Doing a DIY Carpet installation can literally save you thousands. The general materials required are easy to find and use. Ultimately, you can replace your own carpet the DIY way, and add professional flair to your install.

 

DIY Carpet installation
How to install carpet padding and carpet yourself!

 

Removing old carpet

Use gloves and a utility knife to create a quick and safe install. Work with pieces of carpet that are no longer than 5×5 ft. because they are more manageable. This does not have to be pretty or using straight cuts, just cut and roll up and discard. Use gloves because of the saturation of the carpet. In my experience, our carpet was installed in 1995 and we had 2 dogs, we moved in in 2012. So that is many years of dog pee, poop, and whatever else was absorbed since 1995. You get the picture and this may be a very familiar picture. But again, keep it simple and clean use your gloves and a respirator if available. 

Remove the carpet first, and then the padding. This will allow you to maintain better control over the dust, debris, etc. Once the carpet is gone, work on the padding in the same manner. Cut 5×5 sections (sections could be smaller, 5×5 ft works for me, I am 6ft tall). One thing to note with removing the carpet padding, it is most likely stapled to the floor and/or glued in sections. Use a pry bar, flat head screw drew, even a flat head drill bit and a slight press on the trigger of the drill to loosen staples. Be very careful because saturated staples are often rusty and very brittle and can cut you or puncture your gloves (I learned the hard way).

Capet Installation Materials

  • Carpet Foam
  • Carpet
  • Knee Kicker
  • Seamer
  • Some Seam Tape (if applicable)
  • A Seam Roller (if applicable)
  • Seam Iron (if applicable)
  • Staple gun
  • Utility knife or razor blade/box cutter
  • Pry bar
  • Tack Strips
DIY How to install carpet padding
Carpet padding is an area that impacts how your carpet feels to walk on.

How to install Carpet Padding

For the remainder of this post, I will refer to carpet padding as either carpet padding or carpet foam. Using the terms interchangeably. What I have learned in the DIY world is, many things are referred to as different names and terms used interchangeably. My goal is to provide some clarity but also familiarity with the terms, tools, and materials, all involved in DIY. The carpet foam is an area where you don’t want to skimp simply because this has a huge impact on the softness of your carpet.

You ever visit someone’s house and walking on their carpet feels like a hardwood floor? Think cheap, low quality carpet foam. Carpet foam is relatively inexpensive in the grand scheme of things. Unfortunately, to my knowledge you can’t buy it cut to size but rather in big rolls as much as 274ft for $99.

 

Why you need good carpet foam

The good thing about carpet padding is it’s the easiest part of the installation. Basically, you roll out this very light foam and cut it to size. Roll it right out to about 1/4 inch before the tack strip. This allows for space when you use the knee kicker to move the carpet closer to the wall and tack strip. That space will keep the carpet foam from going onto the tack strip as well. Be careful with the space you choose to leave between the tack strip and carpet foam because this may create a groove or divot around the wall. Use staples to keep foam in place.

When it comes to carpet, the colors and price range can accommodate your taste and budget. Yes, there is even clearance carpet, not because it’s worn or anything else just not selling and it’s time to clear the shelf. So think about your color scheme and purpose for carpet. If you have pets make sure your carpet choice and carpet foam support pets i.e., Stainmaster.

DIY Carpet Installation Tools 

How to use a knee kicker for carpet installation
How to use a knee kicker for DIY carpet installation

Now, I’ll talk about tools for installation. The knee kicker is a tool that you basically “knee” or hit with your knee to pull the edges of the carpet onto the tack strip and close to the wall. Some professional installers use a knee kicker and carpet stretcher but we can create a very similar effect if we position the knee kicker at ideal locations around the room.  

How to use a knee kicker

To use the knee kicker, remove safety plate to expose the teeth. Then place it in the desired location on the carpet. Using your knee, drive your knee into the soft pad on the square surface of the knee kicker. The effect is that your knee will force the teeth to grip, lift, and move the carpet forward towards wall and up and onto tack strips.

Tack Strips

The purpose of the tack strips are to provide a base for the carpet to adhere to. The tack strips should be placed 1/4 to 1/2 inches from the wall to create a gully for the carpet to get tucked into. Here is what to expect: your carpet has a textured pattern underneath and the tacker strips have nail type structures going through the wood and exposed. The purpose of those nail type structures is to grip and hold the carpet in place. If you ever need to troubleshoot a carpet that has bulges in it, start with the knee kicker. If you continue in your troubleshooting, you might arrive at improper install of padding, absence of padding, or low quality carpet padding. All easy fixes.

Don’t listen to everything you hear about carpet installs

Some people are recommending standing in the center of your carpet and jumping towards the wall to move the carpet. I have not tried this and I don’t recommend it. If this is effective, knee kickers wouldn’t sell and would not be available.  

 

DIY Carpet Tack Strip install
Tack Strip 8.00 @ Amazon

 

One final note about tack strips, if they were installed previously you do not need to replace them. This is true for about 99% of the time. Those of us with pets know our pets have weird habits and they can get pee in places we’d never imagine. If you know or discover your pet has saturated your tack strips beyond repair, $25 bucks, replace them. Place them around the perimeter of the room and drive a nail through the pre-cut wholes.

How to install the Tack Strip or Transition Strip

Remember place the tack or transition strip 1/4 to 1/2 inches in front of the walls around the perimeter of the room. You will need a transition strip for areas such as going from your newly carpeted room to your hardwood floor in the hallway. Just add or replace the transition strip, drive the nails (3 should do). Use the knee kicker in the same way as the tack strip with the transition strip. Get the carpet close enough to the transition strip and call it a day.

At this point you have your tack strip installed and your foam laid out. Your foam has been stapled into place as well. If you have a full roll of carpet that was measured previously to fit the size of your room, this should be fairly easy. Even if you need to seam the carpet together, not a big deal. It sounds worse than it is. 

How to unroll your Carpet
Unroll your carpet quick and easy

How to install the carpet yourself

  1. Place carpet roll at wall where the roll has clearance to roll towards other wall as in the picture above.
  2. Unroll the carpet towards the far wall.
  3. Measure and cut as needed.
  4. Use the knee kicker to tighten up install

Placing the carpet in a position at the edge of one wall, with clearance to roll it out towards the other wall is critical. This allows the carpet to be unrolled. You to be able to cut the plastic and roll the carpet towards the other wall. This keeps it simple for you. Another important thing to do is continue to measure and cut. In most cases, it is advised to order anywhere from 6-12 inches more than measured simply because sometimes it is sold at a size slightly higher than needed. Also, think of it this way, once you cut it, it’s gone! So you don’t want to cut too much. Be conservative and in doing so, let’s say you didn’t cut enough and it’s a tight fit with excess carpet, now you can continue to adjust because you have something to work with. 

How to stop carpet from bunching – the DIY way

At this point, once the carpet is rolled out and cut, you want to use the knee kicker to place the edges of the carpet in the gully. The gully is the space between the tack strip and the trim or wall of the room. In most cases there is a very small space underneath the wall or trim that you should work excess carpeting into after using the knee kicker.

After you have used the knee kicker, look at your room. Do you notice any bulging, frayed edges, is your carpet bunching? If so, use the knee kicker. Use the knee kicker while keeping in mind the need to move the bulge away from the specific location. This may require you to cut the edge and reduce the slack from the bulge but using the knee kicker and kicking towards the area you cut. Now, the bulge should be gone. Also, note that bulges can be created or removed based on temperature fluctuations. I recommend leaving the windows open if it is summer, fall or spring to account for the temperature and humidity, for a few days before knee kicking further. 

Congratulations, you have completed your DIY Carpet Installation!

 

DIY Carpet installation tools
DIY Carpet installation

Other Helpful Resources

DIY Window Flashing
DIY How to Fix Rotted Wood
Window Replacement Installation
DIY Window Remodel – Removing an Old Window

 

 

So you want to do a DIY Window Remodel? First, the most important thing you need to have is what Napoleon Hill calls a burning desire, Angela Duckworth calls it Grit, and Bob Proctor refers to it as Faith. Which simply stated by Dr. L, myself, is belief that you can do something. Faith is extremely important because it allows you to form that vision in your mind of what the intended outcome will look like. In this case a replacement window that opens and closes with no drafts!

Let the Planning Begin

After you have identified your vision, it’s time to plan the steps to bringing that vision from your mind into reality. Ok, ok, before I get too philosophical, let’s get back to that window. Your plan must include the necessary tools, prep work, and help you will need. 

Here is the plan I used for Removal:

DIY Window Remodel Plan – Removal

-At least 2 People

-A Dumpster 

-Pry Bar

-Hammer

-Multipurpose Painter’s Tool

-Recipricating Saw

-Screw driver (both Flat and Phillips)

-Drill (I prefer Ryobi not because of any affiliation but because of the reliability)

-An assortment of Drill bits

DIY Accessing and Removing the Window Stop

Pretty hefty plan and it was time for removal. A DIY Window Remodel requires removing the old window and installing the new or replacement window. I previously learned from the local window installer who gave me an outrageous quote that I needed to remove the window stops on the sides of the window, located immediately inside the window trim. Basically you take those out and you can access the window sashes. Sounded great and it was even confirmed by YouTube videos. But that advice was horribly wrong because to get to the window stops, I needed to remove the entire window trim.

DIY Remodel Window Stop Removal.JPG copy
DIY Remodel and Window Stop Removal

So what I really needed to do to remove the windows is in the picture below.

DIY remodel window trim removal
DIY remove the Window Trim

The tool in my hand is a Pry Bar. I never heard of a pry bar until it was time to remove my old Anderson Windows. Wait a minute, I should’ve called this post, How to Remove Your Anderson Windows. It’s got a great ring to it! 

Moving forward, the photo shows that I have already removed the left side of the window trim. Be cautious because I didn’t realize until after I was done, but the trim is interconnected at the joints and it may be that way for you too. In most cases you won’t know unless you’ve installed the window yourself. No worries if you mess up. The damage done is nothing a nail gun, some caulk, and/or some wood filler can’t fix.

After you remove the window trim, you will be able to access the window stops. Use your pry bar and some patience to remove the window stops. The window stops keep the sashes in place and once the window stops are gone, you can quickly remove the sashes. Depending on the kind and brand of window, you may have to cut the pulley mechanism. At this point you can remove the sashes 1 by 1. Then the screen and lastly the storm windows. The frame for the storm window is usually drill in on the outside of the window into the wood molding. Should be about 6 Phillips head screws and your done! Please that

Once you have removed the sashes and the storm window and frame, you can begin cleaning the window frame in preparation for the new window. You may want to use a vacuum, you may need to repair precious wood that is or has been rotting. For this you can use Wood Filler and a sander.

At this point you should have a clean window frame without window stops or trim. Next read DIY removing encasement windows.

 

Other Helpful DIY Resources

We are all DIYers

At Home DIY

 

 

Welcome current and future Do it Yourselfers DIYers

We are all DIYers at heart; sometimes it takes years and much motivator to make this discovery. For our story, it took years and financial motivation. My wife and I have been married for several years. However, this year we began to really accomplish the impossible. I am just an ordinary guy and she is an ordinary woman. Actually, we are pretty extraordinary in the things we accomplish together. We finally started a joint savings account like a year after we got some monetary wedding gifts. That was a big hurdle!

The biggest hurdle to date has been working as Do it Yourselfers (DIYers).

We had an epiphany last fall 2019. The epiphany came from our thought of moving closer to work and our family. I am an elementary principal, it is a very fun job and I am very proud to be a principal. My wife is a teacher at a daycare. She loves it, it makes her light up with her stories of Clementine and so many other children. The stories about her coworkers…let’s just say that would take another blog by itself.

How to become a DIYer
In 2019, my wife and I became DIYers.

Every Do it Yourselfer has an epiphany

Anyhow, our epiphany led us to connect with our previous realtor (who will remain anonymous). We looked at a few homes, then it was time for the moment of honesty… The market analysis of our current home. Boy she low balled us big time, basically saying we wouldn’t be able to get what we paid for this house with the current condition. I mean it had Anderson windows everywhere. They had that brown polyurethane finish and they were single pane and most of the crank outs didn’t work as they were supposed to.

To make matters worse, we walked through every inch of our house only for her to identify things she wanted us to repair even though they were like that when she sold us the house (OMG). So we called the list of contractors her office provided. A contractor and a chimney (person) came out and after looking around told us absolutely not. Do not pay for the repairs that she is suggesting.

The motivation behind our transition to being DIYers

Long story very short, we fired her. Our new agent agreed that we needed at minimum new windows. We called her recommended contractor and we must have been looking very affluent that day because he suggested so many other repairs and told us be prepared to spend $25,000. In addition, we got a quote from a family owned window installer. That quote windows only was $25,000k and when I realized he was going to leave all the old wood in the window, I thought of that song that goes something like Hell Nah, to the nah, nah, nah, (Bishop Bullwinkle). Here is the shocker, when I said this is a bunch of crap, the install manager said, give me a moment to call the owner. The owner got it down to $17,000, and then $10,000 only if I committed to agreeing in 24 hours, Monday morning.

 

That week in December 2019, my wife and I became DIYers! We decided we would do our own windows. With that being said we have experienced much success doing our home ourselves and we want to share that knowledge of DIY home renovation projects, including our successes and how to avoid pitfalls. We hope you find everything you need to DIY small bathrooms, DIY Windows, DIY Flashing, DIY Painting, DIY Skim Coating, and more!

 

Good Luck DIYing,

Dr. & Mrs. L.

At Home DIY