STYLES OF INSTALLATION
There are several styles (or methods) of carpet installation. We will briefly, discuss several of the most common varieties that are used in residential installation.
STRETCH-IN OVER PADDING
This is the most traditional and frequently used style of carpet installation. A wooden strip with diagonal upward pointing small nails is attached (glued or nailed) to the floor at perimeters. The appropriate cushion is glued or stapled around the perimeter and at the seams and trimmed in place within the frame created by the tack strip. Most padding should be taped at the seams with fabric tape. (Masking tape may cause a ‘crackling’ sound.) The carpet is laid in place and “stretched-in” to catch onto the tack strip nails. A power stretcher should be used. (See INSTALLATION)
DIRECT GLUE DOWN
No padding is used in this style of installation. The adhesive is spread onto the floor. The carpet is then laid in place and all seams are made. The adhesive creates a permanent bond of the carpet to the floor. Stretching is only performed to match patterns. This type of installation is most commonly used with commercial type carpets and in rooms such as the kitchen, offices and recreation rooms. Outdoor carpet is also installed in this fashion.
This type of installation is more costly and the most infrequently used for residential purposes. A special separate cushion (very thin and high density) is glued to the floor and the carpet is then glued to the padding. IT would generally be used in similar locations and situations as the direct glue method except outdoors.
Carpet is also used in the home in uninstalled applications. Room size rugs, loose laid or area rugs would be examples. If the desire is to show off attractive hard wood floors, or portability of favorite rugs, this type of use could be advantageous. Carpet can be seamed and trimmed to fit wall-to-wall without being attached to the floor. If having a custom area rug made out of broadloom carpet is an objective, read the warranty to see if any restrictions apply.
The installation of carpet on steps can be done with any of the standard methods but the interesting aspect of steps is that they do not have to follow the same style of installation used in surrounding areas. Steps may be installed over a separate cushion to provide added protection even if the connecting rooms are directly glued down. Steps may be wall-to-wall even if the connecting areas are loose rugs or runners. Conversely, steps may be runners or treads with exposed wood even if the areas about and/or below are wall-to-wall. Despite the method of attachment, there are also a number of styles of installation for steps.
The carpet is brought across the rounded, extended nose of the tread and drawn down at a slight backward angle into the crotch at the base of the riser. This leaves a small, wedge-shaped pocket between the carpet and the riser.
UPHOLSTERED OR CALIFORNIA
The carpet is brought across the rounded, extended nose of the tread and attached to the top of the riser under the nose. The carpet is then brought straight down the face of the riser to the crotch below.
The carpet is narrower than the width of the stair tread, leaving exposed wood on each side. The edges of the runner can be bound or turned under and the flow of the runner can be either of the styles listed above. The width of the runner may be any size you desire but the most common is 27 inches on a standard width staircase or 36 inches on wider staircases.
Bound pieces of carpet, the depth of the tread and any desired width, can be attached to the steps with no carpet on the risers. These should be stapled well to avoid tripping hazards as the carpet does not come around the nose of the step.
Many staircases have some or all of the steps open (do not meet a wall) on one or both sides. The style of bringing the carpet over the open edges and tacking under the noses on the sides of the steps is called capping. In wall-to-wall installations, this may be done to complete coverage or the carpet can be stopped on the tread at any distance from the capped end, leaving the open ends exposed. You should be prepared to make the decision to cap or not before ordering, since this will affect the yardage estimate. There is also an extra installation fee usually assessed for this type of common upholstery work.