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How to Fit a Carpet

Trim the edges of the carpet

How to Fit a Carpet

April 26, 2017

Fitting your own carpet is not an easy task for the average homeowner, and if done incorrectly, you’ll be living with the consequences for years.

Here at New Generation Flooring, we’ve mastered the art an now specialise in fitting carpets perfectly, everytime. We’re one of the leading carpet fitters in Newcastle and we will fit your own carpet, even if you purchased it elsewhere. Simply give us a call on the number at the top and schedule a free home consultation.

Never the less, here you can learn how to fit your own carpet so buckle up and we’ll show you the steps involved. You’ll need some tools in order to do this so we recommend you find the best flooring nailer on the market for the best results. We also recommend purchasing a carpet fitting kit from somewhere such as B&Q first!

Side note: whilst your carpet is up, it’s an excellent opportunity to repaint your skirting boards and trims. It’s very rare you’ll have this opportunity again so either grab a brush and roller or buy yourself an electric paint sprayer (recommended) and spend half a day repainting those trims.

Step 1- Cleaning & Sweep

Before you lay your carpet you need to prepare the area, fit grippers and underlay. So first give the floor a thorough sweep or vacuum, check the floor surface for any protruding nails or screw heads, loose or creaking floorboards, holes or other surface defects. If you find any make them flush with the floor surface.

Carpet fitting involves a lot of kneeling so wear knee pads, if your floor is uneven or damaged you may need to level it. See our other blogs on how to level a wooden floor and how to level a concrete floor.

Measure the room for carpet fitting

Step 2 – Measuring

Measure the room to work out the rough size of the carpet you need, just like you would do when you are looking for a new rug for your home. Although a popular choice, 9×12 area rugs won’t always be the best fit for your room. Measure the room at its widest and longest points, don’t forget to allow for the carpet to go into the doorway at a minimum of 10cm length, to the width of the widest points.

You’ll need the excess for trimming and fitting, increase by a 20cm extra in each direction. If your carpet has a bold pattern your room may not be perfectly square and you may need to skew the carpet slightly before you trim it to get the pattern in alignment with the main wall or focal point.

Fitting carpet grippers

Step 3 – Fit The Carpet Grippers

Next, fit the carpet gripper around the rooms perimeter, make sure you wear heavy duty gloves. The gripper is slightly angled along one edge and the pins the grip the carpet are also angled in the same direction. The angle side must face the skirting board, it comes with pre-installed fixing nails, the briefer is dual purpose so their nails are suitable for fixing into a timber or a concrete floor. p

Position the gripper so that there’s a gap of seven to eight millimeters between the angled side of the grip and the skirting board, use a piece of eight millimeter timber to ensure your gap between the skirting and the gripper is correct. This is the gap in which the carpet will be tucked into after trimming to get a nice neat finish.

Carefully nail the gripper down batting up extra links where necessary, if you have a concrete floor and the nails won’t fasten then you can use gripper adhesive, cut the gripper where necessary using general-purpose snips. Make sure that the entire perimeter except the doorway has gripper, you may need to fit a carpet to carpet threshold trip or metal edging bar but it will depend on the type of floor that’s adjacent to the carpet being fitted.

Fit the carpet underlay

Step 4 – The Underlay

Underlay acts like a shock absorber enabling the carpet to stand up to wear and tear, if you want that extra feel of comfort, go for a luxury grade underlay. We’re going to be using this rubber type underlay this is a timber floor, so before we put the underlying place we’re going to put down this floor lining paper. It helps to protect the underlay and the carpet from dust that gets in through the subfloor, it also aids heat insulation too.

It’s just rolled out, stuck down with tape and cut to fit the area within the side of the gripper.

Next, stick the joints together, you could use tape or spray adhesive on the perimeter to fix the floor lining in place. We use tape but if you use the spray, make sure you work in a well-ventilated area.

Then roll out the first length of underlay so that it butts up against the inside edge of the carpet gripper, cutting it to size if needed and use a staple gun to fix the underlay to the floor, at around 30 to 40 centimeter centers.

Alternatively if you’ve not used a lining paper, you can use spray adhesive. Roll out the next link with one delay and but it up against the edge of the first length, join the two pieces together using 50 millimeter wide gaffer tape, or similar tape

For small gaps you can use any underlay offcuts, to reduce the wastage trim the ends to fit until all of the underlay is fitted. Clean up and remove any off cuts of underlay and any other debris before continuing.

Prepare the carpet for fitting

Step 5 -Preparing The Carpet

Now we’re going to show you how to fit and trim your carpet. Our carpet is woven backed but most of what we’re going to discuss is also relevant to fitting felt back carpet as well.

You’re going to need one of a carpet fitting kits consisting of a carpet stretcher, a carpet Tucker and a carpet trimming knife. If you already have some of these items, you can buy the other items individually.

Having already worked out the area you need to cover earlier, now you’re ready to cut the carpet to the approximate size including any allowances for final trimming. Before you make any cuts, check that the way you are cutting it will enable the carpet to be laid with a pile facing the same direction as the pile of any adjacent carpet in another room of the same type if they have to match otherwise the carpets may look completely different.

It’s always easier to carpet in an empty room so clear as much space as possible so you don’t have to move furniture around as you fit the carpet. If the carpet is patterned check that the pattern is aligned with a main wall or main focal point in the room , also check that the carpet is positioned so that there’s enough carpet to fit right into any alcove and into the doorway.

Step 6 – Fitting The Carpet

Once you’re happy with the alignment position of the carpet, go over the main area using both feet in a shuffling step action to work any ripples or bumps. For the edges and at each corner, push the carpet as far as you can into the corner and cut the excess carpet vertically from the corner so that it’s more flexible and easier to push into the corner.

Take care not to make the vertical cut too long & make the cut in stages if necessary, and ease the carpet into the corner.

Between the cuts, fold the carpet over and cut the excess down to 100 millimeters, ready for trimming. But make sure you don’t cut through to the carpet underneath.

You now stretch the carpet, hooking it into the gripper and trimming it, and remember to wear gloves. Start in the corner that is diagonally opposite the doorway, use the carpet stretcher to hook the carpet onto the gripper for approximately one meter in each direction. You’ll need to apply some pressure downward on the carpet stretcher and kick the padded end with your knee to force the carpet forward, tuck it in the edge with a carpet chisel on the longest side of the room.

Stretch the carpet into the opposite corner and use the stretcher to hook the carpet onto the gripper for approximately one meter or three feet, then staying on the longest side hook the carpet onto the gripper between the two corners. Now move to the shorter side of the room and stretch the carpet into the corner opposite the corner you started in and hook it onto the gripper, once the carpet is hooked work along the remainder of the shorter side and hook the carpet onto the gripper then stretch the carpet into the corner that is diagonally opposite the corner that you started in and hook it onto the gripper along one wall only for approximately one meter.

You can now hook the carpet to the gripper along the remaining longest side and then the remaining short side at this stage the carpet should be fully hooked on and free from ripples. If there are any ripples unhook the carpet and stretch it, then re-hook it back onto the gripper.

Trim the edges of the carpet

Step 7 – Trimming

To trim the carpet, fold it back on itself and crease it so that it’s tight against the skirting board and use a utility knife with a sharp blade to cut the carpet backing along the folded edge a distance of approximately eight millimeters from the face of the skirting. Again take care not to push so hard that you cut the carpet underneath the fold.

Once you’ve trimmed the carpet use a carpet tucker to push the cut edge into the gap between the skirting board and the gripper, repeat the process until all of the trimming and tucking except the doorway is complete.

In the doorway trim the carpet around the architrave and door frame so that the carpet is slightly overlapping the threshold bar, then cut the carpet so that it ends just before the middle of a threshold bar.

On the room side of the bar use a cutting board under the carpet so that you don’t damage the threshold bar as you cut. Make sure you get the right kind of threshold bar that works with the floor surface of the adjoining room, once it’s cut use the carpet tucker or a flat blade scraper and hammer to tuck the cut edge into the threshold bar, and that’s your carpet laid.

How to Fit a Carpet Video Step by Step Guide

Sometimes a video speaks a 1000 words, and in this case that is certainly true. So here’s the best one we could find on Youtube to help you out.