Step-by-Step Instructions for Laying Carpet

Fitting carpet is an important part of making your home a warm, comfortable place to be. It can be fashionable, elegant, or show off a personality that makes your house feel like a home. When a carpet is poorly fitted, however, you can always tell, and you will spend hours tucking in frayed edges and corners as they appear.

The truth is that, while your carpet may appear to have been thrown on the floor and glued down, it is far more complicated than that. There are three major aspects of carpet installation that you should understand before attempting to repair it or lay your own.


There are also a few pieces of equipment that we recommend for the process, which you can find here. Look here for a more comprehensive list of carpet-fitting tools and equipment.

Taking out your old carpet

There are a few things you should do before installing your new carpet to make the process go more smoothly. Your sub-floor (the foundation for your room's floor) If the sub-floor is not properly prepared, the way your carpet lies will be affected, potentially ruining the overall look.  

Make the subfloor ready.

Wear knee pads while doing this; if your floorboards are damaged, it may be cheaper and easier to remove them all and start over. Fit tongue-and-groove chipboard flooring panels (for more information, see here) will provide a solid foundation for the final flooring. Before laying your new carpet, make sure the boards have been conditioned by spraying them with water on the textured side and stacking them back to back in the room where they will be used. Allow them to dry for at least 48 hours; as they dry, they will retract. You must do this to reduce the possibility of them expanding after installation.

Make sure there are no nails sticking out, and use 19mm nails to avoid hitting any wires or pipes below. Begin in the center of one edge and work your way out. Lay the hardboard sheets texture-side up because any glue/adhesive will need something to stick to. Push the sheets together and nail the edges together first.  

Grippers | Carpet Installation

There are two stages to carpet installation before any actual carpet is installed in the room. The first is to install carpet grippers on your existing floor. Carpet grippers are long, thin pieces of wood fitted with small sharp pins, some pointing in one direction and others pointing in the opposite direction, that will eventually hold your carpet in place and prevent slipping or movement. When working with carpet grippers, always wear gloves because they come with the pins pre-installed, saving you time (and more than a few damaged fingers). Before attaching a single one, use a cable detector to detect hidden pipes and wires and mark their locations on the floor. If you find any or need to install a gripper in an awkward location (for example, under a radiator), you must use gripper adhesive (which is different from standard glues). The grippers can then be laid down and cut to size with a saw or tin snips if you have them, securing the lengths together. The angled edge should face the skirting board, with a gap of about 7mm between the skirting boards and the gripper to accommodate the carpet. Remove the pins from any gripper lengths that will be glued down and secure them to the floor. You can now hammer the last gripper into place, being careful not to damage the skirting boards.

carpet gripper

Underlayment | Carpet Installation

You are now ready to lay the carpet underlayment. Because a carpet's fit is only as good as its underlay, it's critical to invest in high-quality underlay and take your time getting it just right. We also recommend that you use lining paper before you apply your underlay. This not only prevents the underlay from sticking to the floor, but it also prevents dust and dirt from passing from the floor to the carpet. It also improves insulation and makes your carpet last longer without costing a fortune, so putting it down is a good idea. It is as simple to lay as rolling the lining paper onto the floor and securing it with a hammer tacker or heavy duty staple gun. If you want, you could also use spray adhesive around the edges. When you lay it out, make sure the edges overlap slightly to provide a secure base. Place the underlay loosely on the floor, rubber side down, until it completely covers the area you want to carpet. Once they're laid, go around and but the edges together to ensure they're all perfectly aligned and there are no gaps. Cut the edges level with the gripper rods with a Stanley knife. Use heavy duty cloth or carpet tape to close the gaps between each piece of underlay. Take extra care not to overlap any of the underlay, as this could cause lumps and bumps in your carpet. It must be smooth and level.

Carpet Installation

You are now prepared to install your carpet. Unroll your carpet and place it loosely on the floor. Stand in one corner with one foot beneath the carpet and move the other foot into place. If necessary, cut the carpet to size, but leave at least 50mm extra around the edges. Once it is in place, cut a vertical line directly above the corners and trim the overlapping triangles so that the carpet can be laid flat onto the gripper. Begin by installing your carpet along the longest wall and work your way back towards the door. To mark a fold line, use a carpet tucker to firmly crease the carpet against the skirting. Hold the carpet down with one hand and use a Stanley knife with a sharp blade to cut along the carpet edge with the other. You must cut slightly higher than the carpet's surface. Then, with your knee firmly against the padded end of the carpet, hook it onto the gripper on either side. Using the tucker, push any excess down. Repeat this along the wall, then the side walls, and finally the opposite wall. If you need to fit the carpet around a pipe, simply cut a straight line from the carpet's edge to the pipe's outer edge and press the carpet around it. When you get to the doorway, cut the carpet to match the edge of the next room's flooring. Install a suitable threshold bar and tuck the excess carpet beneath it.

Of course, carpet installation is not easy, and many things can go wrong. If you've never done it before, start with a small room to get the hang of it. If you are unsure, please hire a professional to come out and assist you. Contact us today for more information on carpet installation or to receive a free quote.

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