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How to install a carpet yourself: DIY carpet laying tricks

Learn how to install carpet with our handy safety tips and simple instructions for laying carpet.


By Cleanipedia Team

Person laying a carpet
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Key steps

To install your own carpet, follow these key steps:

  1. Empty and clean the surface – remove all furniture and old carpet.

  2. Place adhesive tape and gripper strips around the edges of the room with an extra layer at door thresholds.

  3. Unroll the carpet in the room and let it acclimatise.

  4. Use a specialist carpet stretcher to get a great fit as you stick the carpet to the floor.

  5. Cut excess carpet from the edges.

If you’ve got time on your hands and some DIY inspiration, installing your own carpet is an achievable and satisfying task. This is something you want to get right so it’s important to do your research beforehand and follow a guide – and that’s where we come in. We’ve got all the basics covered when it comes to laying carpet, including laying carpet tiles, so let’s get started.

If you’re replacing your carpet then you may also need to replace your underlay. Underlay helps your carpet feel softer and last longer, and it protects your floor. Check if yours needs replacing before you begin.

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How to install carpet: A beginner’s guide

If you’re new to installing carpet, then the easiest method involves using specialist adhesive tape to fix your new flooring in place. More secure methods include using carpet grippers which can be glued or nailed to your floor and then using a carpet tucker and carpet stretcher to ensure your new flooring fits snugly across the room.

Step 1: Get rid of everything in the room.

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If you’ve got an old carpet in place, remove it. You’ll also need to take the door off its hinges to enable you to lay carpet underneath.

Once everything is removed, give the floor a good sweep or vacuum so you don’t end up trapping any dirt under your new carpet which could stay there for years.

Step 2: Apply adhesive tape to the floor.

Put double-sided adhesive tape down around all the edges of the room, with a double layer over the door threshold (if you have a threshold covering then this will need to be removed). Place a diagonal line of tape across the floor space. Do not remove the top covering of the tape – you don’t want it to be sticky yet! If using carpet gripper strips, apply them at this stage.

Step 3: Bring in your new carpet.

If it’s in a roll, unroll it. Make sure to leave an extra few inches at each edge so that the carpet rolls up onto the sides of the wall. If you’re laying carpet on stairs this is of course much trickier so seek specialist advice if you’re not sure or haven’t previously laid any carpet. For those laying carpet tiles, you can simply lay the tiles across the floor, bending up around the edges.

Step 4: Leave the carpet in the room for 24 hours.

This might sound strange but the carpet will shrink or expand slightly depending on the local climate and you want it to do that before you cut it to shape.

Step 5: Stick the carpet down once the carpet has acclimatised.

It’s useful to have a second pair of hands at this point as you need to roll the carpet up halfway, remove the backing from the adhesive tape, roll down then do the same thing on the other side. You can use a carpet tucker here to achieve a flush finish with the skirting board and create a crease in the carpet which will make cutting easier.

Step 6: Cut your carpet to size.

DIY carpet cutting is one of trickiest parts of this job – and the most important to get right! Be sure to take your time and review progress regularly.

Use a specialist carpet smoother – or carpet stretcher – to fit it right to the edges then cut with a knife. As always when it comes to knife usage be extra careful, wear protective clothing and make sure no children or pets are around.

Step 7: Replace the door and threshold cover.

Once the edges are all stuck down you can put the door back on its hinges and reattach the threshold cover. Give the room a thorough clean before you put the furniture back in.

Laying carpet on stairs: extra tips

Laying carpet on stairs is a bit more complicated, so remember these extra tips:

  • Fit carpet grippers to the thread and riser of the stairs, angling them towards each other.

  • Work from the bottom of the stairs up.

  • Fit carpet to one step at a tip. If your stairs have a lip, or nose, then you’ll need to tack the carpet in place at this area to ensure a snug fit.

Voila! You’re a DIY carpet pro! This can be a tricky job, so if you’re ever in doubt, seek professional advice. Once you’ve got the hang of it, though, laying your own carpet can be incredibly satisfying. Have a look at our guide to easy carpet cleaning to keep your carpet looking brand new.

Safety WarningRemember! Always check with your carpet manufacturer for cleaning advice as some styles of carpet may require specialist cleaning. For example, loop pile carpets should not be vacuumed with a beater attachment.

Originally published