Step 1: Install the Tack Strips

person installing tack strip to demonstrate how-to install carpet
Photo: Ryan Hulvat
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After removing all the furniture and old floor covering from the room, cover the wood subfloor with carpet padding. Tack down the padding with a stapler.

Using a hammer, nail down tack strips around the perimeter of the room. Cut the 1-inch-wide strips to length using a small handsaw or special wood snips. Set the tack strip about ½ inch away from the baseboard to allow space for slipping the carpeting underneath.

One row of tack strip is sufficient to hold down most types of carpeting, but for heavily woven Berbers and woolen carpets, it's best to install two rows of tack strips side by side. This double-strip trick will provide extra "bite" to prevent the carpeting from pulling loose or shifting out of position.

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    Tools List

    • utility knife
      Utility knife
    • hammer
      Hammer
    • hand saw
      Handsaw or special wood snips
    • knee kicker
      Knee kicker
    • lever-activated stretcher
      Lever-activated stretcher
    • carpet tool
      Carpet edger
    • edge trimmer
      Wide-blade carpet chisel
    • seaming iron
      Seaming iron and seaming weight
    • electric stapler
      Electric stapler
    • portable carpet edge binder
      Binding machine

    Shopping List

    1. Carpeting

    cut slightly oversized to allow for final trimming



    2. Heat-activated seam tape

    used to bond the seam between two pieces of carpeting

    3. Carpet padding

    for installation under carpeting