Whether you choose your carpet retailer’s staff or contract installers, or you go with an independent carpet installer, the retailer should send a professional estimator to your home to measure the floors.
The estimator will determine how much carpet you will need and the layout of the carpet in the room – where to place seams, how to match patterns and how to lay the carpet to minimize waste. The installer will then follow these plans on installation day. The estimator may also assess the existing floor to determine whether a new sub floor is required.
Be prepared on installation day
Although individual cases may vary, the following are standard practices. Use them as a guideline so you will be prepared when the installer arrives to do the installation. Most installers will remove furniture from the room. However, you should remove all breakable items, detach wiring from TVs, VCRs, stereos, and computers, and clear desktops, dressers, tabletops, and bookshelves before the installer arrives. And don’t forget to clear all items from closet floors.
There may be an extra charge to remove large, cumbersome items – such as pool tables, pianos, aquariums and oversized furniture – that cannot be moved easily by two men.
Professional carpet installers do not typically disconnect or reconnect gas, water, or direct-wired appliances, although they will remove the appliances from the room to install the carpet. Make the appropriate arrangements in advance if plumbing or electrical work is involved.
Some doors may not open and close properly due to the thickness of the new floor, and may be removed during installation. It is generally the homeowner’s responsibility to have the doors trimmed and re-hung.
During carpet installation, baseboards may get scratched and nicked, and moldings may get broken when removed or reattached. The homeowner is responsible for all touchups and for replacing broken moldings.
Removal of existing carpet is usually part of the installation service, but be sure to confirm this in your contract. Also, clarify whether disposal of the old carpet and under padding will incur an additional fee.
Vacuum the old carpet the night before or the morning of your installation, to minimize the airborne dust and particles during removal.
Look for the Seal of Approval
You may want to hire a carpet installer or shop at a carpet retailer who has a Seal of Approval from the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI). The CRI is a nationwide association that sets the industry standard for carpet and rug-related issues. For example, CRI-approved installers follow the industry standard, Standard for Installation of Residential Carpet and CRI 104, Standard for Installation of Commercial Carpet. These standards require the carpet to be power-stretched to minimize wrinkling and rippling, and seam edges to be sealed, among other things that ensure a quality installation.
Always check references
This is not to say that non-Seal of Approval contractors won’t do a terrific job. Of course, a proven track record speaks for itself. Always check at least three references for each contractor. And be sure to check some references from at least 6 months ago, because with carpeting it takes some time for problems to develop. When hiring a carpet contractor, ask them to provide you with a copy of their insurance policy. You want to be certain that they’re covered in case of damage to your home or your new carpet.