How to lay and fit your carpet

Fitting your carpet yourself

Fitting carpet is a skilled job, so we always recommend that you employ the services of a professional fitter in your local area by using the many online trade directories and sites, such as Trusted Trader, Rated People, My Builder and many others.

If you are skilled at DIY, or have fitted flooring before, then you may wish to give it a try. Below, we have prepared a quick guide of the key points to help you understand the fitting process.

Tools required

First, you will need a few tools. A carpet stretcher, a carpet bolster, a Stanley knife and a supply of sharp blades, some double sided tape and ideally some knee pads. Plus a hacksaw for cutting the gripper rods.

Underlay and gripper rods

Before you begin to fit your carpet, you will need to ensure your room is empty of furniture and any old flooring is removed. Ensure the surface is flat and even. Gripper rods will need to be fitted around the perimeter of the room if they are not fitted already and you may also need to fit underlay.

Some carpets can be fitted without underlay, but most will benefit from some form of underlay for added comfort, warmth, sound insulation, particularly for upstairs rooms, and to lengthen the life of your carpet. If you already have underlay and grippers fitted, then great!… skip the next section.

Fitting gripper rods and door bars

Lay the gripper rods around the room, cutting them into lengths with a hacksaw where necessary. Our grippers come with pre-fitted nails, suitable for screed or floorboards, which makes fitting easy. (If unable to use grippers, eg, when fitting over ceramic tiles, use a combination of carpet spray adhesive and double sided tape). Fit the grippers approximately 1.5cm from the edge of the skirting board, or walls, everywhere except the doorways. Make sure the sharp gripper spikes face towards the walls.

Use a gripper door bar to match your flooring where they meet in any doorways. Door bars have the same sharp spikes to hold and grip the carpet.

Fitting underlay

Fitting underlay is far easier than fitting carpet. It doesn’t need to be quite as precise, it’s easier to cut and it comes in smaller widths, so it’s easier to manoeuvre.

Fit the underlay up to the edge of the grippers, covering the entire room, and taking care to join the lengths underneath with double sided tape to prevent movement when laying the carpet.

Fitting carpet

First you will need to roll out the carpet. For larger rooms you will need some assistance with this, due the the heavy weight. Make sure any pattern or stripes etc are completely square to the longest, or most prominent wall.

Carpet is heavy, ensure you have some assistance when manouvering it into position

Once your carpet is in position, it’s time to start cutting. Take you time with this and perhaps practice if you have a few off cuts, or spare pieces.

Start in one the corner of the room. Fold and tuck the carpet into the corner. Then trim off the excess carpet, but leave 10cm of carpet remaining. You will trim off this excess at the end of the fitting process.

Roll the carpet out and position it in the centre of the room, with an equal excess on all sides

Now, go to the opposite corner of the room and repeat the process, again, leaving approximately 10cm which you will trim off later. Next move along the longest wall and then the remaining walls.

Stretch the carpet

At all stages, stretch the carpet into the corners using the stretcher tool to grip up and over the gripper rods and up to the walls until there are no ripples remaining and the carpet is taut and completely flat.

Starting in the corner, push the carpet into the walls with a carpet gripper tool and trim off any large excess of material, leaving approx 10cm of carpet to trim off later

Now it’s time to trim the excess. Fold the 10cm excess carpet over on itself and cut into the back of the carpet, cutting away the excess, but leaving enough remaining, so that you can fit the carpet into the grippers and tight into the wall and beneath the skirting. Be careful you do not cut too far through the carpet and into the carpet beneath. Always err on the side of caution and cut off too little, rather than too much. You can always refine your cut.

Finish the edges

Use the carpet bolster to force the carpet onto the grippers, up to the wall and beneath the skirting boards to give a perfect finish.

Finally, with the carpet pressed and stretched into the wall and over the gripper rods, trim off the excess and tuck the carpet, tight into the wall and under the skirting
Fitting carpet on stairs

For stairways, the process is similar. You will need to fit a gripper rod at the back of each tread and at the base of each riser to safely grip the carpet when it’s in use. The spikes on the tread gripper will face back, towards the riser and the spikes on the riser gripper will face down, towards the tread.

Treat each step separately, fitting each individual step in turn from bottom to top. Work your way up the stairs, using your carpet stretcher and bolster to force the carpet into the 90 degrees angle at the back of the stair between the two gripper rods. Remember the top riser, which meets the landing at the top of the staircase should always be part of the landing carpet. I.e. the landing carpet will fold over and down the first riser to meet the first top tread, so there is no join at the top of the stairway.

Further information

You will find numerous helpful videos on YouTube to assist you and to give you further confidence to tackle this challenging, but achievable task. Good luck!