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Replacing Damaged Carpets

December 5, 2013 | Blog

Installing wall to wall carpet isn’t rocket science, and by using some specialized tools (available at most tool rental outlets) and being prepared to take your time, you can do all the work yourself. Many homeowners would love to save the installation costs of a new carpet after a home’s previous carpet was destroyed by a disaster, so read our guide to find out how!

Removing Old Carpet

Your first step is to get rid of that old carpet. Start by removing the moldings around the floor and take the door off the entrance – allowing you to get the old carpet out and the new carpet in much easier. Give the old carpet a good vacuuming so you won’t have to breathe in dust, and then use a utility knife to cut the carpet into strips about 18 to 24 inches wide.

Start at one end and pull the carpet off the tackless strips and roll it up in sections. Some people feel that you can reuse the existing underlay, but in most cases, it will be worn out just like the carpet. In the end you’re probably better off just getting rid of it.

Remove the existing tackless strips and make sure the floor is clean and dry. This is a good time to check your subfloor and securely fasten any floorboards that may be loose, so they won’t squeak under the new carpet.

The final part of this step includes installing new tackless strips around the perimeter of the room, but never in front of doorways.. Leave a space of about a half inch between the strips and the wall, and be sure the pins or tacks face toward the wall. At corners, make sure the tackless strips are butted tightly against each other.

Lay the Underpad

Put the underpad down in strips that overlap the tackless strips. Butt the strips against each other – don’t overlap – then staple the underlay down along the inside edge of the tackless strip. Trim the excess underlay along the inside of the tackless strip and use duct tape to seal the seams.

Climatize the New Carpet

A wall to wall carpet will shrink and expand with changes in temperature and air pressure. If you bring a carpet in from outside and install it right away, the carpet will adjust to conditions in your home and will stretch or shrink away from tackless strips, or it will expand toward the walls and wrinkle and buckle in the middle. To prevent this from happening, allow the new carpet to rest, uninstalled, in the room for at least 24 hours. It will adjust to your conditions and remain true to the dimensions you cut it to.

Measure and Cut the Carpet

To install carpet properly, you need to start with a piece that overlaps the edge of the floor by 4 to 6 inches. The overlay can then be trimmed so that the carpet fits properly. To cut your first section, measure the room at its longest point and add 6 inches to that measurement. Mark the back of your carpet on both edges with that measurement and join the two marks with a chalk line. Fold the carpet over on itself, and using a straight edge and a sharp utility knife, cut through the backside of your carpet. Be sure to place a piece of scrap board underneath your cut line to protect the underlying carpet.

Set the Seams

If your room is wide enough that you’re going to need another piece of carpet, follow the same process with the second piece – measure, mark, and trim. Be sure the carpet pile is running the same way in both pieces, and that the carpet piece is large enough to overlap the wall by 4 to 6 inches, as well as overlapping the first piece of carpet by 4 to 6 inches. (Try to layout your carpet pieces so the seams won’t be in noticeable areas, but obviously sometimes that just isn’t possible.)

Where the carpet pieces will join, overlap the two pieces, and then using a utility knife or a rented seam cutter, cut through both pieces of carpet, ensuring edges will match. After cutting the carpet, center a piece of seaming tape on the floor underneath where they join, adhesive side up. Use the seaming iron to active the adhesive (remember that the iron goes on the tape, not on top of the carpet), and then butt the edges together and seal the seam with a rolling pin or a carpet roller.

Attach the Carpet

Use a knee kicker to attach the carpet along one edge. A knee kicker is a solid metal tool about 18 inches long with “teeth” that will grip the carpet on one end, and a heavily padded “butt” on the other. Place the toothed end of the kicker about 3 inches form the wall and drive your knee forcefully into the padded end of the tool. This will stretch the carpet over the tackless strip where the tacks will grab it and hold it firmly in place.

A carpet stretch will finish attaching the carpet. A carpet stretcher is similar to a knee kicker, but much longer. Put one end of the carpet stretcher against the wall, where the carpet is already attached and place the other end about 6 inches from the far wall. The carpet stretcher also has teeth to grip the carpet, and when you push on the activation lever, it will stretch the carpet over the tackless strip near the far wall.

Work your way around the room stretching the carpet over the tackless strips, and trim the carpet near the wall with a utility knife or a wall trimmer.

Finishing Up

Using a stair tool, tuck the carpet down into the gap between the tackless strips and the wall. At the doorway, trim the carpet so the edge is centered under the closed door and install a door edge strip. Finally, cut any vent openings and install the molding on the baseboards.

That’s it. Stretch out, check to see if your knees still work properly, and then take time to admire what you just accomplished with just a little hard work. Dry Patrol can help with this task, so call us today!


For more about how we can help you, read more at or call us at 740-417-9006.

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