Laying carpet is often one of those projects where paying a professional is worth the cost. But if you have a simple installation, or really want to save the money, here are some guidelines to follow for a professional looking job.
Installations will divide neatly into padded or non-padded. Indoor-outdoor carpet doesn’t require a pad, while pile carpet usually does.
You’ll need to start with a smooth, clean surface. Whether the underfloor is concrete or wood, sweep and/or vacuum thoroughly. Check that the area is clear of any nails, screws, etc. Check for any concrete bumps or defects in wood, such as broken boards, etc. Smooth or repair, as needed.
For indoor-outdoor installations, get a few weather reports and aim for a period of moderate temperature and low humidity, if possible. Obviously, you don’t want to lay carpet outdoors during periods of rain, but temperature and humidity are important, too. Carpet and adhesive materials shouldn’t be too cold nor too hot for best results. Excess moisture in the air will make adhesive less effective.
Some jobs will require glue, where carpet is subject to very forceful traffic, such as dogs or children sliding or running. Glue is also recommended for fully-exposed outdoor installations. For most cases, double-sided adhesive tape will work fine.
Measure the area and lay out a few test rows, before putting down glue or adhesive tape. Some indoor-outdoor carpet comes in rolls, but squares are generally easier to work with. Lay out some ’tiles’, starting from the center. Try to arrange the layout so that no less than a ‘half-tile’ is needed around the perimeter.
Lay double-faced tape around the edges of the room first, using long strips (6ft or more, if possible). Within the room area, place tape in the shape of a large ‘X’ (6in x 6in crossed strips will do), every foot over the entire surface. Leave the paper attached to the upper side of the tape.
Starting at the center, remove the tape from a few “X”‘s. Press carpet ’tiles’ firmly onto the tape, taking care not to twist.
If installing in rolls, roll the carpet across a small section then lift and remove the tape. Press firmly down.
At the wall, you’ll need to cut tiles or rolls to fit. Place a tile firmly along the edge of completed carpet, letting the excess fold up the wall. Take a thin piece of chalk and a straightedge and mark precisely where you need to cut.
Using a sharp utility knife cut along the outside of the chalk line. Always cut just slightly larger than the area to be covered, but not enough to cause the carpet to bow upwards. If you’re sliding the carpet underneath molding you’ll have a little leeway.
Remove the adhesive or glue the tile and slide firmly into place. Try to ensure that fibers run in the same direction, unless you’re aiming for a checkerboard pattern.