Carpet can be an affordable floor covering for any room in the house. An average quality carpet is now priced about the same as inexpensive vinyl, and considerably less than laminate and hardwood flooring.
Of all the floor coverings, carpet provides the most comfort and warmth -- especially if you enjoy roaming the house barefoot. It can also help cut down on noise by absorbing sound.
Here are the steps for installing carpet. However we feel that the additional cost of profession carpet installation is usually worth it.
Some carpet may give off vapors (called out-gassing) that are considered toxic. Known as volatile organic compounds, VOCs are often described as a strong "new smell" which may be discomforting or harmful to some people.
How much a carpet out-gasses varies according to the blend of chemicals used at the mill. Two identical types of carpet from the same manufacturer may out-gas different amounts.
Carpet adhesives may also out-gas. However, both carpets and adhesives that don't out-gas are available; you may just need to shop around, compare, and do your own tests to find them.
That's why we always recommend letting any carpet out-gas in a detached garage or well-ventilated area for a day or two before installation.
Types of Carpet & Pad
Carpet is available in a few different materials. Wool holds its shape, but is expensive and tends to fray or "pill," and is mildew/moisture prone.
Nylon is most popular. It's easy to clean, very strong, resists mildew, but may be pricy. Polyester and Olefin are also durable, resist staining/mildew, but tend to pill and compact, respectively.
Pile describes the weave a carpet has. Loop, twist, shag, and plush all refer to the way the carpet fibers are woven into the backing.
A carpet's quality is usually tied to pile thickness. Bend the carpet and see how much backing is exposed. The tighter pile, the more durability and quality it will provide.
There are also several grades of carpet padding. But one simple technique to judge padding is by pinching it. If the pad compacts more than half its thickness, the pad's probably not resilient enough to withstand much long-term wear and tear.
Fastening Tackless Strip & Pad
Tackless strip (also just called "tack" strip) holds the carpet in place. It's made of wood strips with angled tack points jutting up that grab the carpet's backing. The strips are fastened to the floor with nails already driven into the strip at intervals.
Lay out the tackless strip around the perimeter of the room with the points toward the wall or as indicated on the strip. Cut pieces to fit around radiators or other permanent fixtures (exclude small items like pipes and floor vents).
Once the strips are in place, hammer the fastening nails securely into the floor. Roll out and fit the pad along the tackless strip edges, trimming any excess with a utility knife.
Pick up all the scrap pieces of padding as you cut them so later they don't get trapped under the carpet. Staple down the pad with an electric stapler about every 8" so the pad isn't apt to shift or buckle/tear.