If you’ve ever installed carpet before, you’ll know it’s a big job, that many people would avoid doing themselves. While it can be a strain on your body, it’s also easy for people to notice any mistakes you make along the way.

However, if you follow some simple steps on how to lay carpet, and you use the specialised tools available, you’ll find that it could be a straightforward – and even enjoyable! – task. 

Step 1. Preparation

The first step to prepare for laying your carpet is to get rid of the existing flooring. Make this step easier for yourself by removing mouldings around the edge of the room, and then take the door off the entrance if possible. That way, you’ll have better access when taking carpet in and out of the room.

Vacuum the old carpet if it’s in bad condition, so you don’t inhale dust, and then grab a utility knife to slice it into small strips for easier disposal.

Step 2. Remove the Old Carpet

Pull up each section and roll it up. Take a look at the current underlay; is it worn out or could it be reused? In most cases, it’s best to purchase and install fresh underlay. Make sure any loose floorboards are tied down and the floor is clean and dry. Use 1 ½ inch screws in the underlying joists if you do need to fasten any floorboards down.

Step 3. Install New Tackless Strips

You only need to install new strips if you’re carpeting on top of vinyl or hardwood floor. It’s best to avoid spaces in front of doorways. Install the tackless strips around half an inch away from the wall, with the strips facing outwards. Ensure they’re packed tightly together in each corner.

Step 4. Lay the Underpad

The underpad should be laid down in strips big enough to reach the tackless strips you’ve already installed. Don’t overlap the strips but have them laying side by side. Staple down the underlay and trim away any excess material. You can use duct tape to seal the seams for extra security.

Step 5. Lay the Carpet

Understanding how to lay carpet properly isn’t as hard as people think. Ensure you start with carpet that exceeds the edge of the room by a small amount (around 10-15cm) – you can trim it later if it’s far too much material. Find your ideal section sizes by measuring the longest point of the room and adding 15cm to that value. Use chalk to mark both edges with your new measurement and join them with a marking.

Fold the carpet in half and cut through the backside with a utility knife. 

Step 6. Add More Carpet & Tackle Seams

For wide rooms, follow step 5 with another piece of carpet. When you lay this down next to your initial piece, ensure they run in the same direction, and still overlap the wall by 10-15cm. If possible, ensure the seams are positioned in a more inconspicuous part of the room.

Where each carpet piece meets, use a knife or seam cutter to cut through both pieces so that the edges match perfectly. Use seaming tape underneath the join, and a seaming iron to activate the adhesive. Be sure you don’t iron the carpet – just the tape! Press the edges of each carpet piece together and use a carpet roller to seal the seam.

Step 7. Attach the Carpet

A knee kicker can be utilised to attach the carpet along edges. To do this properly, the toothed or rough end of the kicker should be placed around 3 inches from the wall. You can drive it into the wall with your knee to stretch the carpet over the tackless strips. This will then allow the tacks to hold the carpet securely.

Then, take a carpet stretcher and repeat the process to stretch the carpet near the far wall. Do this for all four walls, and then take a wall trimmer to ensure ends are neat and there is no excess carpet along the walls.

Step 8: Last Touches

For maximum neatness, a stair tool can tuck the carpet down between the wall and tackless strips. Trim the carpet at the doorway so that doors can be easily opened and closed. Install the moulding on the baseboards and don’t forget a door edge strip.

Your carpet is installed! Stretch out your limbs and appreciate the fruits of your labour.