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Can You Put Carpet on Hardwood Floors?

When you decide to renovate the floors in your home, you may fall on carpet as an option. It can be a luxurious addition to bedrooms and living rooms and is relatively cheap. But can you go with carpet if you have hardwood floors?

You can definitely install carpet over the existing hardwood floors in your home. A substantial amount of time and energy will be required to undertake this project properly. You may want to consider going through a flooring professional to avoid potentially damaging your original hardwood floor.

Guy installing carpet in bedroom

This article will discuss whether carpeting can damage a hardwood floor and what you can lay under your carpets. Let’s start off with the tools you’ll need and a step-by-step installation guide.

How To Put Carpet on Hardwood Floors

Razer cutting on carpet floor installation

Required Tools & Materials

Hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s have tool rental programs you can take advantage of. Unless you plan on installing a lot of carpets, you can borrow the tools listed below for a fraction of the cost, and then return them. Some tools may require a refundable deposit upon rental.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Utility knife
  • Knee kicker
  • Power Stretcher
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Small hand saw or snips
  • Tackless Strip
  • Masonry nails
  • Stair tool or carpet tucker
  • Seaming iron
  • Carpet tractor or rolling pin
  • Carpet tape
  • Cinder blocks or heavy books
  • Duct tape or masking tape
  • Carpet pad
  • Carpet
  • Chalk Snap or pencil
  • Long straight edge
  • Transition strip(s) and hardware
  • Cleaning Supplies

Step-by-Step Installation

Step 1: Clean your floors. You want your area to be clear of any debris to prevent scratching and dents. Give it a thorough vacuuming or sweeping and wipe it down.

Step 2: Apply additional stain (optional). If you want to provide your floor with an extra layer of protection, you can stain it once more before laying the carpet down. Just be sure to let the area dry completely before going ahead with your install.

Step 3: Remove trim, molding, and doors. Removing obstructive objects from the floor will make the installation easier. You can pry molding off with a flathead screwdriver, then use the screwdriver and a hammer to remove the pins that hold your doors in place. Store your doors and trim in a separate area.

Step 4: Measure room dimensions. Measure two joining walls, respectively. Multiply these dimensions to obtain your square footage. You will want to leave an excess of 4 to 8 inches (10.16 to 20.32 cm) on each wall, so factor this in when cutting your carpet piece. It’s easiest to cut the section in a large area like a yard or a driveway.

Step 5: Install water vapor barrier. Roll out your water vapor barrier if you are going to be using one. Be sure to firmly secure any overlapping pieces with a tape that won’t leave any residue on your hardwood; this 3M Scotch Blue Painter’s Tape won’t leave any residue on your hardwood floor.

Step 6: Install tackless strip. Measure your strips, avoiding thresholds and doorways, and cut to fit with your handsaw or snips. You’ll want to install your tackless strip with some masonry nails parallel to the wall. Leave a gap that’s ⅔ the thickness of your carpet, and be sure the pins are pointing towards the wall.

Step 7: Roll out and secure your carpet pad. Your carpet pad should cover the entirety of the floor, butting up against the edge of the tackless strip. If you must lay multiple sections, secure the seams with some of that leftover 3M Scotch Blue tape from step 5.

Step 8: Roll out the carpet. Be sure that you have an extra amount of carpet on each wall. Cut reliefs into your corners so the carpet will lay flat.

Step 9: Seal your carpet seams. If you have to join two carpet sections, lay carpet seaming tape beneath the two pieces, holding open the seam. Take the seam sealer heater and set it on the tape, activating the adhesive. Butt the edges of the carpet against each other and press firmly down. Continue to do this along the seam and set cinder blocks or some other heavy item on top as it sets.

Step 10: Hook carpet to tackless strip with knee kicker. Placing the knee kicker a few inches from the wall, “kick” the carpet into an anchored position. Continue along the wall until the entire wall is anchored.

Step 11: Trim excess carpet. Fold over the spare carpet and cut the excess from the back of the carpet. If you didn’t remove your molding, you could use a stair tool to tuck the carpet’s cut edge beneath it.

Step 12: Use a power stretcher to stretch carpet to the opposite wall. The stretcher will have tension rods that will extend the carpet to the other wall, and the head will go in front of the wall that needs to be anchored. Push down the lever to stretch the carpet and then reach out in front of the stretcher to hook the carpet. Continue along the wall until the whole wall is attached.

Step 13: Trim excess and repeat process on remaining walls. Cut and tuck the carpet as you did in step 10. Move on to the next set of opposing walls.

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Step 14: Install transition strips. Once your carpets are stretched and firmly in place, seal the edge of your carpet with a thin strip of your 3M Scotch Blue tape. You can then use a transition strip with masonry nails to cover the edge and prevent tripping.

Step 15: Reattach molding and doors. You’re all done! Now you can reattach your doors and molding.

What Do You Put Under Carpet on Hardwood Floors?

Carpet installation

No matter what type of carpet you buy, you are going to need an underlayment. Carpet padding is designed to provide comfort and extra insulation for your home. It can act as a noise barrier and will protect your original flooring if installed correctly.

Carpet Pad Types

Rubber: Natural rubber mats have strong gripping power, are waterproof, are durable, and will not damage your hardwoods. Natural rubber is the best choice for hardwoods when it comes to overall performance.

HD Polyurethane: High-density polyurethane offers a premium, consistent cushion. It is made with new foam materials and is waterproof.

Rebond: This carpet padding is the most common on the market and is made from bits of recycled foam and memory foam bits.

Memory foam: While it’s a little on the expensive side, memory foam can provide a luxurious cushion.

Felt: You can purchase 100% felt pads or pads that have been combined with natural rubber for cushion and grip.

Waterproof Liner

Many carpets and pads boast of water-resistance, but that does not always indicate they are completely waterproof. Liquids can become trapped in carpet and padding, sitting on your original floor for an extended period and damaging it over time.

It is best to use a waterproof liner like this Bestlaminate 3-in-1 Vapor Barrier Flooring Underlayment before laying carpet or in addition to your carpet pad. This liner has a self-sealing strip bonus, so you won’t have to chase after the tape to install it.

Does Carpet Damage Hardwood Floors?

Carpet floor installation over hardwood

If you do not install your liner, carpet pad, and carpet correctly, you can damage your hardwood floors.

  • Dirt and debris left on the floor’s surface before the install can cause scratches and blemishes.
  • An inferior or absent vapor barrier will allow liquids to pool on the wood’s surface, damaging the stain and possibly warping the timber.
  • A plastic carpet padding will scuff the surface of your hardwoods over time.
  • The use of staples to secure carpet padding will put holes in the floor; dave them for the perimeter to reduce blemishes.
  • The use of adhesives, like epoxy or polyurethane, to secure thresholds can damage the finish.

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ReadyToDiy is the owner of this article. This post was published on 2021-03-29..

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