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By Alan Fletcher - 30-year Carpet Expert & Trusted Consumer Advocate
Knowing just a little bit about how new Carpet is installed can give you a ton of insight as to whether or not your new Carpet is being installed correctly and help you avoid costly carpet installation pitfalls, preparation mistakes and serious mishaps.
Having basic carpet installation foresight also helps prepare you for the initial experience of having new carpet installed. Getting ready for having you new carpet installed takes time and effort. You need to be prepared long before the carpet installers show up with your new carpet and padding.
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Installing carpet is very hard work but the principle is very simple. Some carpets are glued down with or without padding and some carpets are "stretched-in" over padding using one or more mechanical tools for leverage. It is this stretching-in of the carpet that is most common and most important for most residential applications.
Here is a basic description and explanation of a "stretched-in" carpet installation over padding.
First, tack-less strips are nailed down around the perimeter of the room. Tack strips are about one inch wide and 4-feet long wooden strips, that are nailed directly to the floor all the way around the perimeter of the room.
These have many very sharp nails that are aimed towards the wall and are designed to hold the carpet tight, after being stretched over them.
Second, the pad is rolled out and stapled down to wooden floors or glued down to concrete floors.
The pad is then trimmed up to the inside edge of the tack strips, and secured to the floor with staples, tape or glue making sure that the pad does not lie on top of the tack strip.
Next, the carpet is rolled out, in a predetermined direction, and if there are seams to be put together, preparation now begins. Because carpet usually comes only in 12 foot widths, it is sometimes necessary to seam together two pieces of carpet in order to make it wide enough for the room size.
Before two edges of carpet are joined, both sides must be cut perfectly straight, as this will help to hide the finished seam from view. The two separate pieces of carpet are then joined together permanently using a seaming iron: an electric iron that simply heats a hot-melt adhesive tape that is placed underneath the edges of both carpet pieces to be joined.
After the seam tape becomes hot, both edges of the carpet that are to be joined together are carefully placed into the hot glue, and then allowed to cool.
Learn about: How To Find a Qualified Carpet Installer
Here an installer is seaming together two pieces of sculptured style carpet.
The carpet is then stretched with a power-stretcher strategically from one wall to the opposite wall and attached to the tack strips allowing a few inches of extra carpet to go up each wall for trimming. Here is the main operating head of a common Carpet Power-Stretcher.
After the carpet has been completely secured to the tack strips, the carpet is trimmed flush with the wall and the excess is removed. Then the trimmed edge is tucked in where the wall meets the floor. The carpet around the door jambs is then trimmed by hand and neatly tucked.
A good installer will always remove all carpet scraps and replace all doors and sliding closet doors and hardware, and if you are really lucky he may even vacuum!
Right before and right after your new carpet is installed, you should use my free Carpet Installation Checklist to make sure everything will go smoothly and your new carpet installation goes off without a hitch.
Although this is a very basic description of how new carpet is installed, it should help you to know a bit about carpet installation before your installer comes to install your new carpet.
Note: It is very important to have children and pets safely out of the way when your carpet is being installed, as most tools used to install carpets and can be hazardous around kids and pets.
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If you have wrinkles or waves in your carpet, find out who or what may be responsible and what you can do to fix the problem.