How to Lay Carpet

How to Lay Carpet

The choice of carpet colours and patterns is virtually limitless so it is easy to co-ordinate a carpet into the chosen decorative scheme of a room. Carpets made from artificial fibres are now suitable for high traffic areas and rooms once considered inappropriate, such as bathrooms and kitchens. Often considered a professional job, carpet laying can in fact be undertaken by a skilled amateur.


Before installing carpet, you will need to estimate the quantity of carpet you need and also the amount of gripper and underlay. Carpet and underlay are usually sold by the square metre, although it is still made in widths of 12 and 15ft (3.7 and 4.6m). Gripper has different length pins for different depths of carpet pile, so seek your supplier’s advice. Carpet comes in different weights — the heavier the weight, the greater the wear.

Tools for the Job:

  • tape measure & pencil
  • secateurs or handsaw
  • hammer
  • sealant gun
  • trimming knife
  • staple tacker
  • protective gloves
  • knee kicker
  • edge trimmer
  • bolster chisel
  • screwdriver


  1. Fit gripper all the way around the room. Cut strips to length as necessary with secateurs or a small handsaw. On chipboard and wooden floors, nail it down ensuring that the slanted gripper pins point towards the wall. Leave a gap two-thirds the thickness of the carpet between the back of the gripper and the wall.
  2. On hard floors such as concrete use a special adhesive designed for sticcking down gripper. Work fast as the adhesive generally only stays workable for ten minutes.
  3. Special gripper strips, often called napplocks, are fitted at doorways for a neat appearance. Nail the strip to the floor so that it will be covered completely by the bottom of the door when it is closed.
  4. Cover the floor inside the gripper with underfelt, cutting to fit with a craft knife. Leave no gaps but do not overlap, as this will cause an unsightly bulge. Fix the underfelt to the subfloor using a staple tacker.
  5. Lay the carpet with the napp sloping away from the main source of light. Trim off excess with the trimming knife leaving 150mm (6in) turned up the wall at each edge.
  6. Press the carpet onto the gripper along the straightest wall with the ball of your hand. Wear gloves to avoid friction burns.
  7. Position a knee kicker about 150mm (6in) from the opposite wall and kick the carpet forward with your knee so that it is stretched and held by the gripper. Stretch out the whole width of the carpet.
  8. Cut the carpet to size with a carpet edge trimmer. Use the trimming knife to get into the corners of the room. Stretch and fit the carpet to the other wall in the same manner.
  9. Force down the edge of the carpet between the gripper and the wall/skirting board with a bolster chisel. Hand pressure is usually fine, but if the gripper is tight to the wall you may have to tap the chisel.
  10. When laying carpet around pipes and other obstructions, cut a slit in the carpet the distance from the wall to the obstruction with a trimming knife, then make small cuts across the edges of the slit. Use a screwdriver to tuck the carpet down around the pipe for a neat finish. Unless the pipe is larger than about 20mm (3/4in) it is unlikely that you will have to cut out a circle of carpet.

Tips of the Trade

When laying carpet and to ensure you fit gripper the correct distance from the wall, make a spacer two-thirds the thickness of the carpet and use this when nailing it down.


How to Lay Carpet

Safety Advice

The pins on gripper are extremely sharp — always wear gloves and safety glasses when handling and cutting it.

Tips of the Trade

The ‘napp’ of a carpet refers to the way the pile slopes. Make sure that the napp all faces the same way when two pieces are joined together.

14. December 2010 by admin
Categories: Carpets, DIY Home, Flooring | Tags: , | Comments Off on How to Lay Carpet


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