How to Lay Carpet

By Kim
Last updated 18th March 2021 - Reading time: 9 mins

Knowing how to lay carpet yourself can save you money on labour costs, so it's a worth while thing to learn. In this guide, we'll show you how to lay carpet step by step as well as what tools you'll need in the process.

How to lay a carpet

What Tools Do I Need to Lay a Carpet?

Below is a list of the tools that you will need to install a new carpet:

  • Tape measure
  • Hammer tacker
  • Carpet knife and blades
  • Straight edge
  • Knee kicker
  • Carpet stretcher
  • Carpet tuckers
  • Hammer
  • Chalk line
  • Plastic broad knife
  • Hand saw
  • Brad nailer

What Safety Equipment Do I Need to Install a New Carpet?

Below is a list of the safety equipment that you will need to lay a new carpet:

  • Safety glasses

What Materials Do I Need to Lay a Carpet?

The list below indicates the materials that you will need to lay a carpet:

  • Carpet
  • Staples
  • Masking tape
  • Tack strips
  • Carpet pad
  • Nails
  • Latex seam sealant

How to Prepare for Installing a New Carpet

When preparing for your carpet installation, you want to start by ensuring you have all of the relevant tools and materials needed to complete the job effectively. Don't forget to make sure you have good quality padding for the underlay.

How to Lay Carpet Yourself

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to lay carpet:

Step 1

Start by cutting your tack strips to fit the perimeter and wrap them around the door frame. Be sure not to place them across openings.

how to lay carpet step 1

Step 2

Next, nail in the strips with the tacks facing the wall. Leave about 2/3 of the thickness of the carpet between the wall and the strips.

how to lay carpet step 2

Step 3

Repeat this process across the entire perimeter of the room.

how to lay carpet step 3

Step 4

Lay the carpet pad or underlay down, making sure that any seams will be at right angles to the carpet seams.

how to lay carpet step 4

Step 5

Use masking tape to secure neighbouring pieces together and staples the edges to the edge of the tack strip to secure it in place.

how to lay carpet step 5

Step 6

Finally, trim the pad with a carpet knife against the strip.

how to lay carpet step 6

Step 7

Now you will need to measure the room. Once you have the measurements, snap a chalk line that is six inches longer and wider than the room.

how to lay carpet step 7

Step 8

With the chalk lines facing up, place a piece of wood or another solid object under the carpet to create a cutting base.

how to lay carpet step 8

Step 9

Guide your carpet knife along each line using a straight edge as a guide.

how to lay carpet step 9

Step 10

Flip the carpet over and centre it in the room.

how to lay carpet step 10

Step 11

Using your carpet knife, make relief cuts in the corners to flatten it out.

how to lay carpet step 11

Step 12

Starting in one of the room's corners, anchor the carpet to the wall by pushing the carpet into the tack strips using a knee kicker. Then, tuck the carpet right into the edges using a carpet tucker. Repeat this step along three feet of the wall.

how to lay carpet step 12

Step 13

After you anchor the long wall, anchor, the short wall using the same previous steps.

how to lay carpet step 13

Step 14

Trim any excess carpet using the carpet knife before tucking if needed.

how to lay carpet step 14

Step 15

You are now ready to power stretch the first corner. Pad a 2x4 inch block of wood with scrap carpet and place the foot of the power stretcher against it to protect your wall.

how to lay carpet step 15

Step 16

Run the stretcher at a 15-degree angle towards the opposite corner and set the head six inches from the wall.

how to lay carpet step 16

Step 17

Then, stretch the carpet by pushing on the handle.

how to lay carpet step 17

Step 18

Anchor and tuck the carpet as before along three feet of both corners.

how to lay carpet step 18

Step 19

After you've power stretched the first corner, power stretch the second corner by following the previous steps.

how to lay carpet step 19

Step 20

Then, power stretch the opposite long wall just like you did before by pulling, tucking, and anchoring the carpet as you go along.

how to lay carpet step 20

Step 21

Finally, power stretch the remaining corner and use your knee kicker to work your way across the wall.

how to lay carpet step 21

Step 22

Adjust your wall trimmer to the thickness of your carpet and trim the edges away.

how to lay carpet step 22

Step 23

Then, tuck the freshly cut edges between the wall and the strips.

how to lay carpet step 23

Step 24

When the carpet comes in contact with other flooring, seal the edges with latex seam sealant. You can then install a carpet transition in the joint.

how to lay carpet step 24

Carpet Types

Below is a list of the different types of carpet that you can get for your home along with a pros and cons list:

Plush Carpeting

Plush carpeting is a cut pile style. The carpet loops are cut to the same length to make a smooth, level surface.


✔ Soft

✔ Durable

✔ Comes in a wide range of colours

✔ Compliments most types of décor


✖ Tends to show indentations from furniture

✖ Can show prints from foot traffic

Frieze Carpeting

This is another example of a cut pile carpeting. The difference here is that the yarn is twisted rather than cut so that it looks curly.


✔ Soft

✔ Durable

✔ Easier to hide seams


✖ Spills are more likely to sink into the backing

✖ Can be difficult to clean

Shag Carpeting

This type of carpeting is very similar to frieze carpeting except the strands are thicker, bulkier, and have a deeper pile.


✔ Very comfortable

✔ Durable

✔ Easy to hide seams


✖ Stains and dust can sink into the fibres

✖ Sometimes difficult to clean

✖ Long strands make it difficult for people who use strollers or wheelchairs

Berber Carpeting

This is a loop pile style of carpet – the loops in Berber carpeting aren't cut, so they remain as loops. This is a durable carpet style that is popular in heavy traffic areas such as the hallway or sitting room.


✔ Durable

✔ Tend to be cheaper than other styles

✔ Not too thick


✖ Not as soft as other carpet styles

✖ Can become damaged by sharp objects or pet nails

Level Loop Carpeting

This carpet type is also similar to Berber. All of the lops are the same height, so the carpet keeps an even surface. This style of carpet is thin and often used in office and commercial settings.


✔ Very durable

✔ Good for high-traffic areas


✖ Not soft underfoot

✖ Not cosy in appearance

Carpet Maintenance

Below is a list of tips for maintaining your carpet and keeping it to the best possible condition:

  • Clean your carpet regularly with carpet shampoo (be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions)
  • Never walk on your carpet immediately after cleaning as walking on wet carpet can damage the fibres
  • Keep on top of vacuuming your carpet (aim to vacuum at least once a week)
  • If pile yarn becomes loose, cut it off using scissors – never pull it out
  • Never fold your carpet as this can damage the backing – carpets should be rolled instead
  • Use doormats at entrances
  • Deal with spillages as soon as they happen

How to Remove Carpet

Below is a simple step by step guide on how to remove a carpet yourself:

  1. Begin by trying to pull up the carpet using pliers.
  2. If this fails, use a utility knife to cut a small square out of the corner so that you can grab hold and pull the carpet up.
  3. Pull the carpet up along the entire length of the wall.
  4. Fold the carpet into strip sections as you go along and slice the fold using your utility knife.
  5. Roll up the carpet pieces and duct tape them together.

Once you've pulled out, cut, and rolled all of the carpet pieces in the room, you can then dispose of the old carpet.


How long does a DIY carpet installation take?

The average DIY carpet installation will usually take around 1-2 days. The actual amount of time it takes will depend on the size of the room and the difficulty of the job.

How do you measure stairs for a carpet?

To measure for stairs, you will need to note down the number of stairs, the measurements of the tread and riser, and the measurements of the stair widths.

Can I lay carpet in the bathroom?

It is possible to have carpet laid in your bathroom. Some people prefer not to have carpet laid in the bathroom due to the moisture; however, this is down to personal choice. There are many bathroom carpets made specifically for this type of room, making the carpet more water-resistant and avoiding any damage to the subfloor.

When does carpet need to be replaced?

This is down to the condition of the carpet and mostly how it looks. Below are a few signs that your carpet may need to be replaced:

  • Visible stains
  • Wear and tear
  • Increase in allergy symptoms
  • Uneven
  • Wrinkling appearing
  • Coming away from the walls
  • Rips

How do you measure for carpeting stairs?

Measure the height and depth of your stairs to give you the length before multiplying by the width. Always add 10% for waste or margin of error as stairs can be awkward and difficult to carpet.


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