Ever wish you could just sweep your floor’s blemishes under the rug? Go a step farther, and throw down an entire wall-to-wall carpet! You can restore the beauty of a room marred by stained linoleum, scratched hardwood or cracked tile with just a few rolls. It can also improve more than just esthetics – it can help absorb sound, be more comfortable on achy feet and improve insulation in cold-prone climates. It’s nicer to lay furniture on as well, and won’t get scratched up.
SIMPLE AND COST EFFICIENT WAYS TO INSTALL FLOORING
- Have nothing in the room
- Have stable laminate, hardwood or vinyl floor
- Have clean, even concrete subfloor
- Have rectangular room floorplan with even parallel edges
- No molding or trim moulding where floors meet walls
MEDIUM ROOM DIFFICULTY
- Remove lightweight furniture from the room
- Clean the concrete subfloor
- Scrape old adhesive off of subfloor
- Move heavy furniture out of the room
- Remove asbestos-containing Linoleum floor
- Heavy furniture and fixtures to move
- Break down and remove integrated furniture and appliances that covers some of the floor
- Elaborate moulding and trim to remove first
- Remove jutting nails and replace broken planks in wooden subfloor
- Extensive cleaning and scrape old adhesives off of subfloor
- Have non-rectangular floor plan
Step-by-step guide to wall-to-wall carpeting
Recommended Preparation for Installing Carpet
Remove Existing Hard FlooringUnlike other floor improvement projects, you don’t necessarily have to remove any old flooring to install carpet. Hardwood, tile and laminate all can handle the addition of carpet. With laminate there is a possibility of it being installed as “floating,” which means it isn’t really attached to the subfloor, and this can cause wrinkles and rips in carpet you lay on top of it as a result of movement. To prevent this, you can install carpet grippers along the perimeter of the room. Leaving on the previous flooring can result in a carpeted surface that is too high for current moulding and trim, which is a reason to possibly remove existing flooring. The benefit however is that you can always remove the carpet and enjoy the previous floor style, if desired.
Remove Existing CarpetingIf you have carpeting, pry up the edges of the carpet from any trim with a pry bar, starting with the corners. If you plan to keep the carpet in one piece for use or resale, slowly work from one corner. If you don’t plan to keep it, use a utility knife to slice it into manageable strips and pry up each one. Use a flat pry bar to remove carpet tacks.
Prepare and Clean the SubflooringIf you do remove the upper floor surface, you need to make sure that the subfloor is clean, solid, and flat. If made of concrete, use a patching compound to level any unevenness, scrape up hardened glue and paint, and remove nails and staples. If you have a plywood subfloor, be sure to replace any damaged or uneven planks, and either hammer down or replace nails that are jutting out or rusty.
Remove Quarter Round MoldingWhile you can leave baseboard in place, you should remove quarter round molding so the new laminate or vinyl can be easily placed underneath. You do not need worry about the trim around doorways, as that will be handled in a later step.
Measure the Floor AreaDetermine the entire surface area of the room so you know how much carpet to get. Rolls come in 12, 13.5 or 15 feet wide – if you need longer than that, you will have seams, but it is possible to make them nearly invisible while installing.
Step-by-Step Guide to Installing Flooring
Cut the Trim and Door JambRather than trying to match the odd shape of the moulding around doorways, you can simply cut the trim and slip the new flooring underneath. First, take a section of the new planks and any additional underlayment you plan to use, and measure it against the door jamb for height. Make a pencil mark around this section, then use a jamb saw to make a horizontal cut along the door frame.
Cut and Position Tack StripsThese days, tack strips are used to secure carpet without permanently damaging it. These are made especially with wood, vinyl and concrete flooring in mind, and install easily with their included nails. Just hammer them into place with their points facing the wall, while keeping a space about 2/3rds the thickness of the to-be-installed carpet between the edge of carpet and the wall. If you use a particularly thick type of carpet, you should have two rows of these fore extra stabilization.
Install the Carpet PaddingPadding, which can either come with the carpeting you buy or be purchased separately, is available in 4.5’ or 6’ wide rolls. Unroll it into place so that the seams are parallel to the longest wall, and roll them one next to another, seams touching. Tape the strips together with masking tape, and staple it down every 10 or so inches. Make sure you keep it smooth and even, and don’t overlap different strips. When you reach the tack strip along the far wall, staple the pad down and cut off any excess pad with a carpet knife.
Center the Rough-Cut of the CarpetPlace the large approximately-cut carpet in the center of your room on top of the padding, with its backing against the floor. It should be 6 inches longer than your floor area, so you have some extra – leave this for now. Make relief cuts into the corners from the top down using a carpet knife to allow your carpet to lie flat.
Anchor the Carpet to the Long WallTo lock the carpet into place against the longest wall in the room, first set the knee kicker up about 3 inches from the wall, pressed into the carpet. Use a strong swing with your knee to the tool while stabilizing yourself with your arms and other leg to knock the carpet into place. Push the padded end of the carpet down into the points of the tack strip with a carpet tucker. Use a hook and anchor motion to get the carpet in between the tack strip and the wall at a length of 3 feet ending at a corner
Anchor the Short WallNow you should repeat the action for the short wall that’s attached to the same corner as the long wall you just anchored. Do this for 3 feet of this wall starting from the corner.
Power-Stretch the First CornerWith the first corner locked on both sides, you can begin stretching the carpet toward the opposite wall to help lock it in flat. Place a 48-inch long 2x4 against the short wall of the starting corner, padded with a piece of scrap carpet. This protects the wall. Then, put the foot of the power-stretcher against this 2x4, and run it at about a 15-degree angle toward the opposite corner of the room. The head of the device should be about 6 inches from the long wall on the same corner. Push the handle down to stretch the carpet about 1 to 1.5 percent. Then, move the power-stretcher to the side slightly, and repeat the action along all 3 feet of the anchored part of this wall. With the carpet stretched, you will be able to hook and anchor it to the next corner down the wall, just like you did the first one.
Anchor the Rest of the First Long WallNow you can use the knee kicker and the carpet tucker to hook and anchor the carpet to the entire length of the long wall between the two anchored corners.
Power-Stretch the Second CornerUse the power stretcher in the same manner as before, angled 15 degrees to the corner. Hook and anchor the next corner on the opposite wall.
Anchor the Short WallAnchor the length of the short wall between corners 2 and 3. Use the knee kicker and the carpet tucker to hook and anchor again.
Power-Stretch the Opposite Long WallUse the power-stretcher from the long wall of the first corner you did to the opposite long wall at a 15-degree angle from the wall. Hook and anchor the carpet to the tack strips along this wall, moving the power-stretcher section by section to ensure it remains taut.
Power Stretch the Last Corner, then the Remaining WallJust the same as before, being extra careful to keep everything taut.
Trim the Carpet at the WallUse a wall trimmer set to the carpet’s thickness and glide it along the edges to slice excess carpet off. Use a plastic broad knife to tuck the cut edges in between the tack strips and the wall. Install transition moldings and thresholds where the carpet meets non-carpet flooring. The most common type is a binder bar – seal the carpet into it with latex seam sealer, then nail the binder bar down
Apply the Finishing TouchesEither reattach or add new matching round moulding to secure everything in place.
Estimated Time8-10 hours
- Tape measure
- Hammer Stapler
- Carpet Blades & Knives
- Knee Kickers
- Carpet Stretcher
- Carpet Tuckers
- Safety Glasses
- Masking Tape
- Tack Strips
- Carpet Pad
Common projects and their price
At Pro.com, we’ve helped thousands of people complete their flooring installation projects. So we’ve got a pretty good idea how much certain things should cost. Check out the most common projects we’ve seen people do, and the average cost to complete them nationwide.
Installing Accent Carpet
$63 - $81
Installing Wall-to-Wall Carpet Over Laminate
$124 - $198
Replacing Wall-to-Wall Carpet
$2,125 - $2,275