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Installing a Carpet: Step-By-Step Guide

You’ve just invested in new wall-to-wall carpeting, and you can’t wait to transform the atmosphere of your room and add a touch of comfort. Now it’s time for installation.

Founded in 1957, our store specializes in the sale of wall-to-wall carpets and stair runners, and in providing professional carpet installation. Although laying a carpet may seem simple, it requires specific skills if you want flawless, long-lasting results.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the essential steps to installing a wall-to-wall carpet yourself. You will discover which tools you’ll need, how to prepare the floor, how to cut the carpet, installation methods, and how to do finishing touches. If you follow these steps, you should be able to get the results you’re hoping for.

Essential materials and tools

To install carpet correctly and get good results, you will need the following tools and materials: 


  • Staples: To secure underlayment and tack strips
  • Carpet Tack Strips: Placed around the perimeter of the room to hold the rug in place
  • Nails: For attaching claw strips and sometimes baseboards
  • Pencil: To mark measurements and cut lines on the mat and underlayment
  • Skirting boards: To finalize the edges and give a clean finish to the carpet installation
  • Double-sided tape: To secure the underlay to the floor and hold the edges of the mat in place
  • Carpet underlayment
  • And of course, your new carpet


  • Stapler: To attach the carpet tack strips and underlayment
  • Knee Kicker: An indispensable tool for adjusting and tensioning the rug to the edges of the room
  • Carpet knife: To cut the carpet with precision
  • Carpet Seaming Iron: Used to glue seams between carpet pieces, especially in large areas
  • Hammer: For attaching tack strips and nails
  • Tape measure: To measure the room and carpet accurately
  • Back Saw: To cut the tack strips to the desired size
  • Carpet Stretcher: To stretch and firmly secure the carpet

With this list in hand, you will be well equipped to carry out efficient, long-lasting, quality carpet installation. However, keep in mind that for impeccable and hassle-free results, it is often best to call on a professional carpet installer.

Before starting your carpet installation

Before you start installing the underlay, take the time to prepare the floor.

Start by drawing a floor plan of your room on a piece of paper. Note the length of each wall and include storage spaces. Make sure your walls are parallel by taking measurements in several places. A little advice, add a few extra centimeters to both length and width to leave some room to maneuver. Once the measurements are made, calculate the total area to determine the amount of carpet and underlayment needed, and measure the perimeter for the tack strips.

Carpets are usually delivered in rolls. This makes it difficult to handle them in tight spaces. You’ll have to decide beforehand whether you’re going to use carpet adhesives or tack strips to secure your carpet to the floor. We also recommend that you use a carpet pad, except in basements.

Also, avoid laying your new carpet on an old surface to prevent creating pockets. Before laying carpet on concrete, check the humidity and condition of the cement, seal any cracks and make sure you’re using the right type of adhesive. For wood or plywood, verify that the floor is strong and secure, then use ringed underlayment flooring nails to secure the tack strips.

Step 1: Clean your subfloor

Preparing the subfloor properly is key to successful carpet installation. Start by removing all the furniture from the room. Vacuum to remove dust and debris and if necessary, mop with a damp cloth to remove any lingering stains. Remember to let the subfloor dry thoroughly.

Once it’s clean, do a thorough inspection of the subfloor. If you notice cracks or holes, use a specialised product to repair these defects. Let it dry and then sand if necessary, so you’re working with a smooth surface. You may need to clean the floor one more time at this point.

Next, prepare the edges of the room. This can involve temporarily removing baseboards to facilitate installation.

Step 2: Install the tack strips and carpet pad

After preparing the subfloor, it’s time to install the tack strips and carpet pad. This step is key to making your carpet secure and comfortable.

Start by installing the tack strips all around your room. Place them about 1/4 inch from the walls, with the claws pointing toward the wall. These strips will keep your carpet in place. Attach them to the ground using nails, make sure they are properly aligned and do not overlap.

Once the tack strips are in place, it’s time to lay the carpet pad. A carpet underlay will make your flooring more comfortable and extend the life of your carpet. Adjust the seams to avoid creating dents under the carpet. Remember that the carpet pad should be installed inside the tack strips, and should not cover them.

Secure the pad to the floor by using double-sided tape along the edges of the pad and on the seams. Make sure the pad is smooth and wrinkle-free, and make sure it is tight, then reinforce it with staples every 10 to 12 inches.

Step 3: Carpet installation

Now that the subfloor, tack strips and carpet pad are in place, it’s time to get to the installation. Follow these steps:

Measure and prepare your carpet

Start by measuring the carpet. Draw chalk lines on the underside of the carpet to mark out a piece that is 6 inches longer and wider than the dimensions of the room.

Next, put a piece of wood for a straightedge under the chalk lines, and use a knife and ruler to make a clean cut along each line. Replace the blade frequently so your edge stays clean. 

Next, place the carpet upside down in the room. Cut notches in the corners so that it lies flat.

If you need to join two pieces, first install the seaming tape, then place the iron directly on top to heat the glue. Lay the carpet on top and press the seams to join the two pieces together while the glue is hot. Then wait for it to cool.

Attach one edge to the longest wall

Start by stretching your carpet along the longest wall on the tack strip. Beginning in one corner, use the knee kicker to place the carpet and then anchor it with a hammer. Repeat, working your way along the wall.

Stretch and secure

Use the carpet stretcher as follows: place the base against the wall where the carpet is secured. Extend the adjustment rod until the head is approximately 6 inches from the opposite wall. Push on the handle until the carpet is stretched taut.

Step 4: Add finishing touches

Once the carpet is properly laid and stretched, it’s time to finalize the installation.

There may be excess carpet along the walls. Use a carpet knife to carefully trim this away. Work slowly so you can make clean, straight cuts. Start at the corners and follow the contours of the walls and baseboards. Avoid leaving uneven gaps or edges.

If you removed the baseboards before installation, now is the time to reinstall them. Position them against the wall, covering the edges of the carpet. Use a hammer or glue to secure them. Skirting boards should be aligned accurately and pressed against the carpet for a clean and neat finish.

Floor thresholds are important for creating a clean transition between different floor surfaces. Place the threshold in position and secure it to the floor with screws. Do not screw it into your carpet, as you don’t want to damage the pile. It may be necessary to plane your doors to make sure they have enough space to open and close over your new flooring.

Do a final inspection of the entire surface to check for wrinkles, dents, or imperfections. Walk on your carpet to verify that it’s taut and comfortable underfoot. If you spot any problem areas, use the carpet stretcher to adjust them. Finally, vacuum to remove any debris and make your room spotless.

For a perfect carpet installation, contact professionals

Although it’s possible to install a wall-to-wall carpet yourself, it will take time, patience and a certain amount of expertise. Every step, from preparing the subfloor to doing finishing touches, requires careful attention to create an attractive, functional result.

Calling on professional installers allows you to save time and benefit from a quality installation that will last. At Tapis André Viau, our experts are at your disposal to offer you impeccable service and peace of mind. 

Feel free to contact us for personalized support and a perfect carpet installation. You can also come visit our carpet store in Montreal to explore our entire collection and find the carpet you need!

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