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How is Carpet Installed?

2021 Alan Fletcher - Carpet Expert & Consumer Advocate


Knowing a little bit about how carpet is installed can give you a whole lot of insight as to whether or not Your Carpet is being installed correctly. This basic knowledge also helps prepare you for the experience of having your new carpet installed. Installing carpet is very hard work, but the principle is very simple. 


Here is a basic description of "stretch-in" carpet installation.


First, tack-less strips are nailed down around the perimeter of the room. Tack strips are 4’ long wooden strips, and are nailed directly to the floor around the perimeter of the room. They have many very sharp nails that are aimed towards the wall and are designed to hold the carpet tight, after the carpet is stretched over them. 


Next, the pad is rolled out and stapled down to wooden floors or glued down to concrete floors. The pad is then trimmed up to the inside edge of the tack strips, making sure that the pad does not lie on top of the tack strip.


Next, the carpet is rolled out, in a predetermined direction, and if there are seams to be put together, preparation now begins. Because carpet usually comes only in 12 foot widths, it is sometimes necessary to seam together two pieces of carpet in order to make it wide enough for the room size. 


Before two edges of carpet are joined, both sides must be cut perfectly straight, as this will help to hide the finished seam from view. The two separate pieces of carpet are then joined together permanently using a seaming iron and hot melt seaming tape: an electric iron that simply heats a 4-inch wide hot-melt seaming tape that is placed underneath the edges of both carpet pieces to be joined.  


After the seam tape becomes hot, both edges of the carpet that are to be joined together are carefully placed into the hot glue, and then allowed to cool for a few minutes. 


Shown below an installer is seaming together two pieces of sculptured-style carpet. 


Notice how the hot seaming iron is carefully removed after the seam tape has been heated underneath the two sides of the carpet seam. Today they use a seaming iron that uses microwave technology. It heats up the hot-melt glue from above the carpet. After all the seams are joined and the hot-melt glue cools the carpet is ready to be stretched. 



After the seams cool... 

The carpet is then stretched with a power-stretcher from one wall to the opposite wall and attached to the tack strips allowing a few inches of extra carpet to go up each wall for trimming. After the carpet has been completely stretched and secured to the tack strips, the carpet is trimmed flush with the wall and the excess is removed. 


Then the trimmed edge is tucked in neatly where the wall meets the floor. The carpet around the door jambs is then trimmed by hand and neatly tucked. A good installer will always remove all carpet scraps and replace all doors and sliding closet doors and hardware, and if you are really lucky he may even vacuum!


Although this is a very basic description of how carpet is installed, it should help you to know a bit about carpet installation before your installer comes to install your new carpet. 


Note:  It is very important to have children and pets safely out of the way when your carpet is being installed, as most tools used to install carpets are sharp and hazardous.



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