In our article on Laying Carpet we talked about the basics of lifting and relaying carpet if you had a need to do some sort of DIY repair job. We steered clear of trying to teach readers of DIY Basics the whole A-Z of laying carpet as it’s really a job for a professional carpet fitter.
Carpet Grippers and Fitting Plates
But in our discussions about DIY jobs that involved lifting carpet we talked about carpet grippers. Now these and their similar cousins, fitting plates, are used to hold carpet in place, and there are literally thousands of different ones on the market.
If you need to lift carpet and relay it, perhaps because you need to repair the floor underneath it, or perhaps you are laying sheet vinyl or laminate flooring which will butt up against carpet, you may need to understand what carpet grippers and fitting plates do and how to select and use them. That’s good then, because that’s what this article will tell you.
Differences Between Carpet Grippers and Fitting Plates Although there’s a fair bit of cross-over with these two terms and products, carpet grippers are usually used around the edge of a room to hold a fitted carpet down. Fitting plates are those metal strips you see at doorways which hold the carpet down but also act as a cover so you step on them rather than the edge of the carpet. Fitting plates have a number of different names too, like threshold strips.
If you have a problems with a fitting plate or threshold strip that’s come loose from the floor, fixing it back down again will depend on the type of floor you have. If it’s floorboards you can use nails, but make sure you use a small-headed hammer or you will damage the teeth. If you don’t have something like that, use a suitably-sized metal rod, perhaps a big old nail, and hammer that.
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t screw into floorboards either but make sure the screw heads will sit flush when screwed down or they will make life difficult when you try and secure the carpet. With concrete floors you can either drill a hole, put a wallplug in and screw down, or use glue. To be honest even the professionals will use glue these days as they are so string now.
How Carpet Grippers Work
Carpet grippers hold the carpet with rows of metal teeth that face up and lean slightly in one direction. For them to work properly, if you’re replacing one, the points need to lean back towards the wall. Then the carpet is stretched over them and placed down. As the carpet pulls back into shape the angle of the teeth causes them to dig up into the carpet backing and hold it in place.
If you are doing this on carpet that’s been down for a while there’s not likely to be much give in it. So you may have to tamp it down gently with a large mallet, or perhaps a short off-cut of softwood and a hammer. Don’t hit it too hard as you don’t want the points to break through to the surface of the carpet.
Selecting the Correct Fitting Plate
The fitting plate or threshold strip to use at a doorway where there’s carpet on both sides will have two rows of teeth, one for each side, and a metal (sometimes plastic) cover where people tread. Where it gets tricky is if you have a solid floor one side and carpet the other.
But all you need to do is buy the right fitting plate, one with one smooth side. There is a huge number of different threshold strips to cater for all eventualities, including height difference. This is often the case if you lay laminate flooring. That side will then be up to half an inch above the original height if it replaced carpet or vinyl.
Take a look around your local DIY store and you will find all those different fitting plates and carpet grippers. The selection can be bewildering but eventually you should find the right one for the job you are doing.