Laying a Carpet - How to Get a Fitted Carpet Laid Yourself

Summary: Laying carpet is a difficult job to do well. This project provides you information, help and advice on how to lay carpet, fit carpet with integral underlay and fit a carpet with a separate underlay. Find the right tools and techniques that you will need to lay carpet properly yourself.

Don't want to do this job yourself? Let us help you find a tradesman local to you

Laying carpet is something we would most certainly recommend is left to the professionals. Carpets are expensive and a mistake can cost a lot of money as well as leaving a room looking very untidy.

However we know that DIY'ers the world over will want to have a go so we have listed the basic points to remember and, hopefully, help you.

Carpet Fitting Tools You Will Need

You should hire or buy a carpet knee kicker (or carpet stretcher) from a tool hire shop. It will stretch the carpet into position and stop any "bubbles" spoiling the job.

You will also need to hire a carpet bolster which is a 3 inch bolster (the same as an electricians bolster) but with a very blunt, rounded edge. You should also wear some knee pads as you will be on your knees a lot!

You will also need a decent stanley or hobby knife and at least 5 brand new blades. We state at least 5 new blades as they blunt quite quickly and trying to cut carpet with a blunt blade will only make it frey and wreck it.

If you take a look at many other DIY Projects on this web site, e.g. plastering, you will see that we recommend practice before the final operation.

Your carpet supplier will give you a couple of off cuts and you can practice cutting a carpet into a corner or round a doorframe.

  • Carpet knee kicker
  • Carpet bolster
  • Knee pads
  • Stanley or hobby knife with 5 blades
  • Some scrap carpet to practice with
  • Enough old newspapers to cover the floor area
  • Double sided tape
Knee pads for saving wear and tear on trousers and knees

Knee pads for saving wear and tear on trousers and knees - Available from our online store

Carpet Underlay

Carpets are either supplied with a foam or rubber back which serves as the underlay or they need to be laid on a separate underlay.

There are quite a few different types of carpet underlay available today made froma range of different materialseach with positives and negatives. One of the most commonly used these days is PU Foam underlay and this has quite a few benefits such as excellent durability, acoustic and thermal properties and is also pretty eco friendly but it does tend to be quite expensive.

Different types of underlay available:

  • Rubber Crumb Underlay: Fantastic durability and suitable for non-domestic properties but lacking in thermal and acoustic insulation and rather expensive
  • PU Foam Underlay: Modern with excellent thermal and acoustic properties and very compfy underfoot but quite expensive
  • Felt Wool Underlay: This underlay type is the best in terms of being environmentally friendly as it is made from 100% recycled materials. This underlay type also has great durability and thermal and acoustic insulation making it one of the best choices
  • Felt and Rubber Combined Underlay: This type takes the best from 2 other types in that it features a recycled rubber base and recycled felt top. Again, has excellent thermal and acoustic properties and is also very durable
  • Rubber Underlay: Constructed from rubber and sponge and one of the most popular over the years, very durable and nice to walk on with good acoustic properties but lacking in thermal insulation and not very eco-friendly

How to Lay a Carpet

Roll out the Carpet

First roll out your carpet in the empty room and cut it so it has an extra 200mm (8 inches) all round the room. Make sure any pattern in the carpet is square to the walls and that you cut enough overlap through any doorways.

Now roll it up again and put to one side.

Lay Down Newspaper or Paper Sheets

The first rule when laying carpet is to use some double sided tape to hold down sheets of paper to the floor.

This can be newspaper or parcel paper, it does not matter. Should you ever have cause to remove the carpet you will find that the paper will stop the underlay or foam backing sticking to the floor.

Carpet gripper for the perimeter of the room

Carpet gripper for the perimeter of the room

Fix Carpet Gripper

Next, lay the gripper round the perimeter of the room. Wherever there will be a carpet edge, there should be gripper.

Gripper comes with nails pre-installed and is laid about 12mm or half an inch away from the room boundaries, i.e. skirtings etc. The masonry nails in the gripper will usually be tough enough to hammer into floor screed.

The sharp points on the gripper rods should always point towards the walls. These points grip the carpet as it is stretched over them and keeps it tightly in place.

Fix Jointing Strip in Doorways

Lay the gripper all round the room using a jointing strip (below) in the doorways. The jointing strip will have the same sharp points to grip the carpet.

Carpet threshold strip for joining carpets in doorways

Carpet threshold strip for joining carpets in doorways

Lay the Underlay

The underlay should now be laid inside the gripper. Use double sided tape on all joins underneath the underlay.

Roll out the Carpet

Roll out the carpet on the underlay making sure it is square to the walls if patterns are involved. Push the carpet into one corner so the overlap you have allowed folds down onto the carpet leaving a crease where the carpet meets the skirting board.

Using a stanley knife to cut carpet into edges of room

Using a stanley knife to cut carpet into edges of room - Available in our online store

Use the back edge of a Stanley knife blade to push this crease well into the joint where the carpet meets the floor.

Cut Carpet into Corner

You should be concentrating on a length of about 600mm from the corner of the room at the moment. Turn the blade round and cut the 600mm along the crease until you have reached the corner.

Then cut vertically upwards to leave the 600mm edge sitting on the gripper and push it down so it bites on the gripper nails (if you don't have a decent sharp knife and would like to find out which knives are the best, check out our utility knife tool review and also our review of the various types of blades available).

Repeat this process 600mm along the remaining edge of the same corner. You now have one corner tight up to the skirting and fixed by the gripper rods.

Fit Carpet up to Skirting

Using the knee kicker, with teeth set so they just bite into the carpet, work along one edge of the carpet, cutting into the skirting board as you go. Always use the back of the blade to push the carpet down into the gap between gripper and skirting before you cut.

When one edge is complete go back to the starting corner and work along the other wall. Then back again to the starting point and use the kicker to stretch diagonally across the room.

Knee kicker or carpet stretcher for getting the carpet tight

Knee kicker or carpet stretcher for getting the carpet tight - Available from our superstore

Tighten the Carpet

When all the carpet is cut into position, use the kicker once more to make sure the carpet is tight to all skirting boards or threshold strips.

Finish the Edges

Now use the carpet bolster to bang down the carpet between the back edge of the gripper rods and the skirting boards. This gives a lovely neat finish and a job you can be proud of.

All the tools mentioned in this project can be bought either from the tool box below, or by visiting our superstore.

Don't fancy doing this project yourself? We work with Checkatrade to ensure that we recommend only reliable and trustworthy tradesmen.

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