how to install carpet


carpet installtion

How To Install Carpet

Welcome to the How-To clinic for installing indoor/outdoor carpet. Indoor/outdoor carpets have been vastly improved over recent years and are extremely durable. For the in's and out's of installing your own, we'll lay down the rules for you. Please read on.

About Indoor-Outdoor Carpet

Olefin fiber is a very popular component of this type carpet. Olefin fibers are long wearing, resistant to moisture and mildew and are highly stain resistant. Used both indoors and out, they come in grasses, berbers and level loops. Low odor makes them attractive as well as the ultraviolet stabilizers which provide color fade resistance.

Olefin carpets come in 6- and 12-foot widths and can be loose laid or adhered to concrete, asphalt or wood decking with glue or double-faced tape. The main requirement is that the surface be clean, dry and smooth. This carpet requires no stretching.

For fully-exposed outdoor installations:

  • Must be made from UV stabilized polypropylene (olefin) fiber.
Note: Polypropylene (olefin) is "hydrophobic"-it will not absorb moisture and is inherently stain resistant-the color is part of the chemical make-up of the fiber, not dyed or applied.
  • Must have an all-weather "marine" backing for moisture resistance.
For protected outdoor installations (covered screen porches, etc.):
  • UV stabilized polypropylene (olefin) is recommended.
  • Can have marine or action (synthetic jute-like) backing.
For indoor installations:
  • Most fibers are suitable, but for basement installations where moisture resistance may be important, choose a polypropylene (olefin). In situations where moisture has been a problem, choose one with a marine backing and use a full-spread adhesive installation.
General Tips
  • Outdoor carpet is best installed in moderate temperatures, never when it's raining or extremely hot.
  • Before installing, check how stiff the carpet is. To relax the material, roll it out in warm sunlight prior to installation.

  • Sweep it often with a stiff broom to keep it clean. Remove any spots with a general cleaning detergent and rinse with water.
  • After installing your carpet, roll it both lengthwise and widthwise, using a light carpet roller. A push broom works well, too.
Before You Install
  1. Measure all room/area dimensions and transfer these measurements to graph paper. This helps visualize the width of the piece of carpet you'll need to go with (6 or 12 feet wide).

  2. After determining the width, measure the amount of lineal feet required.

  3. Add 6 inches each way to allow for uneven cuts or out of square walls.
    Example: For a 17x20 room, you'll need three pieces of 6-foot wide carpet each being 21 feet long, giving you a total of 21 lineal feet of 6-foot wide carpet.
    If the room were 11x15, you can easily go with a 12-foot carpet.

Preparing Yourself

You will need:

  • Sharp utility knife
  • Double-faced carpet tape
  • Straightedge
  • Tape measure
  • Chalk line
  • Scissors

First, consider the situation (area, traffic, moisture) to help determine the installation method. Here's how.

For fully exposed outdoor installations the recommended method is full-spread adhesive (glue-down). Using double-faced carpet tape may work, but may not hold up under all weather conditions.

For protected outdoor installations and indoor installations, you can install with adhesive or double-faced tape.

  1. Remove any doors that will swing over the carpet.

  2. Make sure the floor is clean and even.

  3. Place double-faced tape around the edge of the room and place 6-inch x 6-inch "X" every two feet over the room area. Leave the protective paper on the top side of the tape.

Laying the Carpet

  1. Place the carpet in the room and center it.
    Note: The excess you allowed should run up the walls equally.

  2. If there is a wall that has no projections or openings, put the carpet flush against that wall and trim the other sides.
    Note: If the area is larger than the carpet and a seam is necessary, see How to Make it Seam Right before the carpet is finally laid.

  3. Make sure the carpet is centered. Fold the carpet in half over itself being careful not to disturb its position.

  4. Remove the protective paper from the tape and fold the carpet back into place carefully. Repeat the other half.
    Note: If you're gluing down the carpet, apply the adhesive with a trowel on the exposed subfloor (follow package instructions. Unroll the material over the adhesive, then repeat for the other half.

  5. Smooth the carpet near the wall. When you begin trimming, make your cut parallel to the floor, cutting a "V" at the corners to fit.

  6. Remove the excess carpet and walk along the edges so the carpet will adhere to the tape.

  7. Seam the doorways to any adjacent rooms or use a metal binder strip or aluminum saddle.

  8. Check all the seams and ends for any loose face yarn ends. Clip with scissors to the height of the surrounding pile.

  9. Re-hang any doors.
    Note: You may find the doors would need trimming in order to swing freely over the newly laid carpet.

It Seamed Easy

When you cut carpet that requires a seam, mark directional arrows on the back so when you install the pieces side by side, the nap will be in the same direction. If the pieces are installed in reverse nap, they will appear to be two different colors even though they're from the same roll.

After cutting, roll the carpet the opposite way (nap faces in) to reduce waves before installing.

How to Make it Seam Right

  1. Overlap the two pieces at the seam by two or three inches.
    Note: Make sure the nap of the carpet runs in the same direction on both pieces being seamed together.

  2. Use a white chalk line to make a line on the back of the top piece, approximately 1/2 the width of the overlap or about 1 1/2 inches from the edge.

  3. With a straightedge, make a cut along the chalked line.
    Note: This cut will give you a straight edge on the top piece.

  4. To cut the bottom piece of carpet use the top cut piece as a guide, pressing it firmly against the bottom piece as you cut. Make a series of 2-inch cuts every two to three feet, through the bottom piece.
    Note: Use scissors to cut from the edge of the carpet to the center of each 2-inch cut. This will help you find the 2-inch cuts when ready to trim.

  5. With the straightedge and a sharp utility knife, make the cut using the 2-inch cuts as guides.

  6. Fold back one piece of the carpet at the seam and put double-faced tape on the floor along the edge of the remaining piece.
    Note: Don't pull off the protective paper from the tape yet.

  7. Pull back the other piece of carpet, and put another strip of tape along the seam edge.

  8. Remove the protective paper from both pieces of tape, lay one piece of carpet back down on the floor, and position the full piece.

  9. Apply a thin bead of seam adhesive along the side of the cushion of the carpet that is already taped to the floor.

  10. While the adhesive is still wet, butt the two edges of the carpet pieces together.
    Note: Take care to keep the carpet nap out of the seam.

  11. The two edges may form a slight buckle. If so, press down until it becomes nearly invisible.

  12. Clean any adhesive off of the carpet immediately.


When trimming against a wall, hold the knife parallel to the floor while trimming. This will give you a little extra carpet that will need to be tucked down after securing it. Trimming should be done around the entire perimeter of the room.


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