlay is an excellent option for the environmentally conscious since it is typically made up of 100% recycled materials. Felt wool is also quite durable and excels in acoustic insulation.

  • Roll out the Carpet

When you roll out the carpet, measure the area you wish to cover. For best results, add 200 millimetres in each direction. If you are setting the carpet through a doorway, make sure to account for that as well. Cut through the carpet the required dimensions using your Stanley knife. Keep in mind that cutting through carpet can significantly blunt your knife. Therefore, it is recommended to stock up on several spare blades as you can expect them to wear out quickly. Once the blade is even somewhat blunt, it can damage the carpet needlessly. Now that the carpet is the correct size roll it back up and set it aside.

  • Prepare to Install the Carpet

Lay down your paper using double-sided tape. The paper will prevent the underlay from sticking permanently to the floor if and when you need to remove it. It is time to install the carpet gripper, which is equipped with sharp and harmful nails. Therefore, make sure to put on your protective gloves. These devices are pre-nailed and allow for a firm grip on your carpet, keeping it taught and tidy looking. Carpet grippers are made out of cuttable and adjustable material, so you can slice them with a Stanley knife to fit your needs. Place the grippers 12 millimetres from the wall in every direction. Make sure to place the sharp edges of the gripper facing the wall. If you have a separate underlay, now is the time to use it. The underlay fits directly into the grippers, therefore use the Stanley knife to cut it into the correct shape and level. Place it inside the griper as securely as possible. Join the edges and use double-sided tape to secure the joins properly. For best results, make sure the edges do not overlap and the underlay is entirely flat.

  • Install the Carpet

Place the previously cut carpet on the underlay, laying it squarely to the walls to best showcase the patterns. If applied properly, a crease should form on the spot where the carpet meets the skirting board. Once the crease appears, push it firmly towards the meeting point between the carpet and the wall. Push the carpet down to fit into the grippers in the corners of the room. If necessary, cut the carpet further to fit. Be careful and remember that it is always better to cut too little rather than too much. Installation in some areas is more complicated than others, so take care. When installing carpet in a doorway, make sure to cut it in line with the flooring for the other room as well. You may want to use a door bar for this task. Door bars belong precisely on the threshold between the two rooms. If the gadget is invisible when the door is closed, you have applied it correctly.

  • Fit the Carpet to the Skirting Boards

Break out the knee kicker and place it so that it bites the carpet lightly. The knee kicker has a padded cushion fitted on one end and a plate with exposed teeth. We call this device a knee kicker because you kick the padded part into place as the teeth bite into the carpet. Work the kicker across the outer edges of the carpet, cutting into the skirting board carefully. Do this along each side of the carpet until the entire carpet is secured. Now reapply the kicker again over the edges of the carpet. Repeating this process will ensure that it is correctly aligned with the skirting boards on all sides.

  • Finish the Edges

Now use that carpet bolster you rented to bring down the carpet on to the skirting boards. This tool provides a professional finished look to the installation.

How Much Does it Cost?

Carpets and underlay vary wildly in cost since the materials applied differ significantly in quality. Carpet materials often cost considerably more than labour, so expect to save less by going the DIY route than you would on comparable jobs. The cheapest carpets, such as berber or twist, will cost roughly £4-6 per square meter. Meanwhile, velvet or woven carpets can set you back £40-60 per square meter. There are other options if this is too much for your budget, professional carpet cleaning can save you a lot in the long run.

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