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Carpet Installation Guide

Wouldn't it be great if carpet could grow like grass? Just throw down some seeds, sprinkle it with water and BINGO! - a beautiful new floor covering for your family to enjoy! Unfortunately, it's not that easy. If you're installing carpet into a home you already occupy, there's furniture to move, old floor covering to rip out and possibly subfloors to replace or repair.

But don't stress out. By following these pointers, your installation process should be fairly painless.

Go Pro

These days, everyone with a carpet staple gun thinks they're an installer. Don't be fooled. A business card and a pick-up truck do not a professional carpet installer make. It takes years to develop the skills for professional carpet installation, skills like minimizing and hiding seams, matching surface transition heights and using specialized tools. Do it right the first time. Your retailer is your best source. Hire a pro.

Use a Seaming Diagram

The carpet you chose - as lovely as it is, probably doesn't come in a roll wide enough to fit your entire room. Face the facts. It's going to need to be cut and seamed together. Plan ahead and work with your retailer and installer to create a seaming diagram that carefully plots out the seams and transitions before any cuts are made. It just may be possible to place those seams where no one will ever notice them!

Plan Ahead

Call a friend, hire a team, do whatever you need to do, but make sure you remove furniture and other "stuff" from the room in which your new carpeting will be installed. You probably don't want carpet installers handling your precious things - and they may charge you extra for the opportunity.

Decide What To Do With Your Existing Floor Covering

Will your new carpet be installed over your existing floor covering, or do you want your existing floors or carpets removed before the new one is put in? Removal of old flooring or carpeting can be time consuming - and someone has to haul it away and dispose of it responsibly. Be sure to discuss the situation with your retailer or installer and assume that at least one day will be spent on removal, cleanup and preparation.

Cushion the Smooshin'

The padding you install beneath your new carpet will affect the way it feels beneath your feet in a major way. A thicker padding is going to make your carpet feel thicker, softer and more inviting. A thinner padding - especially on a concrete foundation - can make even a dense pile feel, well, like it's sitting on concrete. Investing in a quality padding can prevent your new carpet from matting and crushing underfoot. It also adds ventilation between the fibers and the floor, making vacuuming easier and offering its own level of protection. Ask your retailer or installer to show you the options. And choose wisely.

Choose a Trim

In most cases, existing baseboards and moldings have to be removed prior to carpet installation. Do you want to keep what you have or go with something new? Be sure to discuss this with your retailer or installer, who may charge extra for removal and reinstallation - which may also require patching and painting.

Determine If Your Subfloor Is Subpar

Under your existing carpet or flooring lies a subfloor or the foundation of your home. Is it wood? It is concrete? Is it level? Is it in good shape? Your subfloor may need preparation prior to the installation of your new carpet. Discuss this with your retailer or installer - and go pro if it needs work. You don't want to have to tear up your new carpet to fix an amateur's error.

See The Doors

Interior doors often have space at the bottom to accommodate carpeting. If yours do, then you're good to go. If yours don't - or they're cut for a lower pile than you install, then you may need a qualified carpenter to cut or shave the bottom of each affected door. Check with your installer about their door policy.

Show Haste for Waste

Carpet installation results in lots of trash - old carpets or floors, plastic wrapping, remnants, fast food containers. Talk to your retailer or installer about his or her clean up policy - and what is done with remnants. You may want to save some leftover carpeting "just in case" - or maybe your installer will cut you a door mat or two!

Take A Day Off

It's a good idea to be home on the day your carpet is installed. Inevitably, questions will be asked. Decisions will need be made. And nobody has an eye for detail about your home like you do. So take a vacation day, call in sick, work from home - just be there.

Watch From A Distance

Razor blades and flying carpet staples can make your carpet installation area hazardous to the health of your children and pets. Find a comfortable space in another room or outdoors while the work is taking place.

Conduct A Walk-Thru

Before your installer leaves, walk through the installation area together to ensure that every last detail meets or exceeds your expectations. Ask questions and make sure that you "approve" of both the product and the installation before making your final payment.

Let It Breathe

That "new carpet smell" may put a smile on your face, but may not make your lungs very happy. Chemicals used to make carpets, as well as the adhesives and glues used to install them, can emit odors for up to 72 hours. Open windows, turn on fans and ventilate the space. While most carpeting is now low on Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), ventilation is still the order of the day.

Expect Changes

It's a fact of life. Your new carpet will shed. Take a deep breath and vacuum the lose fibers away. Your new carpet will also sprout. In other words, small loops or tufts may become visible after installation. Fret not. Just use scissors to trim the loose fibers to the consistent pile height. If wrinkles or ripples appear, then it may be necessary to re-stretch your carpet. Contact your retailer or installer immediately or refer back to our very first pointer about using a professional.

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