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DO-IT-YOURSELF : Job of Installing Wall-to-Wall Carpeting Needn't Floor You

October 31, 1992| From Associated Press

Using proper equipment, a homeowner can do a professional job of installing wall-to-wall carpeting. Much of the equipment can be rented, and the money saved on labor can be substantial.

Measuring

Start with an accurate scale drawing to help determine how many yards of carpeting to buy and how best to lay it out.

Measure the room, including any alcoves or bays. Add three inches on all sides so the carpet can be trimmed to fit. If seaming is necessary, make sure that any major seam is perpendicular to the principal source of daylight and away from areas of heavy wear.

Also, make sure that the carpet pile will face in the same direction, preferably away from windows to avoid fadings. Allow extra yardage if you have to match a pattern.

Use your drawing to calculate padding (the square footage of the room plus a few extra feet) and tackless stripping (the perimeter of the room plus a few extra feet).

Tackless strips are flexible wood strips sold in four-foot lengths. They come with pins up to 1/4-inch in height projecting at a 60-degree angle. Lay a carpet sample on the strip; you should be able to feel the pins but not be pricked by them.

Tools

You will need a hammer, utility knife, large putty knife, metal straightedge, staple gun and chalk line, as well as some special tools that can be rented from a carpet dealer or a rental shop: a knee-kicker, power-stretcher, row-cutting (row-running) knife and a seaming (heat-bond) iron. You will also need hot-melt seaming tape and, if carpeting a concrete floor, rug adhesive.

Preparation

Prepare the floors carefully. Hammer nails flush and remove tacks in wood floors. Nail down loose boards. Plane down ridges of warped boards. Fill cracks between boards with strips of wood or with wood putty.

If floors are warped or cracked beyond repair, cover them with hardboard. Treat ridged or cracked stone or concrete floors with a floor-leveling compound to reduce carpet wear.

Remove all shoe molding around the edges of the floor. Nail the tackless strips to the floor, setting them end to end one-quarter-inch from the baseboard with the pins facing the wall.

Lay down the padding and staple it to the floor every 6 to 12 inches; adhere it to concrete. Use a utility knife to trim the padding along the edges so that the tackless strips are exposed.

Rough cut the carpet, allowing a few inches of excess along each edge. Trim cut-pile carpet with the backing side up. Mark measurements by snapping a chalk line and cut with a utility knife along a straightedge. Trim loop-pile carpet with the yarn side up, preferably with a row-cutting knife.

Laying carpeting

* Lay out the carpet, kicking it into place with your foot. Make cuts in the excess at inside and outside corners and around obstacles, to ensure that the carpet lies flat.

* To join a seam, overlap carpet edges one inch. Cut the bottom layer with a row-cutting knife so the edges butt closely together.

Lay hot-melt seaming tape under the carpet edges. Melt the adhesive by moving a 250-degree seaming iron slowly along the tape. Press the carpet edges into the tape and weight the carpet down.

* Use a knee-kicker to anchor the carpet at two adjacent walls. Press the knee-kicker into the carpet. Push your knee against the kicker pad and hook the carpeting over the pins. Then use a power-stretcher to work the carpet into the other two adjacent walls.

* Trim the excess carpet along edges with the utility knife, leaving a 3/4-inch overlap. Then tuck the overlap between the wall and the tackless strip with a putty knife.

* Finish a carpet edge in a doorway with a metal threshold bar, which folds to encase the carpet lip. Place a wood block over the bar and hammer down on the block to secure the bar. If the door no longer swings open freely, trim the door's bottom edge, leaving at least 1/4-inch clearance above the carpeting.

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