Carpet Installation | Installing Jute Back Carpeting

Carpet Installation

There are two types of wall-to-wall carpeting. This article details one type: jute back carpeting which has a fiber backing that may be installed on a pad and secured by tackless strips around the perimeter of the room. Jute back is fairly easy to install; the “key” tools are a stretcher and knee-kicker.

Carpet Installation

Before ordering carpeting, it is suggested that you lay out the room to be carpeted on graph paper. This way you can mark all obstructions such as doors, alcoves, and obstacles. If you can’t carpet the entire room with one piece, you will have to allow for a seam. Position this on the graph. Seams should be placed where traffic flow is light. Also, seams should be away from the primary visual focus in the room. Seams are less visible when they run parallel to light rays and should, therefore, run toward the room’s primary source of light-usually a window wall.

Carpet Installation
Prepare the subfloor before laying padding/carpeting. Nail down loose boards, fix squeaks, replace any damaged boards or a bad subfloor. Remove the shoe (quarterround) from the baseboards.

Several tools needed for carpeting may be rented. They include a knee kicker, power stretcher, seaming iron, and carpet trimmer.

Carpet laying basics follow. Read through the steps before you rent or buy any equipment materials, accessories. You may save money on equipment you already have available.

Carpet Installation
TACKLESS STRIPS/BARS:Tackless strips are fastened to the perimeter of the room with the tacks facing the walls. Cut them with heavy-duty shears or a saw and nail them down at a distance from the wall equal to two thirds the thickness of the carpeting.

When you have determined this measurement, use a cardboard or wooden spacer so all strips can be placed evenly. If you are going over ceramic tile, you can use adhesive such as contact or subfloor, although it is recommended that a ceramic tile floor be stripped before laying carpeting over the subflooring below.

Fasten binder bars, standard metal edging, in doorways and other spots where the carpeting ends without a wall. The binder bar in a doorway should be directly under the door when the door is in a closed position.

PADDING: If the carpeting will have padding installed underneath it, here are the procedures:

  1. Cut the padding so that it covers the entire floor. Butt pieces evenly at any seams. If it has a waffle pattern, the membrane skin covering faces up. Staple the padding down at 6-in. intervals around where you think it might slip. On non-wooden floors, use the adhesive suggested by the store.
  2. After the padding is fastened around the room, trim off the overlap with a sharp utility knife just along the inside of the tackless strip. Leave a 1/8- to 1/4-inch gap between the strip and the pad. If the padding is urethane or rubber, tilt the knife slightly away from the wall to create a beveled edge to prevent the pad from climbing.

MAKING ROUGH CUTS: To install carpeting, roll out the carpeting in a large, clean, dry, and fat area. Measure carefully and allow at least 3 in. overlap for the perimeter of the room and for any seams. If you have cut-pile carpeting, cut it from the back. First, notch the ends where the cut will begin and stop. Then fold the carpeting over and make chalklines on the back between the notches. Cut along the line taking care to cut only the backing. If you have loop-pile carpeting, cut it from the front. Snap a chalkline and cut with a utility knife with a very sharp blade.

SEAMING DETAILS:

  1. To cut a seam, put one piece of carpeting over the other so the overlap is about 1 inch Use the top piece as a guide to cut the bottom one.
  2. The two pieces butt tightly. Insert a length of hot-melt seaming tape halfway under one piece of carpeting. Put the adhesive side up and align the printed center with the edge of the carpet. Heat the seaming iron to 250 degrees. Many stores have self-stick seaming tape that doesn’t require an iron.
  3. Hold back one edge of the carpet and slip the seaming iron under the edge of the other piece. Hold it on the tape about 30 seconds. Then slide it slowly along the tape while you press both halves of the carpet onto the heated adhesive. Make sure the two edges are butting. If not, pull them together and place a heavy object on them until they are bonded to the tape. If you’re using self-stick seaming tape, merely press both halves of the carpet down firmly to the tape to make sure the carpeting bonds securely.

CARPET STRETCHING:

  1. Walk over the carpet to shift it so it lies smoothly. Trim the edge to overlap the tackless strips by 1 or 2 inches. Make incisions for corners and cut around grates and other obstacles. Place the knee kicker about 1 in. from the tackless strip and at a slight angle to the wall. Bump it with your knee so it moves the carpet and hooks it on the strip.
  2. Experiment with the power stretcher to learn how much “bite” is needed to grip the carpet and stretch it sufficiently. Pull the carpet taut with a minimum of force so it doesn’t tear.
  3. A stretching sequence drawing shows how to e stretch and hook the carpet onto tackless strips. Follow it as you work to find the correct placements for the knee kicker and power stretcher (Fig. 10).

Stretching sequence. Carpeting must be stretched in the sequence shown here. The circles indicate points of attachment and the arrows indicate the direction of stretching. Follow the numbered sequence, which is detailed in the text. If you make a mistake in sequence, don’t fret; just go back and do it over.

Carpet Stretching Diagram

You will use three techniques: “hooking” (with the knee kicker), “stretching” (with the power stretcher), and “rolling” (pressing the edge of the carpet by hand and hammer onto the back row of nails on the strip).

  1. Hook corner A.
  2. Stretch toward B.
  3. Roll edge A-C.
  4. Stretch toward C and hook.
  5. Roll edge A-C.
  6. Stretch toward D and hook.
  7. Hook edge C-D.
  8. Stretch toward edge B-D and hook.

Check the carpeting to make sure it is evenly stretched. If it is not, unhook the carpeting and try stretching it again until you’re satisfied with the fit.

FINISHING THE PROJECT:

  1. Trim the carpeting between the wall and the tackless strip. If you don’t have trimmer, use a utility knife. First adjust the trimmer to the thickness of the carpet. Slice downward into the carpeting at a 45-degree angle, leveling it out when you reach the floor, leaving just enough edging to tuck down into the gap between the strip and the wall. Make cuts in corners and around obstacles with a utility knife.
  2. Use a putty knife, trowel, or screwdriver to push the edge of the carpeting into the gully between the tackless strip and the wall. If the carpet edge bunches up and creates an unsightly bulge, trim it a tad to make it shorter.
  3. Clamp the carpet to the binder bars at doorways, etc. Trim the carpet wit a utility knife so it will ft under the binder bar. Tuck it under the metal lip. Then, with a block of wood and a hammer, gently tap the lip down over the carpeting edge so that it holds firmly.
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