Preparing a Room for Carpet

At some time or other you will have to prepare a bedroom or living room for the laying of carpet. You may be laying this carpet yourself or be employing the services of a professional carpet fitter but either way there will be some tasks that need to be performed before any attempt to lay your chosen carpet.

Clearing the Room

Many people try to lay a carpet by removing only the smallest and lightest of items from their room and then move the larger items – sofa, chairs, bookcases etc – from one side of the room to the other whilst the carpet is going down.

This may seem like a labour saving idea but in fact it is very much the opposite. In terms of laying a carpet the best plan of action is to have a bare floor upon which to roll the carpet out from the centre. This enables either you or a professional carpet fitter to see how much carpet the actually is and also work out to some degree where the carpet needs to be cut.

This is obviously very difficult to do and open to mistakes when simply moving furniture from one place to another.

So initially your best course of action is to empty the room of its contents, lift the existing carpet that is to be replaced and then to set about preparing the floor beneath.

You can do this by first brushing the floorboards and gathering up any debris that may have been left from the previous carpet. Underlay and foam-backed carpet tend to leave chunks of backing behind so it is important to remove these so the floor is flat and bump-free.

Painting Frames and Skirting

Normally when laying new carpet it is fairly safe to assume that the rest of the room is being decorated – either painted or papered. If this is the case then the carpet should be the last thing you do before moving your furniture back into the room.

Wash or sand down any door frames and skirting boards and then paint, leaving them to dry for up to 12 hours. More modern gloss paints can dry in less than 2 hours but to ensure that the paint is not ‘tacky’ it is best to give it at least three hours.

Putting down Underlay

If you are laying the carpet yourself it is best to use an underlay – this allows the carpet to settle and also allows it to be free of bumps that may be in the floor below especially if the floor below is concrete. Some old houses have bumpy concrete floors and underlay is a cheaper alternative to relaying a concrete floor.

When laying underlay it is a wise idea to put down more than you need so that it rises up along the edges of the room. When you have the underlay down correctly you can then go around the edges of the room – just below the skirting – and cut away the remainder with a carpet knife. This provides a neat finish with no visible signs of underlay.

Laying Your Carpet

If you are confident enough that you can lay your own carpet you can dispense with the services of a carpet fitter. However it is recommended that if you are a first time carpet fitter you at least get some help.

You will need to start in the middle of the room and unroll the carpet so that it flows out in all directions. This will give a good indication as to where you will need to cut.

When cutting the edges of your carpet – or cutting around chimney breasts and fireplaces – use a flat board as a guide and also ensure that your carpet knife is strong. When cutting cut towards you, this gives a neat cut and also stops the carpet’s edges from fraying.

However it must be said that if you are not confident enough to attempt this yourself then the extra money paid to a carpet fitter is a shrewd investment.