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Atypical carpet pitfalls?
January 5, 2013 9:00 AM   Subscribe

Can I semi-permanently install carpet this way?

I have a modest living room I would like to partially finish with wall-to-wall carpet. The carpet would be a simple 12x11 foot rectangle with no seams. I'd like it to be a semi-permanent installation, where I'd just lay down pad and carpet, carefully cut to the room. Three edges abut walls; the fourth I would finish with a screwed-down transition molding (this is over oak strip flooring). There is a shoe molding on the walls I would consider removing and reinstalling over the carpet once it's in. The perimeter of the carpet would be covered by large furniture.

I realize this is not how carpet is typically installed, i.e. no tack strips, no stretching. However I have already done a smaller (8x12) piece this way over concrete and it has worked great. So what problems, if any, would I have? My goal would be to have this carpet last about three to five years.
posted by werkzeuger to Home & Garden (20 answers total)
 
I think that for a large space like that, the stretching is really going to be necessary or else it will develop wrinkles that will trip the heck out of you.
posted by KathrynT at 9:07 AM on January 5, 2013


Is there a reason not to do just a large area rug plus no-slip pad underneath?
posted by supercres at 9:09 AM on January 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Seems like if you're going to replace molding you might as well put tack strips against the wall. I don't see why your way would not be worth a try though. If it really doesn't work out, it won't be hard to pull up and more securely install down the road. You could also put that non-slip webbing down. Seems like for a non-permanent install with furniture to help hold it in place, that might be enough without tacking.
posted by mzurer at 9:21 AM on January 5, 2013


How about carpet tile? it is a little more expensive (and not always great for home) but you just glue it down with pressure glue. I did a 400 sq foot room in an afternoon once alone... It was an office though and the carpet was not something I would want in a living room.
posted by mrgroweler at 9:31 AM on January 5, 2013


Sure. I have done this successfully with a low-pile polypropylene carpet. Flat as a pancake.
The cutting is tricky. Do it in stages, and err on the large side.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:00 AM on January 5, 2013


A large piece of carpet that's not attached is a rug. I don't have carpeting, just rugs, usually over a pad but not always. Without stretching, carpeting will often buckle as it stretches, or may creep in 1 direction. Instead of attaching it, why not just leave 2 - 3 inches at the edges, so if it "walks" or buckles, it won't matter? I have a very old rug in the living room, cut to fit around the stove hearth. It has crept @ 1/2" in 4 years, likely due to the couch being shoved about.
posted by theora55 at 10:04 AM on January 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I know you said no seams, but there are nice residential carpet tiles out there, and not all require pressure glue (some adhere to each other).
posted by Specklet at 10:04 AM on January 5, 2013


Thanks very much so far. Couple things to clarify:

-no glue, this is a nice hardwood finish floor we need to preserve.

-people saying this is basically an area rug: you're right. But my perception is that I can't afford quality area rugs. I've estimated I can do this job for under $700 USD, which (I think) is a good sight less than a decent area rug and pad.

-I considered buying a carpet remnant and somehow finishing the edges but extending them to the walls seemed easier.

-Thanks to those mentioning tiles, it hadn't occurred to me. I did some research on FLOR years ago and liked it, but my recollection is that it would be expensive compared to my DIY approach. But I'll look into that approach again.

-we have two 3-year-old kids playing on it, with all of the wear issues that implies.

I think that for a large space like that, the stretching is really going to be necessary or else it will develop wrinkles that will trip the heck out of you.

This was exactly my worry with the basement play area (8x12 mentioned above) but it's worn beautifully for two years of toddler abuse, just floating there along with its pad. No curling or wrinkles, etc.
posted by werkzeuger at 11:34 AM on January 5, 2013


Where I live, there are very often sales at carpet stores. So when you are browsing the web, area rugs seem expensive, but when you are at the store, almost everything is possible. I got 20% off two seat cushions before christmas, just by mentioning the price was a bit high. And that was after I'd said I'd buy them. Rugs have heavy seams at the edges that keep them in place better.
Another possibility is IKEA. They have great Persian carpets at very low prices, also in contemporary styles.
posted by mumimor at 12:01 PM on January 5, 2013


Home Depot used to finish edges of the carpet for you. I can't think what it's called right now. Of course, if you have lots of weird cuts, that might not work.
posted by amanda at 12:05 PM on January 5, 2013


I considered buying a carpet remnant and somehow finishing the edges

Carpet shops can cut it to size and finish the edges for you. We had a big remnant as a room-sized area rug and the shop offered to do this for us for a trivial amount of money. We were just too lazy to take it home, measure, and take it back to be cut so we cut it ourself and left the edge ugly.
posted by shelleycat at 12:16 PM on January 5, 2013


After spotting a braided rug in an episode of Boardwalk Empire, I researched getting one for my 20's home. The one I found was shockingly affordable and they sent swatches that made me feel comfortable with my on-line purchase. The greatest part is that the rugs are made out of a great material that is very forgiving, not wool, so that I can live with two dogs in the house and not worry about my rug. If needed, I can haul it out in the yard and use a hose on it, it is so liberating! It isn't soft like a fluffy carpet though, if that is something you're looking for.

I got mine from a company called Stroud and I recommend their rug pads too. I got one that was 8x12 for about $660.
posted by dottiechang at 12:22 PM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Be very careful with this, as grit can get under the carpet and destroy the hardwood underneath.
posted by gjc at 12:59 PM on January 5, 2013


To finish the cut edges of your remnant and prevent raveling, a bead of Elmer's glue is your friend
posted by Cranberry at 2:02 PM on January 5, 2013


Another possibility is IKEA. They have great Persian carpets at very low prices, also in contemporary styles.

We are currently plagued with several different "wool" IKEA area rugs and found them to be dreadful quality, unraveling, shedding fiber for years after purchase and uncomfortably prickly.

Be very careful with this, as grit can get under the carpet and destroy the hardwood underneath.


Thanks for that, it's something I hadn't considered. Maybe taped cardboard under the pad?

I appreciate all the comments!
posted by werkzeuger at 5:03 PM on January 5, 2013


I considered buying a carpet remnant and somehow finishing the edges

We have a couple of carpet remnants we use as hallway runners. It cost very little to have the edges overlocked (there's a specialty shop near us that does that) and they look very neat.
posted by flabdablet at 8:26 PM on January 5, 2013


I'll mark this resolved, but if you have a cool carpet tip/insight please add. Thanks for all the information.
posted by werkzeuger at 7:14 AM on January 6, 2013


We have a bound remnant over carpet padding in the bedroom and have had no problems with it for 4+ years. The pad did shift slightly , but we just trimmed it a little and good as new.
posted by rebeccabeagle at 5:57 PM on January 6, 2013


If I used a pad under a bound remnant, would the pad be the same size as the remnant, or somewhat smaller to allow it to lie flush/not be a trip hazard?
posted by werkzeuger at 6:30 AM on January 7, 2013


Using a pad helps greatly with grit under the rug. I love rugs, and check craigslist frequently. I got a relatively new, lovely wool 7 x 10 Oriental-type rug for 50 bucks. The old (machinemade, wool, 10 x 12, becoming threadbare but cool) rug that I cut up was picked up on the side of the road and washed in the driveway. Another roadside find, also wool, was dirty, and an ugly share of mustard. Washed it, used navy blue dye, and now it's kind of teal, and quite pretty. It was not terribly difficult, but required 2 people to move it when wet, and a good place to dry, on top of old crates. Also, my feet were blue for several days. You may be able to find old rugs with character at auctions. The rugs in my living room are hiding plywood floors, and are layered. I am not constrained by a need to be conventional in decorating, you may prefer something simpler.
posted by theora55 at 11:05 AM on January 7, 2013


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