Installing Carpeting: How To Install Carpet

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Carpet is the flooring that invites you to walk barefoot and stretch out on the floor. Carpet tiles are an excellent choice for do-it-yourselfers. Installing large pieces of carpet, on the other hand, requires some special tools, skills, and heavy lifting, so it's often left to the professionals. Some rental shops do offer the tools however, and with a little patience, it is possible to install it yourself.

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Choosing your carpet
If this is your first installation, choose a plain carpet as opposed to a patterned one as it will be easier to install. Avoid installing berber until you are seasoned at carpet installation as it requires extra skill to install.

Carpet is available in three basic types:

Residential carpet is 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick, is often made of nylon, and comes in a variety of styles, from friezes to berbers. It's most often installed over a cushion and fastened down with tack strips.

Commerical carpeting features a dense, short nap designed to withstand heavy use. There is little or no cushion, making it less comfortable underfoot. It it an excellent choice for some home applications, such as over concrete or in a home office or hobby space. For added durability commercial carpet requires a glued rather than stretched installation.

Outdoor carpeting is designed to withstand water and sunlight. Most outdoor carpets are made from olefin, a waterproof synthetic fiber. Outdoor carpeting has a special backing made of mildew-resistant fabric and requires a glue-down installation.

Carpet grain
Like many other flooring materials, carpet has a grain that makes the fibers lean in one direction: If you run your hand over the carpet in one direction, the fibers lie down. If you run your hand in the other direction, the carpet fibers stand up.

If you cut a piece of carpet in half and turn one of the pieces 180 degrees, the grain creates the impression that the carpet is not a perfect match. When installing carpet tiles or seaming together carpet pieces, make sure the grain runs in the same direction to avoid noticeable seams.

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