So I already told you that I got rid of my son’s toddler bed (read post) and I want to build him a loft bed, but won’t do it until I get the carpet in his room replaced. Because I’m cheap and pretty impatient, I decided to do the demo myself (read post) while waiting to hear from the carpet guy my friend recommended. Oh, and I painted the room while I waited to get some estimates. And then I got tired of waiting and decided to just install the carpet myself. Shocker. I know.
Install Tack Strips
Usually you can leave the old tack strips in place, but a lot of my tacks were rusty from water coming in the window, so I removed those strips and replaced them. It makes me laugh how even something as simple as carpet tack strips can be improved upon. I used these tack strips from Home Depot that have an angled edge to help hold the carpet in place and the nails are already in there, so I just hammered them down. Easy peasy. Just don’t touch the tacks! Ouch!
The first step of the install was to put down new padding. I sure wish hubby had carried the padding upstairs when he brought it home because that stuff is A LOT heavier than you’d think. I gave the roll a big bear hug and lugged it up the stairs. Installing carpet pad is pretty straightforward. Roll it out (opposite direction than carpet will be laid) and staple it down. I’m so glad I bought that pneumatic staple gun because it made the install super fast. (Read New Tools Make Me Happy post.)
In-stock carpet, the kind that comes on the roll at Home Depot or Lowe’s, is usually priced by the square foot but sold by the linear foot. Which basically means you are going to end up buying more than you need. For instance, my son’s room measures (rounding up) 16′ X 11′. Which is 176sq.ft. His closet is 3’X6′, adding another 18sq.ft. But I can’t just go to the store and get the 194 square fee as if I were buying tile or hardwood. The carpet I chose comes in a 12 foot width, so I can only buy 12 sq ft at time. Because I want to include the closet, I will go by my two longest measurements, 18’10” and 10’6″. The width has to be 12 feet (because that’s how the carpet comes) and I need to buy 19 foot length. Really, I’ll need 20 feet because there has to be overhang on both ends. Plus, the carpet you buy off the roll is probably NOT square.
My tips for buying in-stock carpet:
1) Draw a diagram and take measurements. Include all closets and niches.
2) Choose the orientation and decide if 12 or 15 foot width is best for you. (My room was under 12 feet wide, so I went with 12 foot. Had I gone with 15 foot, I would have just thrown out a 3 foot wide strip and lost money on the unneeded material.)
3) Bring your diagram to the store so the dude (or chick) can make sure you got it right.
4) Be patient. It takes a heck of a long time for them to cut the carpet and package it up for you.
5) Record the specifics and save your receipt. All the in-stock carpets look pretty much the same, so make sure to snap a picture of the sign or jot down all the info so you can find your carpet again easily. Keep the receipt and warranty info in a safe place so you can find it if you ever need it. (I used Stainmaster Aristocrat II in Pale Clay. It’s only $.99/sq.ft. at Lowe’s!)
Cutting the Carpet
The easiest/biggest place to do that is outside, so hubby had to help me get the carpet roll out there. We unrolled it, I measured it, and then I cut it. My research told me to leave an extra 3 inches on each side. I used a regular razor blade with a fresh blade. I guess it cut easily enough, but I sure was stressed-out the entire time thinking I was going to mess it up. The thought of ruining that piece and having to get another one was pretty horrifying. But it was all good. No need to worry.
Laying the Carpet
We rolled that bad boy up again and carried it upstairs. Definitely a two person job. We stuck it in the room and it looked like this. Little did I know how hard it was going to be to trim those 3″ off once we got it in there.
Anyway, the knee kicker worked just fine and it was easy to stretch the carpet over the tacks. It was not, however, easy to trim the carpet after it was attached to the tacks. I even sent hubby back to the store to buy one of these wall carpet cutters. It was crap. It didn’t cut well at all, but it did help tuck the carpet down between the tack strip and the wall. I just used the regular razor blade to cut.
This is what it looked like when it was finished about an hour later.
Cutting around the closet was the trickiest. But I did a little at a time and didn’t screw it up. Yay!
Installing carpet is weird. It’s not as rewarding as laying hardwood. I kept wondering if I was finished. The carpet just sits there. But I do LOVE the way the new carpet looks and feels (and smells) and so does the rest of the family. I can’t wait to do the other bedrooms. Smart Jr. is next followed by her sister. Not sure what I’m going to do in the massive master bedroom yet. We’ll see.
Oh, I almost forgot the cutest part. My little man cut school the next morning to go to Lowe’s with me and pick out new vent covers. The old ones were all rusty and even this DIY nut didn’t feel like painting them. He chose white. And he installed them himself. Took off the wrapper and shoved them into place. LOVE HIM!
I better finish that loft bed soon because my newest nephew was just born this week and he’s got dibs on that crib mattress. 🙂