Installing carpet yourself is challenging but not impossible. Here are some of the specialty tools you'll need; you can buy them, but it is cheaper to rent the larger equipment.
- Tackless Strips: These are strips of wood with angled pins that catch the back of the carpet and hold it in place. They are laid against the walls around the room.
- Knee-Kicker: This is a tool, about 18 inches (46 centimeters) long, with "teeth" that grip the carpet and a solid end that you will "kick" with your knee to jam the carpet into the edges of the room.
- Carpet Stretcher: While it may look of a medieval torture device, this is used to stretch the carpet once you've "kicked" it into place. The carpet stretcher ensures that the carpet is even and won't bulge or look out of place.
- Seam Roller: These come in both smooth and spiked or starred varieties. The seam roller is used to press down on the carpet to ensure that it sticks to the adhesive beneath it.
Professional vs. DIY Carpet Installation
Before you decide to plunk down the money for a pro, you might want to know more about the advantages and disadvantages of DIY installation.
Right off the bat, a major advantage of installing your own carpet is that you will save money, because the usual expenses of installation, labor and old carpet removal will be eliminated. The only large costs on your end will be the carpet itself and any specialty tools that you might need to rent or buy (see sidebar). Also, the timing of the job is entirely up to you. Instead of waiting for the installation window most companies give you, you can begin the job whenever you wish and work at your own pace. Finally, the quality of the job is in your hands. If you're worried about hiring a company only to find out later that they have done a poor job, then this is your chance to make your carpet look its best.
That being said, there are definitely some downsides to tackling the project on your own. For example, if you find that the installation is a bit more difficult than you expected, but you have already laid some portions and cut others, then your carpet warranty will most likely no longer be honored. So, if you've done a poor job, there's no one to help you cover the cost. Also, the equipment can be difficult to use and may cause problems for someone who has never tried to lay carpet before. While carpet installation can be a DIY project, it's important to remember that it's also a large undertaking and one that requires a lot of work and determination.
If you have decided against DIY installation, it's time to look into what a professional job can offer. First, let's see how you can find a reputable installer in your area.