Installing Carpet over Concrete or Tile

Installing carpet over a concrete or tile floor is a great way to make a room warmer. Carpeting will also reduce echoes and create a safer play environment for children.

Installing carpet on a concrete or tile floor is similar to other installations, but requires different techniques for holding the carpet in place.

You'll also need to confirm that the carpet won't be damaged by exposure to excessive moisture. In high moisture environments, you'll need to correct the moisture problem or consider an indoor/outdoor carpet.

Tackle Moisture First
It is important to avoid installing carpet over concrete that is subject to damp conditions. To test your floor for moisture, lightly tape a 2' x 2' sheet of plastic over a portion of the floor, sealing all edges. Leave the plastic in place for 24 hours. If the plastic has moisture underneath it, then you'll need to seal the concrete with a moisture sealer or waterproof paint.

Getting Tacky
Wall to wall carpeting is typically installed using tackless strips. A tackless strip is a thin piece of wood that is pierced with small metal barbs. The metal barbs grab and hold the carpet without the need for tacking or stapling. Tackless strips come with nails pre-set in the wood. Tackless strips are installed by nailing the pre-set nails into the sub floor.

Tackless strip should be applied to the entire perimeter of the room, spaced about ½" away from the walls. Don't install tackless strip across doorway thresholds. The barbs on the tackless strips should face the wall. Don't leave gaps where two pieces of tackless strip meet, and don't use pieces of tackless strip that don't have at least two mounting nails in them.

Carpet or Tile?
If you're installing carpet over concrete, you'll need to purchase tackless strips that come with concrete or masonry nails installed. This type of tackless strip usually has a "C" in its part number or will have the word "concrete" printed on it. Concrete nails are designed to penetrate and hold concrete better than standard nails.

If you're installing carpet over tiles, you'll need to use a contact cement or two-part epoxy to glue the tackless strips to the tiles. Remove the pre-set nails from the tackless strip before applying. Follow the manufacturer's directions for your adhesive and only apply adhesive to the tiles-try to avoid getting adhesive in the grout. Allow the glue to dry completely before proceeding with carpet installation.

Next Steps
Once you've applied the tackless strips to your concrete or tile floor, the rest of the carpet installations should proceed normally. You'll need to fix carpet padding in place with two-sided tape or an adhesive, since you won't be able to staple it down.

Use a knee kicker and power stretcher (available for rent) to affix and stretch the carpet onto the tackless strips.

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