Carpet Laying Step by Step Guide
Measuring for Carpets
Most carpet suppliers will measure rooms, but to do this yourself, measure the length and width of the room, including alcoves, and add an allowance for places where the carpet must extend under doors. Multiply the dimensions together for the number of square metres or feet you must buy.
Narrower carpets are sold in terms of length, rather than of square metres or yards. Measure the length of the room (by the ‘length’ is meant the opposite direction to that in which the carpet will be laid) and divide the result by the width of each carpet strip. Multiply this by the other dimension and you can easily calculate the length of carpet you need.
To measure for stair carpeting, first measure from the front to the back of a single tread (horizontal part) and multiply by the number of treads. For treads around corners take the longer measurement. Bottom treads are often longer, so take account of this. Next, measure the height of a riser (vertical part) and multiply by the number of the risers. Add in amounts for half-landings or landings, together with an allowance if the carpet is to be moved to distribute wear.
More on laying stair carpet…
Laying Woven Carpets
Woven carpets should be fitted professionally: a cut in the wrong place would be an expensive mistake. Moreover, carpet will wear out prematurely unless it is tensioned correctly.
The carpet must be laid over thick underlay and secured to the perimeter of the room by gripper rods. At doorways, a metal binder bar is used instead of a gripper rod: the carpet is hooked onto pins and the edge covered with a metal strip.
Patching Fitted Carpet
1. Place new piece over damaged area. Cut through both layers at once.
2. Applyaround the edges of both the hole and the patch. Leave to dry.
3. Stick double-sided tape to the underlay or floor. Remove the backing.
4. Place the patch in position and press down firmly. To finish, trim loose fibres.
Laying Carpet Tiles
Carpet tiles are easy to lay. Because they do not need to be fixed down, they can be taken up and moved around to distribute wear; irrevocably damaged tiles can simply be replaced. Carpet tiles need no underlay, but it is important that the surface should be clean, dry and level.
As with ceramic tiles, you can calculate how many carpet tiles you will need by measuring the length and width of the room using the width of the tile as the unit, and then multiplying the two figures (rounding up for part tiles). Buy extra tiles in case of damage.
Follow manufacturers’ instructions for laying, as techniques vary. Begin by laying from the mid-point of the room (see Laying Wooden Mosaic Floor Tiles). Some carpet tiles have an arrow on the back to indicate the direction of the pile. You can either lay all the tiles with the same direction of pile or lay them so that it alternates at right angles to give a checkerboard effect.
Carpet tiles are usually loose-laid, but you can place a strip of double-sided tape around the perimeter of the room to keep the assemblage firmly in place. It is also a good idea to stick the first tile down with tape orso that it remains in place when the rest are being laid. Push each tile up against the previous one for a snug fit.
1. After all the whole tiles have been laid, you must cut edge pieces. Place the tile in position upside-down, butting it against the wall. Nick it at each end using a trimming knife. Measure any irregular gaps carefully and make a template or pattern in order to ensure that you cut the tiles correctly. You could also use a profile gauge.
2. Cut through the tile, holding the knife against a metal straightedge. Turn the tile over and fit it so that the cut edge is against the wall. You can cut rounded shapes using a template.
If tiles dislodge, such as in a busy hallway lift them up and apply carpetto the underside.
Laying Foam-backed Carpet
Unless the floor is already covered with(masonite), the carpet should be laid on a paper underlay that stops short of the walls to allow a margin for double-sided carpet tape. Lay the carpet with the pile running away from the window. Try to avoid seams, but if you find you must join widths secure them with carpet tape and butt the pieces together.
Carpet tape is available in different widths. When you are fitting a single piece of carpet the narrowest width is sufficient. It can be stuck to both wood and concrete.
1. Lay the carpet tape around the perimeter of the room. However, at this stage, do not peel off the backing strip. Cut your piece of carpet roughly to size, leaving a 5cm/2in overlap. Make diagonal cuts at the corners to allow the tongues to lap against the base of the wall.
2. To fit carpet around a chimney breast, make freeing cuts in line with the sides of the chimney breast by folding the carpet over a board and cutting through the back. Allow the tongues of carpet to fit into the recess. Trim off excess across the face of the chimney breast.
3. Press the carpet under the base of the skirting board (baseboard) with a bolster chisel (brick chisel) or a similar tool, and trim off excess with a trimming knife. Peel the tape backing off and press the carpet back into position. Finish with a threshold strip in doorways.