Preparing To Carpet A Room

by Darwin Hall

office room carpet

With the wide range of colors, fibers, and textures to choose from, carpet is one of the most comforting choices of flooring.

The softness and resilience of carpet invite you to sit down or stretch out on it, and the broad expanse of color provides an excellent background for any decor.

Three steps are involved in having a new carpet: selecting the carpet, preparing the floor, and installing the carpet.

Most homeowners leave the floor preparation and carpet installation to the professionals, but there is no reason why a reasonably handy person could not take care of the initial preparation for laying any type of carpet and the installation of cushion-backed carpeting.

Selecting a carpet.  The color, appearance, and texture of a carpet are probably your most immediate concerns, but other factors should be considered as well.  The highest quality carpet is not necessarily the best choice, since you may not want to live with the same carpet forever.

Preparing the floor.  Except for cushion-backed carpet or very thin goods, carpet conceals defects and irregularities beneath it quite well.  The thicker the carpet or pad, the more successful the effect will be.

Carpet installations usually require a little floor preparation:  The subfloor surface must be dry, free of debris, and as smooth as possible.

To replace an existing carpet, remove all metal edgings.  Then pry one corner of the carpet loose from the tackless strip and pull up the entire piece.  Reuse the pad and tackless strip if they are in good condition.

To lay carpet over a wood floor or resilient flooring, sweep it clean and nail down any loose boards or tiles.

carpet tilesPatch cracks or holes larger than 1/4-inch with a quick-drying filler or nail down a particle board underlayment.

When installing carpet on top of concrete, make sure the floor is dry and that there are no moisture problems.  Floors with radiant heat pipes deserve special consideration if you are installing conventional (not cushion-backed) carpet.

Because the tackless strip has to be nailed into the concrete, you risk puncturing the pipes.

To locate the pipes, moisten the concrete around the perimeter of the room whenever you intend to install pieces of the tackless strip.  Then turn up the heat.

Mark the areas that dry first; these are spots to avoid when nailing.

Cushion-backed carpeting.  This type of carpet must be glued to a very smooth surface.  If the subfloor or finished floor surface is rough, install ¼-inch to ½-inch underlayment grade plywood over it.  Fill joints and surface depressions with a filler compound.

To remove cushion-backed carpet, cut it into 12-inch-wide bands.  Work each band free with a wide putty knife or other scraping tool.

Scrape off any remaining chunks of foam-backed adhesive.  Then sand off the residue with a floor sander or install a plywood underlayment.

Watch the VideoTo lay conventional carpet over cushion-backed carpet, just remove a band around the edge of a room that is wide enough for the new tackless strips.  The remaining cushion-backed carpet now serves as a pad.

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