Why professional carpet installation is so important and what it takes to install carpet properly!
Last month I talked about the selection and purchase of carpet. In this article I want to address some of the reasons that it is imperative that carpet be installed by a professional carpet installer and why it is not a do it yourself project. First and foremost professional carpet installation requires the use of proper tools. Some of these include a power stretcher, seaming tape, seaming iron, straight edge, knee pads, knee kicker, tap down metal, tackless strip, hammers, rubber mallet, screwdriver, hand saw, staple gun, masking tape, row separator, stair tool, carpet spreader, carpet trimmer, pad stapler and large scraper not to mention a truck to pick up your new carpet and pad.
In most cases the existing carpet and pad must be removed. This of course requires taking all of the furniture out of the room, pulling up the existing carpet and then removing the pad. Once that is done the pad needs to be laid out in the room and tackless strip needs to either be installed, or if it was down from the prior installation examined to see if it can and/or should be reused. Usually some of the tackless strip needs to be replaced or reinforced. This is very important since the carpet needs to be stretched onto the tackless strip if the installation is done correctly. If the subfloor is plywood then the pad needs to be stapled with a pad stapler at the seams in order to hold it in place when the carpet is stretched over it. Conversely, if the subfloor is cement the pad is generally glued using pad glue (another item most do it yourselfer’s don’t normally carry with them).
A professional installer will also check the doors to make sure they clear the carpet and remove doors from their hinges. Also other floors near the work area should be protected to prevent damage from furniture moved, tools, and both new and old materials. The carpet needs to be laid out in the room and seamed together according to the seaming diagram. This takes a great deal of time and expertise. All too often seams come apart, overlap or gap which result in an inferior installation. Seams are not invisible and depending on the carpet type, lighting and expertise of the installer some will be more visible than others. Seaming is the number one installation related complaint and as such they need to be addressed in order to set the customer’s expectations.
The next most common problem results for improper stretching of the carpet. Many do it yourselfers and unfortunately many installers do not take the time to power stretch the carpet. Some just use a knee kicker while others will try to get by with a baby stretcher. Only after the carpet has been properly stretched can the carpet be trimmed, carpet vacuumed and the furniture returned.
I know that this is just a short overview of why you should let a professional installer install your new carpeting. I would like to leave you with this thought, even the best piece of carpet that is improperly installed is a butcher piece of carpet. Value is defined differently than price. Please remember that you normally get what you pay for and free installation is more likely than not worth what you pay!
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