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How to Install Carpet Without Tack Strips

How to Install Carpet Without Tack Strips

Congratulations, you’ve bought the carpet of your dreams. You want to install it yourself, possibly to offset the high-value purchase, you want to save money, you’re the DIY type, or cannot entrust the task to anyone else. However, you don’t want to grapple with those nasty tack strips, so how do you do it?

Installing carpet on stairs without tack strips can be achieved through the “waterfall” or “cap and band” methods, using staples or adhesive instead.

First, measure each stair to cut your carpet pieces accurately. Begin at the top of the stairs and apply a heavy-duty carpet adhesive to the stair surface where the carpet will lay.

Press the carpet onto the adhesive, making sure it adheres smoothly and evenly.

Use a carpet stapler to staple the edges of the carpet to the riser and the back of the tread, spacing staples about 3 inches apart.

Tuck the carpet under the nosing of each stair and staple securely. Continue this process for each stair, working your way downward. Always make sure the carpet lays flat and smooth as you proceed.

What Are Tack Strips?

What Are Carpet Tack Strips?

Also known as tackless strips, these are skinny strips of wood lined with sharp metal tacks angled toward the wall. Pelletier Rugs refer to tackless carpet installation as a means of securing the carpet with these strips, which are either nailed or glued to the floor around a room’s edges.

Home Depot explains that tackless strips are called so because you don’t need individual tacks to hold the carpet in place by using them. Other advantages of tack strips are: they prevent the glue from getting loose, keep the carpet from sagging, and eliminate the need to put tacks in high-traffic areas.

Should You Install Carpet Without Tack Strips?

Should You Install Carpet Without Tack Strips?

Some carpet installers do not recommend it because the carpet won’t stay put otherwise. They also believe that not using tack strips, like installing carpets with just glue and nails, will make the installation less durable. This doesn’t mean you’re stuck with using tack strips. There are ways of getting around them.

Some prefer not to use tack strips to make carpet removal easier, especially if they plan on periodically changing carpets or practice seasonal remodeling.

Another reason is tack strips leave ugly marks and holes on wood. This will be a big problem when it’s time to sell the property, and the future owner wants to change the carpet. Also, tacks won’t adhere to concrete flooring or other hard surfaces.

Tack Strip Alternatives

Tack Strip Alternatives

There are other ways of installing carpets without tack strips. Here are a few:

Carpet Tiles

If you haven’t already bought a carpet, get carpet tiles or carpet squares instead. They suit DIYers because they are quick and easy to install. You don’t have to stretch out any portion of the carpet. You don’t need nails, boards, extra adhesive, or tack strips. If one tile gets damaged, you can easily take it out and switch it with a new one without having to yank out the entire carpeting.

Georgia Carpet Industries Inc. and Shaw Philadelphia Carpet Tile are suppliers of this carpet type. They have peel-and-stick models too.

Carpet Adhesive

For tack strip-free installation, use an industrial carpet adhesive called carpet seam epoxy. Its ultra viscous synthetic latex resins make great replacements to tackless strips. You can use epoxy on wood and concrete. It doubles as a seam adhesive to stop the edges of the carpet from getting frayed. It normally sets within 15 minutes and completely cures in half a day to one day.

EnviroStik recommends its Spray Tack carpet adhesive, available at home depots, hardware stores, and carpet supply shops. Spray Tack is an adhesive that you can spray on for fast application. It is used for bonding surfaces to various substrates. It allows for efficient positioning and attachment of the carpet to the subsurface.

The product’s splatter spray system ensures a wide and even coverage. Its strength, flexibility, and weatherproof structure ensure a tight bond. It is appropriate for needle-punch carpet installation.

Another top recommended product is the D-815™ Carpet Seam and Multi-Use Adhesive.


It’s important to use a special tape to attach carpets to floors and especially stairs. Carpets should be tight on each step. Otherwise, someone may trip or miss a step avoiding the errant one while going up or down the stairs. One recommended is the Johnsonite® OEM Anti-Slip Tread Tape, typically used for providing safety and slip resistance to carpets on stairways.

Tarkett also sells stair treads and risers, which are part of an integrated stairwell management system that minimizes slippage risk and ensures safe, controlled traffic flow.

Double-Sided Tape

Although its main use is to link carpet seams and set border edges in place, heavy-duty double-sided carpet tape is designed to install carpets. One side of the tape is for adhesion to the floor. The other side is for securing the bottom of the carpet.

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on September 26, 2020.

Double-sided tape isn’t recommended as the only means for securing carpet on stairs because its adhesive properties deteriorate over time. This may cause sections of the carpet to slide, making it prone to accidents. You can add another material or method to reinforce adhesion, such as stapling or combining it with a stronger adhesive.


Staples can penetrate carpet material and grasp solid wood, providing a safe, tight, and secure fit. Securing carpets with staples ensure they do not tear. However, like tacks, staples deface the underlying wood. They get rusty over time and may cause the carpet to deteriorate faster in areas they poke through. As with tacks, they cannot be used on concrete.

Carpet Underlay

This is meant for concrete floors or other cold, hard surfaces. It isn’t a good idea to just lay carpet over concrete flooring. As concrete is cold, and a carpet generates heat when placed on top of it, moisture and condensation may form underneath the carpet. The dampness can act as a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and bacteria.

The solution is to place a high-quality synthetic underlay, not just to provide a barrier between flooring and carpeting, but also for added cushioning and comfort. The Complete Carpet Company sells carpet underlays.

Make sure the underlying padding is of excellent quality. Even inexpensive carpets will last longer and perform optimally if the padding is of quality material, like high-density memory foam.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on September 26, 2020.

Magnetic Flooring

Again, if you haven’t already bought your carpet, you may want to consider a different type of flooring more convenient and easier to install. Georgia Carpet also sells magnetic flooring.

How to Install Carpet Without Tack Strips

How to Install Carpet Without Tack Strips

One way is to use padding or underlay underneath the carpet and tack this down with a stapler. Carpets with underlays won’t slide or move.

Another method is to use adhesive. The kind of glue for use in carpet installation should be one that ensures longevity, durability, and a tight bond. Examples are mentioned above. Another is AAT 1132, which is a thick, strong, long-lasting synthetic latex. You can spread it on with a putty knife. It is available at Bond Products and other online retailers.

  1. After extensively cleaning and drying the floor, apply a layer of adhesive to all corners of the area to be carpeted using a trowel. The glue should cover an area 12 to 16 inches long.
  2. Place the carpet onto the desired position.
  3. Smooth it out until all lumps and wrinkles are gone.
  4. Press down the carpet onto the glue with a straight hard plastic bar, wooden plank, or roller.

If you don’t want to deal with tack strips or are hesitant to cover up hardwood floors, use a large area rug instead. Attach it to a rubber grip pad to prevent it from sliding out of place. 

If you’re on a budget, cut a section of carpet to the size you require, bind the edges to keep them from fraying and use it as a gigantic rug. Many people would never consider wall-to-wall carpets if they have gorgeous flooring.

Final Thoughts

If you don’t want to mess with tack strips and enjoy your carpet right away, you now have the power to choose quick-install alternatives. We hope the suggestions above will help make your choice easier.

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on September 26, 2020.

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