How to cut carpet

Whether installing wall to wall carpeting, or even creating an area rug from a carpet remnant, it may be necessary to trim one section to ensure the perfect fit. Fortunately, there are a few basic tools that help to make this process quick and easy.

Measure the dimensions of the space where the carpet is to be laid. If installing wall to wall carpeting, make sure to remove floor trim or baseboards before measuring, as this will allow for a more accurate measurement.

Unroll the section of carpeting on a flat surface that can hold up to scratching, such as the floor of the back patio, or the driveway. Make sure the nap of the carpet is facing down, and the backing for the carpet is facing up.

Measure across the surface of the carpet and match the dimensions taken in Step 1. Place a series of marks in a straight line--the length of the carpet at the appropriate point of measure. Using the marks as a guide, position the tape measure so it creates a straight line down the length of the carpeting. Use the marker to draw a corresponding line. This will provide the guideline for the actual cutting.

Don the safety goggles. Use the carpet knife to score the drawn line. If the carpet is thin, the scoring action may go all the way through the carpeting and sever the main section from the extra carpet. If scoring does not penetrate all the way through the pile of the carpet, use the carpet shears to finish severing the two pieces.

If the carpeting is intended to be installed as wall to wall carpet, roll up the main section and take it into the room where the carpet will be laid. For carpet fragments that are destined for use as area rugs, move on to binding the edges of the fragment, then take the finished area rug into the intended space.


Always cut carpet on a hard surface that will resist scratching by knives or the blades on the carpet shears.

Cutting the carpet outside will also mean easier cleanup afterwards.


Make sure the measurements are accurate. Always err on the side of failing to remove enough carpet. It is much easier to make a last minute trim than it is to make a section that is too short stay in place and look good.

Things You'll Need

  • Carpet
  • Carpet Knife
  • Carpet Shears
  • Safety goggles
  • Tape Measure
  • Marker
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