How to Cover Carpet

Written by carl mathie
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How to Cover Carpet
Some carpets are so ugly you have to cover them up. (feet and carpet image by jimcox40 from

If you've decided to cover up your carpet, it's for one of two reasons: either you plan to do some painting or home remodelling and want to protect it, or it's so ugly that you can't bear to see it any more. If it's the latter case, it is usually a better idea to replace rather than cover over a carpet as, unlike wooden or linoleum floors, carpeted floors don't easily lend themselves to additional covering. There are, however, cases when replacement isn't possible, like if you live in temporary or rented accommodations.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Self adhesive plastic sheeting, simple plastic sheeting or a tarpaulin
  • New carpet
  • Carpet Iron
  • Seam tape
  • Carpet tacks
  • Hammer
  • Carpet stretcher
  • Rugs
  • Furniture

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  1. 1

    Protect your carpet. The easiest way to protect your carpet is with self-adhesive plastic sheeting easily available from hardware stores. Calculate the square footage of your carpet area and buy a commensurate amount of plastic covering. Remove furniture from the room. If this is impossible or too difficult, move all the furniture in one half of the room, cover the empty half, then move the furniture to the other side and cover over the remaining part of the room. If you bought rolls of self-adhesive plastic covering, start at one side of the room and carefully roll it out in strips until the whole carpet is covered. Overlap the strips slightly, so the covering is seamless, to protect from dust or paint. If you use ordinary plastic sheeting, use carpet tape to attach one end to the wall and roll out the sheeting so it covers the whole carpet, taping the ends and edges to the walls and also overlapping any joins for a seamless cover. Do not stretch the cover too tight: allow for give so it does not rip when stepped on or furniture is placed on it.

  2. 2

    Do not install a hard floor, like laminate or wood, over a carpet. This leads to unevenness and instability. The only option is to install a carpet you prefer over the existing carpet. Remove all furniture from the room. Vacuum existing carpet thoroughly. Check existing carpet for knots or lumps and smooth these out. You can then use the existing carpet as an underlay.

  3. 3

    Lay your new carpet as though you are laying a carpet from scratch. Purchase enough carpet for the job (consult a carpet dealer as to how much you need, given the size of the room). Measure the lengths and shapes of carpet you need and trim the carpet to fit, allowing for an extra amount at the seams and edges. Lay the carpet out on the floor allowing for overlap at the walls and at the seams. Join the seams. Lay one adjoining seam over another and mark the part to be trimmed in the lower part. Trim the seam using a sharp knife and cutting board. Place seaming tape underneath the join so it overlaps both sides. Place the seams together over the tape and run a carpet iron over the seam to make the adhesive stick. Where the carpet meets the walls, tuck it into the join between the wall and the floor as far as possible (this is difficult as carpet is already in the gap) and use carpet tacks to secure it. For the final part of the installation, use a carpet stretcher to stretch the carpet out as far as possible before tacking the carpet secure. Trim and tuck to make the final carpet installation as taut and neat as possible.

  4. 4

    An alternative to laying a new carpet is to use rugs and furniture to draw attention away from the carpet. Although you are unlikely to find a rug that exactly fits your room, you may be able to find one that covers most of the carpet. Combine the use of furniture and smaller rugs to make the offending carpet unnoticeable. The right colour scheme may actually enhance a carpet to where you can stand it.

Tips and warnings

  • Before covering your carpet, ask your landlord if you can replace it instead: he may offer to cover some or all of the cost.

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