5 Things To Do Before Installing Carpet

Make sure to check out our updated carpet installation preparations for 2020 here!

Let's face it. The thought of replacing carpet in your home is as painful as getting a root canal. The amount of work involved in moving all the heavy dressers and disconnecting all the electronics is a total nightmare. Is there any way around it? No, that's why it's not something most people look forward too. The rooms have to be literally empty. Since there is no way to make this process completely work-free, here are 5 things you can do that can help a little.

1. Pull up your old carpet and pad. There are a lot of reasons to pull up your old carpet. For one, it saves you $2 per square yard. That means if you have a typical home, which takes about 200 square yards, it saves you $400. Yes, you would have to figure out how to dispose of it but that won't cost anywhere near what the installer will charge you. If there are squeaks in the floor, this is an excellent time to nail or screw the floor down also. If there was any pet damage (urine on the floor), this is the time to paint on the appropriate chemicals to eliminate that.

If you decide to do this, you don't need to pull up every staple holding the pad down. It is important to hammer down all the staples until they are flat to the floor. Any fuzz being held down by a staple needs to be knocked free and not sticking up. When you lay the new pad and carpet down, you will not feel the flattened staples under foot. Tack strips around the walls need to be left down also. Do not remove these unless they have pet damage to them, as well. These can be reused and if any parts need to be replaced, the installer will do so. If you chose to have the installer pull up your carpet and pad, make sure he knows about the squeaky floors and pet damage so both of you can plan for it.

2.Examine your door and molding heights. It's common that new carpet rubs against door bottoms after it is installed. Because this may damage the new carpet, the doors must be cut. This occurs when the new carpet and pad are thicker than the old. Finding this out when your house is in complete disarray is not acceptable. Speak to the salespeople or installers ahead of time to make sure this is being thought through. Sometimes the baseboard (called moldings) is set too low and the carpet cannot be tucked under it. Make sure this is examined ahead of time.

3.Furniture moving. As I said earlier, nothing can be in the room that is being carpeted. So what do we do with all the furniture? The installers move furniture everyday so they will do the heavy lifting. If you can do it, that will save you money. There needs to be a plan in place by you to instruct them on what can go where. In other words, you need to tell them what should go where to avoid damage and time loss. There are generally three things they cannot or won't move. If you have any of these, you need to figure out what to do. One, Pianos are generally too heavy and valuable to move. Two, water beds and pool tables are not something most installers will touch. Three, TVs and electronics are not something most installers will disconnect and reconnect. You may find someone that can tackle all three, but I highly doubt it, so have a plan.
4.Wall and molding paints. Have you ever felt the backing on carpet? It's like sandpaper. If it touches your walls or woodwork it can look like someone took a belt sander to it. Luckily, most installers are extremely cautious of it and many newer carpets have special backings that are smooth. However, there may be some damage to baseboards that is difficult to avoid, especially if they were painted recently. Some touch up paint may be required to walls and/or baseboards. Keep in mind, regardless of how good or careful an installer is, this can happen and is not always his fault.

5.Buy a Vacuum and have a plan. Re-carpeting a decent sized home with a quality carpet can run $10,000 or more. You need to have a maintenance plan in place beforehand to protect your investment. One of the most important things to know is that a new carpet needs to be vacuumed regularly. The amount of traffic dictates how often. When soil and/or debris get into the carpet and are not removed, regular foot traffic turns into major wear on the product. A vacuum with a beater bar is always the best choice. The beater bar vibrates the soil around so the suction can pick it up better.

Professional cleaning is the other part of maintenance. Just like a piece of clothing, the more you wash it the older it looks. Carpets need to be steam cleaned about once per year or once every other year depending on the amount of traffic. If you do it every 3-4 months, the carpet will age and look worn much quicker. The manufacturers rarely make customers show proof, but their warranty book states that the carpet must be professionally cleaned about once per year in order to stay within warranty.