Installing Seamless Stretched Carpet

This story shows how to stretch carpet in a room where a seam is not necessary.

Intro

Carpet comes in rolls that are 12, 13-1/2, and 15 feet wide. If possible choose a width that will enable you to carpet the entire area without a seam. Carpet is sold by either the square foot (a square area in which each side is 1 foot long) or the square yard (a square area in which each side is 3 feet long). To compare prices multiply the price per square foot by 9 to determine the price per square yard, or divide the price per square yard by 9 to determine the price per square foot. To determine how much carpet you need, sketch the shape of the room, including entryways, on paper. Measure the length and the width of the room in feet and inches, then round up to the nearest foot. Round up the width to one that the carpet comes in -- 12, 13-1/2, or 15 feet. If you are carpeting a room that is 14 feet 1 inch by 17 feet 6 inches, you'll need a piece of carpet that is 15 feet wide and at least 18 feet long.

Checklist

Time
15 minutes per square yard, not including subfloor preparation

Tools
Tape measure, carpet knife, straightedge, knee kicker, power stretcher, wall trimmer, hammer, chalk line

Skills
Measuring, lifting, laying, cutting, and stretching carpet

Prep
Repair and level subfloor.

Materials
Carpet, pad, tack strips, binder bar, transition moldings

Step 1

Prepare the subfloor. Sweep and vacuum the floor and, if necessary, scrape up any paint, joint compound, or putty so that the surface is smooth. Make sure the subfloor is dry before installing any padding or carpeting.

Step 2

If there are doors that open into the room you are carpeting, take them off the hinges so they won't get in your way. Removing the doors will also make it easier for you to cut the doorjambs if necessary. If laying doors on top of each other, place a towel between them so they won't get scratched.

Step 3

Install tack strip around the perimeter of the room, making sure to maintain a 3/8-inch distance between the tackless strip and baseboard. Cut the strips to fit with a strip cutter or heavy snips. Align the strips so that the manufacturer-printed arrows point toward the wall. Nail tackless strips around air vents and other floor openings, with the exception of thresholds and doorways as the tacks on the strips are sharp and may poke through the carpet.

Step 4

Starting at a corner lay out the carpet pad perpendicular to the direction you plan to install the carpet and staple it near the tack strips with a staple hammer. Staple the seams of the pad, alternating staple locations.

Step 5

Using a utility knife, trim the carpet pad so that it lays as close to the rows of tack strip as possible but without covering the strip.

Typical Installation

A typical carpet installation is diagramed here. The short arrows indicate where you push the carpet with the knee kicker. The long arrows show the angle and starting point of the power stretcher.

Step 6

Measure the longest portion of the room. Add 6 inches to this measurement to allow for error and any areas where the walls may not be plumb. Roll out the carpet, backside up, and snap chalk lines across the back of the carpet to this measurement. Put a piece of scrap wood under the marked carpet and, using a straightedge and carpet knife, cut the carpet along the chalk lines.

Step 7

Roll out and center the rough-cut carpet in the room. Make relief cuts at the corners so that the carpet lies flat. Butt one end of the carpet against the long wall.

Step 8

Near a corner of a long wall, put the toothed end of a knee kicker in the carpet about 3 inches from the wall. Strike the padded end to stretch the carpet over the tack strips. Trim excess carpet with a wall trimmer, which rests against the wall and provides a straight cut at the correct spot.

Step 9

Use a stair tool to tuck the carpet between the tackless strip and the wall. Repeat this procedure to tuck the carpet along 3 feet of the wall. Repeat the anchoring procedure on the short wall of the same corner: Push the carpet over the tackless strips with the knee kicker, trim, and tuck the carpet. Once you have the carpet attached to the short wall, use the power stretcher to stretch the carpet between the two remaining walls.

Step 10

To use the power stretcher, lay a 4-foot-long 2x4 against the short wall of the starting corner. The 2x4 protects the wall from damage. For more protection, pad the 2x4 with a piece of scrap carpet. Run the stretcher at about a 15-degree angle toward the opposite corner. Set the head of the stretcher 6 inches from the wall. Push on the handle to stretch the carpet about 1 percent. This translates to around 1-1/4 inches over a 10-foot span.

Step 11

Hook the stretched carpet along about 3 feet of both of the corner walls. With the knee kicker push the carpet the full length of the long wall.

Step 12

Power-stretch the second corner. Run the stretcher at about a 15-degree angle to the corner as shown. Stretch the carpet along about 3 feet of both walls that form the corner.

Step 13

Anchor the other short wall. Use the knee kicker to push the carpet against the short wall and attach it to the tackless strips. Continue using the knee kicker to work your way along the short wall.

Step 14

Power-stretch the other long wall. Use the power stretcher to stretch the carpet from the long wall of the starting corner, running the stretcher at about a 15-degree angle. Hook and anchor the carpet over the tackless strips near the head of the stretcher. Moving the stretcher along the wall, stretch, hook, and anchor the carpet section by section.

Step 15

Attach the carpet along the last wall. Push it in place with the kicker; anchor and tuck it with the stair tool.

Step 16

Power-stretch the remaining corner. Stretch the carpet from the short wall of the starting corner, running the stretcher straight across the room. Attach the carpet to the tackless strips, then work your way across the wall with the knee kicker.

Step 17

Set a wall trimmer to the thickness of the carpet and guide it along the wall to trim the edges of the carpet. Use a plastic broad knife to tuck the edges into the space between the strips and the wall.


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