Laying carpet is something that many people would consider attempting themselves and whilst it is perfectly possible for the average person to make a good job, there are several things you should know if you want to make a good job a great one.
Make sure the floor is clean and dry. Rubber-backed carpets will need to be stuck down with 50 millimetre wide double-sided tape around the edge of the room. Woven-backed carpets can be held with special gripper strips nailed to the floor (or stuck to a concrete floor) around the edge of the room. Fix your gripper strips about 6mm away from the skirting board with the teeth angled towards the wall.
If you are using rubber or foam-backed carpet, you won’t need to use underlay. However, in this case, it is a good idea to lay brown paper to stop dust rising from the concrete or wooden floor. Underlay is usually marked so that you know which way up it needs to be laid. Cut the underlay so that it butts up against the gripper strips all the way around the room. You can you use carpet tape to seal the joins in the underlay. You can see our complete guide to choosing and laying underlay here.
Laying the carpet
Roll up the carpet to the length of the room and get it roughly into position. If possible start in a corner of two plain walls and line up the machine cut edge with one of the walls. Fix this edge, using either the gripper strips or in the sticky tape depending on which type of carpet you are using. The edge of the carpet can be tucked underneath the skirting using a bolster. You now need to make sure the carpet is stretched taut across the room. To do this you need to use a knee kicker, which can be hired or bought fairly cheaply.
Get the carpet laid out as flat as you can, and then working at the opposite wall to where you started, used in the kicker to stretch the carpet onto the gripper strip. You can then trim the edge, leaving around 5mm to tuck under the skirting. You now need to go across the room in the other direction, using the knee kicker to stretch the carpet onto the gripper strips.
Trimming Carpet to fit
In almost all rooms, you will need to trim the carpet to fit into alcoves and other awkward areas. Take your time when doing this and make sure you leave enough excess to fit under the skirting boards. To fit the carpet around radiator pipes, simply cut a slit into the carpet and fit this around the pipe. You can then stick down the edges of the slit using PVA glue.
All carpet types are classified for durability in one of four ways:
Light domestic: Should be used mainly for low traffic areas such as bedrooms.
Medium domestic: Suitable for areas of medium traffic such as dining rooms or bedrooms.
General domestic: Suitable for use in living rooms.
Heavy domestic: For use in hallways, stairs and landings.