Carpet Installation


Cut the tackless strips to fit the perimeter of the room. At doorways, wrap the strips around the door frame but do not extend them across the opening.

Position and nail the strips with the points facing the wall. Keep a space equal to about two-thirds the thickness of the carpet between the walls and the strips, using a piece of carpet as a guide. Lay the carpet pad


Unroll the padding so the seams, if any, will be at right angles to those in the carpet.

Tape neighbouring pieces together with 2- to 3-inch masking tape or as directed by the manufacturer.

Staple the pad against the edge of the tack strip. Run a carpet knife against the strip to trim the pad.

3. Measure room and cut carpet

Measure the room.

Snap chalk lines across the back of the carpet to outline a piece that is 6 inches longer and wider than the room.

Place a piece of scrap wood under the carpet with the layout lines facing up and use a straightedge to guide a carpet knife along each line. Change blades frequently.

4. Centre the rough-cut

Centre the carpet in the room with the backing against the floor. Make relief cuts at the corners so the carpet lies flat. Cut from the top using a carpet knife.

5. Anchor the long wall

At the long wall near a corner of the room, put the toothed end of a knee kicker in the carpet about 1 to 3 inches from the wall.

Push the padded end and then push down with a carpet tucker to anchor the carpet on the tack strips.

Tuck the carpet between the tack strip and wall using the carpet tucker.

Push, hook, anchor and tuck carpet along about 3 feet of the wall.

6. Anchor a short wall

Repeat on the short wall of the same corner. Push the carpet over the tack strips with the knee kicker and anchor and tuck the carpet with the carpet tucker.

Anchor and tuck the carpet along about 3 feet of the wall.

7. Power-stretch the first corner

Put the foot of the power stretcher against a 2 × 4 or 2 × 6 laid against the short wall of the starting corner. The 2 × 4 protects the wall from damage and should be about 48 inches long and padded with a piece of scrap carpet.

Run the stretcher at about a 15-degree angle toward the opposite corner and set the head of the stretcher about 6 inches from the wall.

Push on the handle to stretch the carpet. Aim for about 1 to 1-1/2 percent, or approximately 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 inches over a 10-foot span each time you power-stretch.

Hook, anchor and tuck the carpet along about 3 feet of both of the corner’s walls.

8. Anchor the long wall

With the knee kicker, push the carpet against the long wall between the two installed corners. Anchor and tuck with the carpet tucker.

9. Power-stretch the second corner

Put the foot of the stretcher against the 2 × 4 and the long wall of the starting corner. Run the stretcher at about a 15-degree angle to the corner.

Stretch, anchor and tuck the carpet along about 3 feet of both walls that form the corner.

10. Anchor the short wall

Use the knee kicker to push the carpet against the short wall, attaching it to the tack strips.

Anchor and tuck, then work your way along the short wall, pushing and attaching the carpet as you go.

11. Power-stretch the opposite long wall

Power-stretch from the long wall of the starting corner to the opposite long wall, running the stretcher at about a 15-degree angle.

Hook, anchor and tuck the carpet over the tack strips near the head of the stretcher.

Stretch, hook, anchor and tuck the carpet section by section, moving the stretcher along the wall.

12. Power-stretch the remaining corner

Power-stretch from the short wall of the starting corner, running the stretcher straight across the room.

Attach the carpet to the tack strips, tuck it between the strips and the wall, and then work your way across the wall with the knee kicker as shown in Step

13. Anchor the last wall

Attach the carpet along the last wall. Push it into place with the kicker; anchor and tuck it with the carpet tucker.

14. Trim carpet at the wall

Set a wall trimmer to the thickness of the carpet and guide it along the wall to trim the edges of the carpet.

Tuck the cut edges into the space between the strips and the wall using a plastic broad knife.

15. Install moulding

Install transition moulding wherever the carpet meets other flooring. A binder bar, shown here, is most commonly used.

Seal the edge of the carpet with latex seam sealer to prevent unraveling.

Nail the binder bar to the floor and push with the kicker to fit the carpet over the hooks in the binder bar.

When the carpet is in place, hit the bar with a rubber mallet or put a block of wood over the bar to protect it and hammer the flange closed.

16. Additional tool and installation tips

Carpet layers begin by anchoring carpet first in one corner and then in the other corner of a long wall. The rest of the corners are anchored as the job progresses, but the overall picture looks like this: The installer anchors carpet on a long wall, followed by the adjoining short wall. The remaining long wall is next, followed by the remaining short wall.

The exact order of work is shown here.

  • Short arrows indicate where you push the carpet with the knee kicker.
  • Long arrows show the angle and starting point of the power stretcher.
  • Attach the carpet near either the kicker or the stretcher, then reposition the tool and work your way along the wall.

How to clean carpet stains

The first thing to know about stains is that the longer they sit, the more difficult they are to remove. But what are the best methods for different types of stains? Memorise the following tips and you’ll be ready the next time accident strikes. And always test each method on a scrap of carpet or in a far corner of a closet to make sure it won’t harm the carpet:

Food and Drink Stains

Start by scooping up what you can into a paper towel using a blunt instrument like a spool. (If the spill includes an excess amount of liquid, a dry/wet vacuum should be employed.) Then use a clean, white absorbent cloth or paper towel to blot-never rub-with warm water. Press down firmly to remove as much moisture as possible. Repeat until no stain appears on the cloth.

If the stain is stubborn and won’t come out, make a solution of one quart of warm water and one teaspoon of mild non-bleach laundry detergent (the liquid kind). Don’t use dishwasher detergent. Apply this solution to the stain, let it sit for about five minutes and blot up excess moisture. Rinse with warm water and again remove the moisture by blotting. Repeat until there’s no more detergent in the carpet. This is important because any residual detergent may cause soiling.

Pet Stains

Always scoop and blot. Here again, most stains clean up with warm water. Next use the detergent solution as mentioned above. After all the detergent is removed, apply a solution of two tablespoons of white vinegar to one quart of water. This will neutralise the odour.

Blot up all excess moisture, as mold can easily grow under damp carpet. To be sure all the moisture is removed, place a clean, white absorbent towel on the spot and place some type of weight on the towel. Let it sit for about 30 minutes. Repeat the process with another, dry towel if necessary. When the carpet is completely dry, vacuum or brush the pile to remove any dents the weight has made in that spot.

Nail-Polish Spills

Scoop and blot, and then apply a non-oily polish remover. Blot with a clean, white absorbent cloth. Remember to test the nail-polish remover on a scrap of carpet first. Some carpets will lose colour. If this is the case, have a professional carpet cleaner take care of the problem.

Selecting the Right Carpet for Your Space

1. Shag

The term “shag” refers to carpet that has extra-deep pile, resulting in a shaggy appearance. Made popular in the 1970s, shag was originally available only in earth tones such as harvest gold, avocado green, burnt orange and brown. Reintroduced in the early 2000s with more up-to-date colours, shag has gone mainstream thanks to its plush softness and textural look. Although not a smart choice for areas geared toward eating such as dining rooms, shag is ideal for private spaces like bedrooms and playrooms. Shag’s thick texture hides flaws and is extra comfortable for lounging on, making it a great option for homes with kids and pets. In order to properly care for wall-to-wall shag, homeowners will need a heavy-duty vacuum because the thick fibers tend to shed a lot during the first month after installation and can quickly clog the filter on a standard vacuum

2. Solid Cut Pile

Hands down, the most popular choice for builders and contractors is wall-to-wall solid cut pile carpet. The term “cut pile” refers to the carpet’s flat look resulting from looped fibers being cut to the same height to create a flat surface underfoot. Cut pile is also prized for its soft appearance, making it attractive to families with young children. Since cut pile tends to be very dense, it provides a cushiony feel while the lack of open loops makes it a good choice for homes with pets because there’s nothing for paws and claws to get snagged on.

3. Cut and Loop

Almost as popular as solid cut pile, cut and loop carpet is a better fit for homeowners interested in subtle patterns. Cut and loop carpet achieves its sculptural look through varied levels of sheared top loops and uncut low loops. Often patterns appear to have been cut directly into it, and made with contrasting colours from the same palette. This slight variation in color helps camouflage everyday wear and tear. Cut and loop is drastically softer than solid cut pile, but less durable. Unlike solid cut pile, cut and loop carpet is not ideal for homeowners with pets since claws and paws tend to snag on the loops.

4. Modular Tiles

When it comes to durability, modular carpet tiles may actually be the best possible choice for active families. Available in hundreds of colors, textures, patterns and design styles, these tiles are easy for DIYers to install, eliminating hefty fees from carpet installation pros. Should a tile become soiled, just take it up, rinse it clean in the sink, then replace the tile once it’s dry. Should the tile become permanently damaged, another can be ordered and stuck in its place. Something to consider before choosing modular carpet tiles is their lack of padding, often resulting in a less cushy surface underfoot.

5. Textural Stripe

Wall-to-wall textural stripe carpet is a nice choice for introducing a subtle yet graphic pattern to a space. Depending on the carpet’s orientation, the textural contrast can be played up or played down. The key to playing up the contrast is to run the carpet parallel to a room’s entry.

6. Hemp and Sisal

These natural fibers are a great carpet alternative for giving a space a casual, coastal vibe. Loved by designers and homeowners alike for their organic look and massage-like feel underfoot, hemp and sisal stain easily and are not the best choice for homes with pets or small children. To use wall-to-wall hemp or sisal effectively, stick with hallways, landings or bedrooms.

7. Large-Scale Geometric

This striking flooring is best for homeowners with bold taste. Used by designers to add high-energy impact to spaces lacking architectural detail or a real focal point, the boldness of large-scale geometric patterns can be played up or played down depending on contrast. One of the biggest mistakes made when installing wall-to-wall large-scale geometric carpet is cutting off its pattern repeat by using it in too small of a space — this graphic carpet is best used in oversized rooms.

8. Small-Scale Geometric

More subdued than large-scale geometrics, these smaller patterns may simply read as a slight textural contrast from far off; however, close up, the pattern’s full effect is clearly visible. When used in large rooms, small-scale geometrics can look cluttered and busy, making this flooring a better choice for small areas such as landings, staircases, hallways and bedrooms.

9. Mohair

Mohair carpet is a popular option for homes that need an extra layer of warmth, particularly those in cold, harsh climates. Although ideal for making a space feel cozy and warm, mohair is known for its tendency to shed, which will require frequent vacuuming using a carpet brush or similar attachment. Before considering wall-to-wall mohair, test its itchiness by holding it up to arms, legs and necks to see if your skin has a negative reaction.

10. Tone-on-Tone Pattern

This carpet gets high points for longevity. While many patterns achieve their effect through contrast in colour, tone-on-tone patterns simply rely on the carpet’s weave and resulting difference in texture. To get the most bang for your buck, stick with neutrals which are likely to coordinate well with a variety of different palettes. A few colours to consider: dove grey, charcoal, blue-grey, mossy greens, greige, dark brown and taupe.

11. Woven Hide

Woven and/or stitched-hide carpet is one of the most expensive wall-to-wall styles. Sculptural and artistic in construction, hide is just as durable as it is beautiful. Although it stands up to high traffic and also ages well, hide is meant for dry spaces and works best when used in a masculine or rustic space.