Cutting & Laying Carpet
A big carpet installation obstacle is just getting it into the room and rolling it out so it's manageable to cut and fit. If you're carpeting several rooms with one main roll of carpet, keep it in a pickup bed or separate room.
A 15' wide roll is standard, but lengths vary. Calculate the best way to utilize edges without making a seam or cut pieces so seams will lie in inconspicuous or low traffic areas.
Consider too, which way the pile will run. Stroke the carpet with your hand. The fibers will raise up or ruffle when going against the pile. Make sure to keep all pieces going in the same direction.
Roll out the proper length, adding a few inches of excess on each edge. Fold the piece and cut it from the back with a utility or carpet knife. Roll up the piece and transport it into the room.
CAUTION: Carpet knife blades are two-sided and much sharper than a standard utility knife. Handle them with extra respect.
Unroll the piece and square it to the longest wall. Walk the perimeter of the room to make sure enough excess will reach all the walls.
Fold back the carpet to expose the backing and trim the edges so an inch or so of excess remains on each wall.
Cut out for obstructions like radiators or cabinets. Fasten seams and pieces together with strips of carpet seam tape heated with a carpet iron.
CAUTION: The iron and glue get very hot and messy so use caution and always set the iron back on its tray when not in use.
Stretching, Kicking & Tucking Carpet
Even though a piece of carpet is cut to fit the room, it still has a lot of sag in the middle that needs to be taken up. Special, rentable tools with tiny teeth are used to grab the carpet and stretch it toward the walls.
Let's work on a basic four-corner room. Starting in one corner, use a knee kicker to pull the carpet toward the walls, hooking it onto the tackless strip.
Trim off the excess, leaving about 1/2" to 3/4" lip of extra carpet all along the walls. Tuck the lip down between the tackless strip and the baseboard with a putty knife.
Use a carpet stretcher to tack in the adjoining corners, then go back to the first corner and work down the wall with the knee kicker to each tacked corner.
Finish up the corners with the knee kicker if necessary. After completing those corners, use the carpet stretcher to take up slack along the remaining walls, working toward the last corner.
Again, use the knee kicker if needed and trim off the excess at the edges. Finish up by tucking the lip down between the tackless strip and baseboard.
Nail down a threshold strip between any carpet and solid flooring transition. Also, keep a couple scrap pieces of carpet available to use as patches for any future repairs that might arise.