Carpet installation by professionals may cost you more than you thought. If you look at the itemization on the bill you’ll find something that may look like this: $2.40/sq. yd. For old carpet removal, $4.75/sq. yd. to install new carpet, $10.25 (each) to install carpet on stairs, $30 per hour to move furniture, $.20 per linear foot to replace tackless strip… and so on. You get the picture.
Tools & Equipment
So here’s a short primer on how to install carpet yourself. Although it’s not an easy job, it’s not brain surgery, either. You’ll need include a tape measure, utility knife, hammer, heavy-duty stapler, chalk line, duct tape, gloves, carpet seam tape, safety goggles, and kneepads. Rental equipment includes a knee kicker, a carpet stretcher, a seam cutter, seaming iron, seam roller, wall trimmer, and strip cutter.
First remove all baseboards and cut manageable strips of the old carpet (about 2′ wide) with the utility knife. Loosen it from the tackless strips and roll up. Remove the tackless strips and the old carpet underlay. Vacuum area thoroughly.
Install new tackless strips around the perimeter of the room with teeth facing the wall. Using a block of wood as a spacer, leave about a ½” space between the strip and the wall.
Laying Underlayment & Carpet
Beginning at a corner and hooking it over the tackless strips, lay new underlay strips right next to one another, but don’t overlap them. Staple along the inner side of the tackless strip and then trim excess. Duct tape the seams.
Roll out the carpet and fold one end over itself. Mark the measurement of the longest wall plus 6″ on both edges of the carpet. Using the chalk line, join the two marks. Place scrap piece lumber the carpet you’re about to cut (so you don’t accidentally cut through the carpet underneath!) and use a utility knife and straight edge to cut off the piece you’ve just marked.
Using Knee Kickers and Carpet Stretchers
Place the toothed end of the knee kicker into the carpet about 3″ from the wall and push your knee with as much force as possible into the padded end of the kicker. The idea is to stretch the carpet over the tackless strip where the teeth of the strip will grab it, holding it tightly in place.
Place one end of the carpet stretcher against the wall where you’ve attached the carpet with the other end of it about six inches from the opposite wall. Pushing the lever on it, stretch the carpet to fit snugly over the tackless strip on the opposite side of the room. Work your way around the perimeter of the room, trimming the excess carpet at the edges with a wall trimmer.
Working With Seams
Overlap the first piece of carpet by 4″ to 6″, and with the seam cutter, cut through both layers, making sure the edges match exactly. Pull back the seam and center (adhesive side up) a strip of seaming tape on the floor beneath. Run the seaming iron along the tape to activate the adhesive and then replace the two carpet seams down onto it. Go over the seam with a carpet seam roller.
Tuck down the carpet between the wall and the tackless strips using a stair tool and hammer. Trim carpet at doorways with centered edges and install door-edge strips. Replace baseboards, and…you’re finished!