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Can You/Should You Install Carpet Over Carpet?

If you have a space that has carpet that has either been damaged, needs a refresh, or simply needs to be replaced due to style preferences, you may be wondering the best way to install new carpet. Can you, or even more, should you install carpet over carpet?

You can install carpet over existing carpet, but this should be something that is avoided if possible. It is difficult to lay tack strips on top of existing carpet, can oftentimes be a poor underlayment option, and can be a setup that is a breeding ground for mold, leading to the ruin of new carpet.

Hand touching carpet

When tackling any type of DIY project, some of the first thoughts are to get the job done right, but to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you have old carpet in an area that needs to be replaced, taking up the carpet may seem like too much wasted time, making the next best option to simply install new carpet over the existing carpet. Take a look below to find out if you can, and if you should, install new carpet over existing carpet.

Can You Lay Carpet Over Carpet?

Man unrolling the carpet

If you have existing carpet in a space that needs to be replaced, you may have considered installing a different type of material such as wood or vinyl plank, but at the end of the day, one of the most hassle-free and inexpensive options is to simply put down more carpet. In the effort of saving time and money though, you may be wondering if you can simply lay new carpet over the existing carpet. Is this installation method something that is possible?

You can lay carpet over existing carpet, but this is not a method that is typically encouraged. If you do lay carpet over carpet, be sure you have a low-pile carpet underneath to get tack strips a better chance for attaching and consider installing a light-grade underlayment.

Pulling up carpet is not something that typically takes a ton of effort, but if you are in the middle of flipping an area or are in need of an incredibly quick fix in order to sell a business or home, laying carpet over existing carpet may be your best option for getting things done quickly and efficiently. Therefore, to set the area up for the best results, you need to consider a few things first before going forward with this installation method.

For carpet to stay down, tack strips must be applied to the flooring all around the baseboards of each wall so that the carpet will stay in place. This is easy when you have an underlayment that is made of wood, as it easily grips the tacks inserted into the strip. Therefore, having a low-pile carpet gives you the greatest chance of tacks sticking, also leading to the possibility of laying down a thin underlayment between both carpets to give better grip and support.

Should You Put Carpet Over Carpet?

Woman laying on the carpet

When it comes to putting carpet over existing carpet, even though you can try this method, it is not typically something that is encouraged, as there are a handful of issues that this method can present during installation and after it has been completed. Although this may be something you are still considering, take a look below to find out what you need to consider before proceeding and why installing carpet over carpet isn’t really the best of ideas.

For the majority of carpet scenarios, you should not install new carpet over the existing material. The reasons behind this include difficulty getting the tack strips to install, that the carpet does not work as an appropriate underlayment material, and that mold and mildew can grow in between.

The first reason to try and avoid putting carpet over existing carpet is that the tack strips are typically hard to secure, especially when you are installing the strips over top of a high-pile carpet. The security of the tack strips is essential, as this is the base for which your new carpet will be held down to keep the carpet from moving due to traffic on top of it. If the carpet is too thick, the tack strips won’t attach properly, leading to the movement of the new carpet.

Secondly, although there is subfloor underlayment beneath the old carpet, the carpet itself does not work as a sound underlayment for the new carpet. Although the material is soft, carpets are designed to have a sturdy base beneath them so that they can not only wear properly, but have the right type of padding so that the carpet is neither too soft nor too hard when walking over it. Without a traditional underlayment, the carpet can wear improperly.

Lastly, when laying any type of floor, it is essential that the underlayment or subfloor is as clean as possible and free of any debris to not only ensure a secure installation, but helps to keep the space between the subfloor and the new floor free of any mold or mildew – things that occur when dirt is present in the space and mixed with humidity in the air. No matter how clean the old carpet may be, dirt will inevitably remain, making it an easy space for mold and mildew to grow.

How To Install Carpet Over Carpet

Woman is thinking

If you choose to install new carpet over your old carpet, there are a few things you need to do to ensure that this process completes as successfully as possible. You will start by removing the baseboards from the wall to make way for the tack strips to install. Keep in mind, the only way of placing tack strips on carpet successfully is that if you have a low-pile carpet – if high-pile carpet is what you are working with, consider installing a thin underlayment.

If the old carpet in the area is a high-pile carpet, consider laying a thin underlayment of plywood over top of the carpet so that the tack strips can easily grip to the surface, you can have a decent subfloor for the carpet, and you can ensure that there won’t be movement once complete.

Once you have the underlayment measured and installed, you will then install the tack strips along each wall for the carpet to grip onto. When this is done, you will start at a corner of the room and install the carpet with a knee kicker, giving a space of 3 inches between the wall and carpet. Once attached, you will then trim any excess carpet with a wall trimmer and use a power stretcher to attach the rest of the carpet on all other walls.

For the installation process, there are a few tools that are going to make this process much easier, which is good for those of you already trying to find a quick fix by laying carpet over carpet. The tools needed include a tack strip cutter, hand stapler, wall trimmer, top cutter, knee sicker, stair tool, power stretcher, razor knife, and a hammer. Be sure to have these ready and easily accessible before you start the installation process.

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