Quite often we’ll recommend that novice DIY fans stay away from certain jobs and carpet laying is definitely one of them. If you want a carpet laid well, and to look good for a long time, there’s nothing to beat a professional carpet fitter.
But what we can do is take you through some of the techniques, hints and tips of carpet laying. That way you can at least do running repairs, or make a tidy join where a carpet meets another flooring, maybe a laminate floor you’ve just laid down.
Special Tools for Carpet Laying
It’s not just the training and experience that makes a professional carpet fitter the sensible option. Another reason why carpet laying is best left to the professionals is the cost of the tools that make the job so much easier and faster.
These tools, like a carpet bolster, carpet stretcher (also known as a knee-kicker) and staple hammer, aren’t hugely expensive. But it’s a bit pointless buying them for one job, unless you can find an outlet that will rent them to you.
Let’s talk about lifting and putting back carpet, a DIY job which could face you if you have to replace a floorboard, run a cable or paint the skirting board. Carpet is usually kept in place at the edges of the room by carpet grippers. These are slim pieces of metal or wood, about the width of a ruler, flat on the bottom with rows of small, sharp prongs pointing up and toward the skirting board on the top surface.
These are glued, nailed or screwed to the floor at the edge of the room. The carpet is first stretched over them with the knee-kicker. Then as the carpet returns to it’s previous shape the points, which are angled backwards, hook into it, holding it fast.
To carefully remove the carpet so that you can replace it when you are done, start at a door threshold, where you can probably get the edge. Lever the carpet toward the skirting board and up to lift it away from and over the sharp points of the gripper. Work your way along and when you have managed to get a foot or two free, grip the carpet with both hands and lift it over and up.
Laying Carpet Back Down
Once you’re done with the job in hand it’s time to put the carpet back. As you’ll be putting back carpet that’s probably been in place for a while, the stretching action won’t hold the carpet so well. So place the carpet back down, smooth it toward the wall as best you can, then push it down over the points of the gripper (carefully!). Then tamp it down with a large mallet, or perhaps use a plank of wood over the carpet and hammer that down. This should drive the points back into the carpet.
Then use the carpet bolster to force the edge of the carpet down behind the gripper and under the skirting board, if there is a gap (more common in older houses). Place the wide end of the bolster on the carpet behind the gripper and hammer the other end. Although this is done when laying carpet for the first time too, it’s also important if you are laying carpet back down.
Other Articles Have Gripping Gripper Info!
So that’s a very basic introduction to laying carpet. It should be enough to allow a DIY novice to lift and replace carpet for basic maintenance tasks. In another article in this section we talk more about the grippers and plates used at doorways, or when carpet meets another type of flooring such as laminate or vinyl.