Installing Pre-padded Carpet
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:
- Moved all furniture to another room or to the other half of the room to be carpeted.
- Removed doors and vent covers.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- After walking over all the taped areas, everything was vacuumed and the beds assembled and moved into the room.
- We moved two very excited girls into their own bedroom.
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.