STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE

How to lay carpet

It's not hard to carpet a small to medium-sized room. Try to buy the best carpet you can afford, especially in hardwearing areas such as halls and stairs. For large areas that need carpet lengths joined edge to edge, a carpet fitter makes a neater job. So, for those smaller jobs, here's our guide about how to lay carpert

How to lay carpet

How to lay carpet

You will need:

  • Carpet
  • Underlay
  • Knee-kicker
  • Strong utility knife and spare blades
  • Tape measure
  • Double-sided carpet tape
  • Gripper strip
  • Pincers
  • Hammer
  • Saw
  • Threshhold bar
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver
  • 100mm (4in) wide bolster chisel
  • Tacks

How to choose carpets for your home
How to choose living room flooring
How to lay a stair runner
How to choose and fit carpet underlay


Time to complete job: Set aside a day for carpeting a small to medium-sized room.
Approximate budget: From around £120.

Tip: Before you lay the carpet, the floor must be smooth and level. Use a self-levelling compound to fill any rough parts of a concrete floor. If you have floorboards, lay hardboard sheets over the top and screw down to make a smooth flat surface.

For further information, log on to The Contract Flooring Association.

  • Step 1: Fitting gripper strips

    Step 1: Fitting gripper strips

    To hold the edges of the carpet taut, fit gripper strips around the edge of the wall. Nail the strips about 6mm (1/5in) away from the face of the skirting so that the carpet edge can be tucked into the gap underneath the skirting board. Be careful when handling gripper strips as the gripper points are very sharp. You strips will have angled spikes, and they should slope towards the wall.

    TipIf you are unable to nail your strips to the floor, you can use a quick-setting polyurethane glue instead

  • Step 2: Fitting the underlay

    Step 2: Fitting the underlay

    If you're fitting a separate underlay, lay the sheets across the room and join the edges with double-sided carpet tape. Trim around the edges so that the underlay butts up to the gripper strips.

    Tip: It's worth fitting a good quality thick underlay whatever type of carpet you choose as it will extend the life of carpet.

  • Step 3: Unrolling

    Step 3: Unrolling

    Start by unrolling the carpet and aligning one straight edge with a straight section of wall. Fix the carpet to the grippers on this side.

    Smooth out any creases and use a knee-kicker to stretch the carpet between this wall and the opposite wall and push it onto the gripper strip spikes opposite.

    Tip: If your carpet is patterned, keep checking that it's symmetrical and adjust if needed.

  • Step 4: Fixing

    Step 4: Fixing

    Use your hands or a rolling pin to push out any small creases, working from the middle of the room outwards. Fix the remaining sides to the gripper strips. Use a bolster chisel to push the carpet into the gap between the skirting and the gripper strips.

  • Step 5: Trimming

    Step 5: Trimming

    Trim off the waste carpet with a utility knife held at around 45 degrees to the skirting board. Use smooth even strokes to cut the carpet so that the edge just tucks under the skirting board.

    Push the carpet firmly against any other obstacles such as the door frame and trim with the knife. Make a neat corner by cutting away a triangular section of the waste carpet so the edges will lay flat ready for the final trimming.

    Tip: Replace the utility blades regularly so that you can make clean cuts and don't have to force the blade.