Tools and Supplies
When I refer to carpet installers as "him" or
"his" please note that it is not a gender thing and I mean no
disrespect towards women. I'm just a bit lazy and it saves me time
by not having to write "his or her" to be politically correct.
So you want to be a carpet installer? Or perhaps you just want to install your own carpet to
save some money. This condensed version of How to Install Carpet, might work for you, or it might not. The question is, are you
mechanically inclined and do you have the ability to do just about anything
if you receive the proper instructions? Let's Find Out.
Some would say it is not a good idea for consumers to try to
install their own carpet. Personally, I know a lot of very talented people who
have the ability to learn on the go and can do whatever it takes to get the job
done. So in my opinion, if you want to be a carpet installer for a day, a week
or for the rest of your life I say it's worth giving it a shot.
Some call them carpet layers, some call them carpet fitters. Either way, installing carpet is
hard work and requires mastering many skills in order to do it right. I
installed carpet for about 30 years and even though I was trained by master
mechanics who were at the top of their game, I have found that there are many
different methods to get the job done. So if you don't like the way I tell you
how to do it, do it the way you think it should be done to make it easier,
smarter, faster or better.
It seems that every carpet installer has his own unique style
of carpet installation. Every carpet installer has his own special tricks of the
trade that make him special and unique. I want you to understand this because no
matter how I tell you to install carpet there will be plenty of installers
telling you that my methods are wrong or that their carpet installation methods
are better for some reason. There is a lot of ego in the hearts of many carpet installers and
unwarranted strife between camps. I'm sure I'll get some nasty emails for
writing my version of how to lay carpet, but for now lets just get to the meat of the
matter and let the crumbs fall where they will. You want to know how to install carpet and
I'm going to do my best to tell you what you need to learn in order to do the
The necessary tools of the carpet layer's trade.
I'm going to give you a rundown of the common carpet laying
tools. There are several key tools that every installer needs and a whole bunch
of accessory tools that you can use if you want or need to. It seems that many old
carpet layers sit around at night designing new tools for the trade. Some new
tool designs are very useful but the vast majority of new and improved carpet
tools I've seen through the years have been a waste of time and money.
I'm going to focus on the tools that are most common and let
you sort out the long list of optional accessory tools on your own.
Must have carpet tools:
Knee kicker - The knee is used to position carpet and
install carpet, and to stretch carpet in certain areas where a power
stretcher cannot reach.
Power stretcher - uses leverage to stretch carpet tightly
over tack-less strips.
Straight-edge - used to make straight cuts, especially for
preparing two carpet edges to be seamed together
Carpenter's square - for making accurate 90 degree
Wall trimmer - trims carpet flush with the wall
Carpet knife or utility knife - handheld tool used to cut
Stair tool - used with a hammer or rubber mallet to install
carpet on stairs
Seaming iron- there are three types of seaming iron
available. The standard 4" and 6" hot melt types, and the newer
and more expensive microwave
type that requires special and more expensive seaming tape.
Tractor - carpet seaming tool used to set carpet into hot
melt glue during the seaming process.
Nap scissors - used to trim and beautify seams and
upholstery work and loose carpet strings or fibers
The electric tacker - shoots a slender staple to affix
carpet on stairs or other upholstery work
Hand roller - used for glue down carpet.
100# carpet roller - stand-up tool used for glue down
Tool pouch - typically holds your carpet knife,
pliers, screwdriver or small spatula
Kneepads - a must have if you want to be able to
walk without using crutches later in life.
Most carpet installers carry a host of power tools to do floor repairs
and install under-layment when necessary:
There are a lot of regular tools that every carpet installer
There are a lot of various sundries and supplies that every
carpet installer must keep on hand.
Blue nails- for reinforcing tack-less strips
Ring shank nails- fastening wood sub-floors and
Concrete nails- installing metal transitions to concrete
Silver and gold screw nails- for fastening metal
Acoustical nails - these special hardened screw
nails are longer and used for installing tack-less strips on gypsum
Transition metals (standard colors are silver and gold):
Clampdown (also called tap down or
Articulated clampdown - can be installed in a curve
Flat-bar - (gold or silver)
T-insert (for track and rubber insert applications)
Z-bar (used when no metal is to be visible)
Reducer Strips for Carpet Transitions:
4-inch standard seaming tape (industry standard) 66 feet
per roll. Various brands and grades are available.
6-inch seaming tape (for use with 6-inch seaming irons)
Microwave seaming tape (a special seam tape for use with microwave
Carpet Adhesives and Seam Sealants
Cove base adhesive
Tack-less strips (tackstrip):
Tack-less strips are four
feet long and come 100 strips to a box (400 lineal feet per box) They come
pre-nailed with either concrete, wood or acoustical nails.
Useful Carpet Installation Items:
Empty buckets/containers are used to carry small tools
and supplies and to mix floor patching compounds.
Duct tape - 1001 uses. Always a handy product to have.
Floor patching compound
repairs cracks and holes. Smoothes
out uneven underlayment and concrete floors.
Floor patch additives are used in lieu of water with
dry floor patching compounds to achieve added strength and bonding properties.
This is white milky-like liquid that comes in gallon-sized containers.
Buy Carpet Tools and Supplies:
Where you buy your tools and supplies can be important if you
want to save money and get good quality materials.
Most basic carpet supplies
are available at Home Depot or Lowe's home improvement stores or any local
hardware store, but the selection will be limited. If you want a better
selection or specialized items like Power Stretchers you need to shop at a
You can find these in the yellow pages under the heading
of carpet sundries, carpet supplies, or flooring distributors. Most of these
places will sell to the general public and their prices are reasonable.
need larger quantities of certain items like glue, patching compounds,
transition metals or tack-less strips they are usually willing to give you
This is a lot of tools and supplies to have on hand. Now you
know why carpet installers typically have long full-sized vans. It helps keep
the carpet dry and carries a lot of stuff.
more about Carpet
Carpet Q & A
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