Carpeting becomes one of the focal points in a room simply due to its large expanse. It's a great way to add color and texture to a room's decor. Moreover, your feet will appreciate its warmth and softness provided the carpeting is properly installed. Follow these tips from the pros at Coordinated Interiors for a perfect installation.
Carpet needs a level surface and a strong underlay. Remove the old rug and padding. You can reuse the padding if it's in good condition but set it aside for now.
Inspect the flooring for damage, such as splintered or warped wood. Existing ceramic tiles must be torn up. If you have linoleum tiles on top of the underlay, then walk the entire area looking for dips or other soft spots. Carpeting adds weight to the floor so replace any damaged boards before installation.
If you have floor heating vents, remove them and set aside. Then remove the baseboards so they do not get dinged when the carpet is being stretched.
Padding and Tack Strips
Lay the padding and secure it with staples. An electric stapler makes this job fast and easy. Trim around the floor vents.
Nail down a continuous row of tack strips about ½-inch from the baseboard, skipping over the doorway. This method makes it easy to tuck the edges of the carpet underneath the baseboards for a professional appearance.
Orienting the Carpet
You will probably be using more than one piece of carpeting to cover a large room, such as an open living-dining area. The pieces are seamed together. It's more visually attractive if the seam is not in the center of the floor. Orient the carpet so the seam will be closer to the side of the room and possibly hidden by furniture.
Order extra carpet if you have to match a floral or geometric design. You can always use the extra scraps in a closet. Alternately, you could put them away to plug any damaged areas in the future, such as wine or pet stains.
Stretch and Lay the Carpet
Stretch the carpet along the wall that will not have a seam near it. Stretching prevents lumps and uneven wear. Tack it down along the wall to hold it in place while you cut out the floor vents.
If your room has walls that jut out in places, cut a small diagonal slit so the carpet lays flat. Then trim it with a carpet trimmer rather than a utility knife. Carpet trimmers do not damage the floor and the blade stays sharp throughout the installation.
The best way to seam two pieces of carpeting is with an electric carpet seamer. You'll need heat-activated seaming tape rather than standard seaming tape. Make sure the pieces are flush for a perfect seam.
Replace the baseboards. Tuck the edge of the carpeting underneath the baseboard as you nail it into place. Not only does it look nicer but the carpet threads will not fray.
Replace the floor vents. Trim the carpet so it is just under the edge of the cover but not interfering with the screws.
Vacuum the rug to remove the loose fibers from trimming. Be aware that it's perfectly normal for some carpets shed for a few weeks, depending on their method of construction.