May 5

Installing Pre-padded Carpet

Background

My wife and I were moving our two girls into the upstairs bedroom. However, the floor was a pine subfloor. My wife wanted the girls to have carpeting. With nearly 400 square foot of floor, it would easily cost over $1,000 to have carpeting installed professionally, and I wasn’t willing to drop that amount of money when there are so many other home projects. As a result, we weighed the options for pre-padded do-it-yourself carpet, and decided to give it a try.

With the pad attached there’s no need to stretch the carpet or use nail strips; the carpet is already the size it should be when placed. There’s also no need for separate padding installation.

Another advantage to pre-padded carpet is that the padding resists letting moisture penetrate to the subfloor.

I installed the carpeting on December 26 and 27, 2010.

The materials I purchased for this project include

  • 400 sq. ft. pre-padded carpeting from Menards (@.99/sq. ft.)
  • 2 boxes KangaTape
  • 2 boxes Duck Light Traffic Carpet Tape
  • 1 MasterForce Carpet Knife
  • 1 Ardell Round Corner Carpet Blades (5 pack)
  • 1 Bottle of Seam Glue

Total cost for this project was less than $500.

These are the steps I followed:

  1. Moved all furniture to another room or to the other half of the room to be carpeted.
  2. Removed doors and vent covers.
  3. Vacuumed and swept the area to be covered. (Note that the pictures were taken after I’d installed half the room’s carpet; you will see the edge of the installed carpet on the right side of the photos.)Bare Floor
  4. I began by applying KangaTape to perimeter of the room. KangaTape was similar to mesh drywall tape. It didn’t adhere very well, so I got a bucket of water and began cleaning around the edge to remove any dust that may still be present that could keep the tape from sticking. Afterward, the tape still didn’t stick very well — if at all. I peeled it up and set it aside to return it to Menards. I started over with the Duck brand tape, and it stuck much more effectively to the smooth surface. I taped the perimeter and in three feet strips three feet apart. I could have used more tape and made crosses or put the tape closer together, but since I’d only bought the two boxes I limited myself to make sure I had enough.Taping the floor
  5. Rolled out the carpet, paying attention to the direction of the pile. The pad on this carpet included a directional arrow. I made sure that the arrow (or pile) faced the same direction.Roll Out Carpet.
  6. Cut around the edges with the carpet knife. I used a six inch putty knife to help create a solid line to cut along, but the extra thickness of the pad along with the carpet itself dulled the blades very quickly. It was a good thing I bought extra blades because they did not last very long at all. A dull blade would tear the pad instead of cut it.Cut around the edges.
  7. For seams, I used glue. The seam was the most important line in the room because it needed to be perfect. I used two factory edges to make certain that they were straight. Many of the instructions I read about seaming showed lining up two pieces of carpet and cutting them, but with the pre-padded carpet, I wasn’t confident I could get a straight cut. ¬†With tape running along both edges, I also ran a bead of glue along the edge of the pad and then pressed the two edges together and onto the tape. However, the seam is still visible to me, though my more polite family members will feign confusion when I point it out and explain that they can’t see it. I think that we may have walked on it too quickly which ground the carpet into the glue, forcing some of the carpet fibers to stick in the glue and dry. I wonder if we would have left it for a day and not rushed to get the room put together whether the seams would have been as obvious. Simply using the tape may have created a better looking seam, but also a less secure seam. The seam is obvious when you walk over it, also, as it feels like a hard ridge. Again, I think this was the glue.
  8. After walking over all the taped areas, everything was vacuumed and the beds assembled and moved into the room.
  9. We moved two very excited girls into their own bedroom.Finished!

Final Thoughts

I was satisfied with the cost and ease of installation of pre-padded carpet. Although disappointed that the seam is visible, I’m not disappointed enough to pay three times as much for professionally installed carpet. The bedroom is not a high-traffic area; it’s a functional area for the children to sleep and play, and the slightly visible seam does little to detract from either.

If I had another bedroom that I wanted carpeted I would use pre-padded carpet without hesitation, especially if the room was less than twelve feet in width, since this would eliminate the need to seam.

One of the reasons I don’t like carpet is that it needs to be replaced more regularly than a solid wood floor. I would rather invest in the solid wood and have it for decades than in carpet that lasts for only a period of years. With pre-padded carpet, the cost is closer to what I would be willing to spend for the duration of the flooring. I can change it out without the guilt of a huge investment.

9 thoughts on “Installing Pre-padded Carpet

  1. Jess

    Hey Andrew
    I really enjoyed reading your blog on the padded carpet. I went into Menards today and asked how difficult it would be for me to replace 10 yr old builder grade carpet (it’s like felt at this point!). One man told me it would not be hard but that I would need quarter round to hold it down. I explained my carpeted room don’t have that only baseboards now. Can you tell me if you have any issues with carpet pulling away from under baseboards and if you did or did not install qtr round. I really don’t wanna do this but I do have a carpenter friend who could.
    Thanks, Jess

    Reply
    1. Andy (Post author)

      Jess,
      I did not use quarter round and the carpet tape has held fine along the edges. In fact, one of the things I’ve noticed about this pre-padded carpet is the padding itself tends to adhere to the surface beneath it. I’ve noticed this in the room itself with its pine plank floor and also with a small piece about 3 x 4 that I tossed onto the cement basement floor near a shelf where I have board games for the kids. That piece of carpet doesn’t budge, and when I pull it up to reposition it, I have to peel it away from the floor.
      The only reason I would add quarter round to this project is to hide some of my uneven cuts along the edges. I had a difficult time getting a good straight cut that fit snugly against the trim. I tried using a putty knife to hold the carpet down tightly, but when you are dealing with a long wall, there’s a lot of bulky material to deal, with and its easy to make a mistake. In truth, the cuts I made that were imperfect are hidden behind dressers anyway, so it wasn’t worth the expense, stress, or time, to add another step to the project.
      I hope this is helpful to you.

      Reply
  2. Andy Lindloff

    Thanks for this posting. I’ve already utilized this type of carpeting on some basement stairs with great success. Your experience helps support my use of it throughout other areas of my home. It is really easy to work with and much more cost effective than traditional carpeting. I completely agree that it wouldn’t be a hardship to replace it again years down the road. While professionally installed high quality carpeting ideally lasts a long time… if something does happen (stain), it is much more expensive to replace/fix.

    Reply
    1. Andy (Post author)

      Our sons’ room has the professionally installed carpet, so any stains are particularly annoying, whereas if they had been in the girls’ room, I don’t think I would have the same reaction.
      One thing my wife did notice about the pre-padded carpet in the girls room is that the spots where the bedposts have been since the carpet was installed seemed to have been rubbed down to the pad. This isn’t likely to be a big deal since there are very few ways to lay the room out because of the windows and lack of long walls, but it could be an issue for a different room with furniture that gets moved or rearranged.

      Reply
  3. Lori_in_the_D

    Thanks for posting this. It was very helpful. I installed some of the same menards carpet today. I too didn’t like the way the seam came out. Though I did not use glue, I had a very hard time getting the factory seam to meet together. It was very uneven which was something I didn’t expect.
    I think this carpet is good for rooms that are smaller and would not need two pieces.
    I put it in a basement so it’s not a very high traffic area but I’m not thrilled with it and wished I had bought traditional carpet and separate pad.
    I know you posted this some time ago, how is it wearing for you? Have you had any problems with the seam, unraveling, etc. ?

    Reply
    1. Andy (Post author)

      The bedroom is a really low traffic area, but I have been pretty happy with the carpet — especially for the price. It has not unravelled at all, and the seam has not been a problem other than I see it. Other people probably never notice it since anyone who steps foot in the room is likely more aware of my daughters’ dolls and dress-up clothes and pillows everywhere. My wife did notice that the spots where the beds sit seem to wear down and show the pad, but I just went upstairs to look again, and I don’t notice the spots where we changed one of the beds out, and if they really were worn, they should still be visible. Maybe it’s just that they were flattened and it appeared to be worn to the pad.
      I agree that this carpet is good for rooms that are smaller and don’t need a seam, unless you can hide the seam beneath furniture. I would use it in a bedroom again, but never a main room of the house.

      Reply
  4. Judy

    My sons cut and laid down carpet in my family room last weekend. They tried the tape you first used with same results. Then they were going to staple it but had trouble getting the humps out of the carpet to smooth out. They ended up leaving it lay this week hoping it might smooth out just laying there but I don’t see much difference. Any ideas? Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    1. Andy (Post author)

      With the pre-padded carpet, I don’t remember any problems with bumps, at least not after the edges were cut and the carpet was fitted to the room. I did pick the pre-padded type of carpet so I could avoid having to stretch it, because I know how bad I am at making the comforter of a bed lay flat; I can only imagine how bad I would be at stretching a carpet.
      I’m sorry I’m not more of a help.

      Reply

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