How to Lay a New Carpet
Fitting a New Carpet
However, a properly stretched and fixed carpet looks much better and, provided you are carpeting a fairly simple rectangular room, it isn’t difficult to accomplish.
- Craft knife
- Knee kicker
Using a knee kicker
The only special tool required for laying carpet is a knee kicker for stretching it. It has a toothed head, which is pressed into the carpet while you nudge the end with your knee. You can hire a knee kicker from a carpet supplier.
Why Underlay is Important
A carpet benefits from a resilient cushion laid between it and the floor — it is more comfortable to walk on and the carpet lasts longer. Without an underlay, the divisions between the floorboards will begin to show as dirty marks on a pale carpet as dust from the gaps begins to emerge.
An underlay can be a thick felt or a layer of foamed rubber or plastic. When you buy a foam-backed or rubber-backed carpet, the underlay is an integral part of the floorcovering. In theory, rubber-backed or foam-backed carpets need no additional underlay, but floorboards can still show through cheaper qualities.
In addition, it is worth laying rolls of brown paper or synthetic-fibre sheet over the floor to stop dust and grit working their way into an underlay and to prevent rubber-backed carpet sticking to the floor.
How to Fix Your Carpet to the Floor
There are different methods for holding a carpet firmly in place, depending on the type of carpet you are laying.
Along each edge of the carpet, a 50mm (2in) strip is folded under and nailed to a wooden floor with improved cut tacks about every 200mm (8in). You can usually corer the tack head by rubbing the pile with your fingertips. When using this method, the underlay should be laid 50mm 2in) short of the skirting to allow the carpet to lie flat along the edge.
These wooden or metal strips have fine metal teeth which grip the woven foundation. They are not really suitable for rubber-backed carpets, although they are used. Nail the strips to the floor, 6mm 1/4in) from the skirting, with the teeth pointing towards the wall. Cut short strips to fit carpet into doorways and alcoves. Chic gripper strips to a concrete floor. Cut underlay up to the edge of each strip.
Usetape for rubber-backed carpets only. Stick 50mm (2in) tape around the perimeter of the room; then, when you are ready to fix the carpet, peel off the protective paper layer from the tape.
Laying the Carpet
If you are laying a separate underlay, join neighbouring sections with short strips of carpet tape or secure them with a few tacks to stop them moving.
- Roll out the carpet, butting one machine-cut edge against a wall, and fix that edge to the floor; make sure that any pattern runs parallel to the main axis of the room.
- Stretch the carpet to the wall directly opposite and temporarily fix it with tacks, or slip it onto gripper strips. Don’t cut the carpet yet. Work from the centre towards each corner, stretching and fixing the carpet, then do the same at the other sides of the room.
- Cut a triangular notch at each corner so that the carpet will lie flat. Adjust the carpet until it is stretched evenly, then fix it permanently. When you are using tape or gripper strips, press the carpet into the angle between skirting and floor with a bolster chisel; trim with a knife held at 45 degrees to the skirting. Tuck the cut edge behind the strip with the bolster.
Fitting a threshold bar across the door
Cut the carpet to fit around the doorframe on both sides of the opening, and make a straight cut from one side to the other. Fit a single-or double-sided threshold bar over the cut edge of the carpet.