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Here's How: Install Your Own Wall-To-Wall Carpeting

James Dulley on

Dear James: I am planning to sell my house, and I want to install some wall-to-wall carpeting inexpensively. I got a good deal on some carpet, but installation is costly. How can I install it myself? -- Ron S.

Dear Ron: When you get a quotation for new carpeting from a carpet store, it almost always is an installed price with new padding. The only variation in the cost is if you want to upgrade to a better-quality padding. If you ask about the cost without installation included, you might be surprised at how much it saves.

Installing carpeting yourself is not a difficult project in typical rooms. The most difficult installation job is stairs with spindles. Even some experienced carpet installers have a problem doing this properly. If possible, avoid replacing the carpeting on the stairs.

You will need a few specialty tools from a local tool rental shop to stretch the carpet tightly. If it is not tight and even enough, whenever the weather gets slightly humid, the carpet will buckle. This may cause someone to stumble over it.

Even though you found a good deal on the carpeting, proper planning can reduce the amount of scrap and the overall amount you have to purchase. Almost all residential carpeting is available in rolls ranging from 12 to 15 feet wide. The rolls are long, so the length is seldom an issue.

Proper planning starts with making a scale drawing of the rooms you plan to carpet. The drawing should include the locations of furniture and doors. This is most important in larger rooms where you will have to seam two pieces of carpeting together. Attempt to locate the seams in areas with the least foot traffic, because a seam is always the weakest spot. If a seam opens up after the carpet is installed, it is not easy to repair it.

Pull up the old carpeting and padding. Inspect the condition of the subflooring. Walk back and forth over the floor to find any squeaks or bouncy spots. With the carpeting removed, it is a simple task to screw or nail any squeaky spots tightly down to the floor joists below the subflooring.

There will be existing tack strips around the edge of the floor. Each section is about 4 feet long with gripper points sticking out upward. They are inexpensive, so remove them and install new ones. This will make the project easier in the long run.


Prepare the padding for the room. Cut it to size so it covers the floor completely, all the way up to the edge of the tack strip. If more than one piece of padding is needed, tape the floor-side of the pad seam with duct tape. Staple every foot around the outside edge of the padding.

Cut the pieces of carpeting about 3 inches larger than the room size. Pile carpeting should be cut from the back, and loop carpeting from the front. Use hot-melt seaming tape and a seaming iron to connect two pieces together.

Center the carpeting in the room. Use a knee kicker to attach the carpet to tack strips in one corner. Once one wall is done, use a power stretcher to pull the carpeting to the other wall. After it is stretched and attached to all the tack strips, trim off the excess.


Send your questions to Here's How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit To find out more about James Dulley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

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