Carpeting Options and DIY Installation Tips

Deciding what type flooring to install is a task many homeowners face when completing a home renovation or new home construction project. Carpeting, is a popular choice; with many types, styles, and grades from which to select. We will cover carpet styles, types, and fibers; the pros and cons of each, plus installation tips.

Carpeting Style, Grade, and Fiber Types

Carpet as a flooring option is a popular choice for many homeowners. It is available in many grades, styles, and fiber types.

Nylon is becoming the most widely used fiber of all, with several grades available. Homeowners desiring the most longevity from their carpet should opt for a high grade of nylon. Be aware, however, that carpeting cost for high grade nylon is significantly higher than that of lesser grades. Other types of popular carpet fibers include polyester, olefin, and wool.

There are several kinds of olefin. Polypropylene has been around for quite some time; it was first introduced under the brand name “Herculon.” Polyethylene (PET) was introduced during the 1990s; it is made from recycled plastic, such as shopping bags.

At first PET was touted to be a nearly indestructible; hailed as a stain-resistant, durable fiber highly suited for homeowners with small children. Now that carpets made using this fiber have been around for a few years, however, it seems they have not lived up to the hype that originally made them such a popular choice.

Wool has always been a favorite fiber for carpet, due in part to its longevity. It is most popular for specialty designer rugs using innovative new wool blends. However, wool wall to wall carpeting is also desirable for its luxurious look and feel; especially for formal areas of the home; despite the fact it is easily stained and tends to retain moisture - making it a poor choice for humid climates. Wool carpeting also requires special care when cleaning; the fiber may become discolored or damaged if the right cleaning agents aren't used.

Berber carpeting, whether sculptured or made using a low loop construction, is very popular; with Saxony and plush carpeting running a close second. Many homeowners opt for indoor outdoor carpeting for patio areas, providing that special design flair.

Commercial carpeting is available for businesses that require durable carpeting to stand up to a high volume of traffic. This type carpeting is usually a short pile construction of higher grade nylon, designed to withstand heavy use.

Carpeting and Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality can be greatly affected by poorly maintained carpeting. Carpeting serves as a giant air filter for the home; much more so than the furnace air filter in an HVAC system. When the air enters the home, quieter air movement allows contaminants to “settle out” and accumulate in the carpet; including dust, pollen, animal hair, dust mites, bacteria, and smoke.

The best way to deal with contaminant accumulation is by frequent vacuuming. All carpet manufacturers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommend daily vacuuming. A regular program of professional carpet cleaning is also recommended; at least once annually, or more under high traffic conditions.

While many homeowners may opt for a home carpet cleaner machine, manufacturers and the EPA maintain that the services of a truck mount carpet cleaner employing the steam/hot water extraction method is most effective in removing accumulations from deep within the carpet pile.

In fact, home carpet cleaning machines, as well as many rental machines, can actually damage a carpet because of the amount of moisture left in the carpet, as well as chemical residue. This can result in de-lamination of the latex backing, the growth of mold or mildew under the carpet, and premature re-soiling.

Homeowner Tips for Do It Yourself Flooring

When selecting carpet for floor covering installation, follow these helpful guidelines for success:

  1. When measuring to install carpeting, keep in mind that it comes on 12 and 15-feet wide rolls, and occasionally on 13-feet, 2-inches wide rolls. Indoor outdoor carpeting is available in 6-foot widths. Special attention must be given to ensure that the pile runs in the same direction, and seams are minimal. Also, areas yielding waste goods (such as where carpet meets vinyl) will be inevitable.
  2. Consumers must absorb the cost of waste goods, so precise carpeting measurements are necessary. Always allow a few extra inches around the perimeter of a room for the carpet to be tucked and trimmed.
  3. Before installing new carpeting, the old carpeting and pad must be removed; exposing the floor underlayment. To remove old carpeting, use a screwdriver or awl to loosen one corner, and then pull it off the tack strip around the room perimeter. Carefully pry loose metal or plastic edging; remove it from carpet. Pull up the pad, and scrape the floor using a scraper tool to remove stubborn chunks of pad and glue, or staples. Sweep the floor thoroughly; remove any bumps before installing new carpet.
  4. Unlike vinyl or linoleum, carpeting does not require a perfectly smooth, level subfloor or carpet underlayment. Even so, any staples remaining in the plywood subfloor should be pulled or hammered down; any obvious items protruding should either be removed or smoothed before installation. For extremely uneven seams or areas, floor leveling compound might be required. Generally speaking, however, carpeting is much more “forgiving” than vinyl or linoleum.
  5. Glue down carpeting must be scraped loose; remove as much glue as possible. Use a utility knife to cut the carpet into 4-foot strips before pulling or scraping it up. This will make the task much easier. Carpet and pad installed with tack strip is also much easier to handle when cut in this fashion.
  6. Most carpet installations require seams somewhere. Homeowners considering undertaking carpet seaming as a DIY flooring project should reconsider. Achieving a quality seam requires a special technique using a seam iron and carpet seam tape. This is a difficult procedure to master, and might be best left to a professional interior flooring contractor. In addition, for proper installation, carpet should be stretched in a specific stretching sequence using a special tool to achieve proper tension. A properly stretched carpet should lift no more than ½ to ¾-inch in the center of the room, when lifted by hand.

Locating an Carpet Flooring Contractor

For homeowners daunted by the task of installing or seaming carpeting, locating professional help is fast, easy and FREE at

Homeowners seeking an Austin TX home carpeting installer, for instance, a Dallas carpeting installer, or even a Phoenix carpet cleaner can sign up without cost or obligation. And then post their flooring project online where it is immediately visible to local professionals 24/7.

Member contractors also receive e-mail notification of new project postings in their locality, within their scope of services. And then provide competitive bids in days, even hours from project posting.

Homeowners can view company profile pages for each candidate online at; including references, licensing/insurance/credential information, customer comments, and photos of recent projects. And then make an informed hiring decision, or hire no one at all. Remember, there is no obligation whatsoever, and membership is free.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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