DIY – Laying Your Own Carpet

Installing a new carpet in your home can be an expensive project, but you can save money by laying the carpet yourself. The task may seem daunting at first, but a few simple measures will make it easy and a joy to behold.

Measure your Floors
It is important to measure the floor correctly, so that you purchase the right amount of material. Buying less than is needed can be a disaster and can lead to misaligned carpets. If you have a carpet already in the room that is being replaced, then the task becomes easier.

Remove the Old Carpet
Remove the mouldings around the room and take the doors off the hinges. Vacuum the old carpet thoroughly, and then cut it into long strips with a sharp knife. Remove the carpet roll-by-roll, strip-by-strip. Clean the floor completely and check for any loose floorboards or mould before you start laying the new carpet.

Collect the Materials Needed
Most home stores will provide all the materials needed to lay your own carpet. These include the underlays, pad strip, tacks, duct tape, carpet knife and scissors, and if possible, rent a carpet stretcher to make the job easier.

Install the Carpet Padding and Tack-less Strips
The tack-less strips must be laid along the edges of the room. The carpet padding should be laid in long strips along the clean floor, and the sides should not overlap each other but be next to each other in a straight seam. It should cover all the strips along the walls and if it is being placed on a cement floor, then it should be glued to the floor.

Acclimatise the Carpet
Most carpets expand or contract once they are placed in the room. The best way to avoid this is by laying it out in the room and leaving it there for 24 hours to acclimatise it to the room temperatures. The carpet will have adjusted itself to the temperature variances before you begin laying it the next day.

Cut the Carpet to Suit the Room
Always buy a carpet that overlaps the floor measurements by over 4” to 6”. Needless to say, the carpet must be cut very carefully, with excess being the norm rather than cutting less. Measure the longest part of the room and using a sharp scissors or carpet knife, cut the carpet 6” more than that length.

Laying the Seams
Avoid having seams by purchasing carpets that are wide enough to fit your room. But if a seam does need to be placed, then make sure that the pile moves in the same direction and the seam is straight. And as far as possible, have the seams in places where they are not visible. Use a seam tape to put the two edges together. A carpet stretcher will help to stretch the carpet correctly to fit the room.

Trim the excess edges carefully and make sure that the carpet is tucked into the gap between the wall and the tack-less strips. Put a door edge strip below the door and place the mouldings and doors back into place. Once done, sit back and take pride in your handiwork.

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Graeme is writing on behalf of the underlay and flooring expert

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