How to Install Tackless Strips for Carpeting

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You're ready for your first attempt at installing carpet, but you've encountered a stumbling block: You can't figure out how to install the tack strip that holds the carpet in place. Tack strip is designed to grab the edge of the carpet and hold it to the floor around the perimeter of the room so you don't have to tack the carpet directly to the floor; it also serves as a lip to tuck the carpet into the wall edge.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring Tape
  • Miter Saw
  • Hammer
  • 1-inch Nails
  • Leather Work Gloves
  • Eye Protection
  • Measure the perimeter of the room and subtract the doorways. Tack strip usually sells in 3-foot lengths, so divide your total by three to determine the number of strips you'll need. Add two strips for cutting waste.

  • Place the first strip 1/4 inch away from the wall, starting in a corner and taking care to leave a 1/4 inch gap between the end and the connecting wall. Point the arrows on the tack strip so they are toward the wall; if you can't read the arrows, note that the tacks will slant slightly toward the wall.

  • Nail the strip to the floor. Tack strips have three or more nails that run in the opposite direction from the tacks themselves; if you have a strip that is missing nails use a minimum of two nails per piece.

  • Work your way around the room, nailing the strips 1/4 inch from the wall and butting the ends and corners together tightly. Do not nail tack strips in front of doorways; instead cut a piece to end at the door opening and continue on the opposite side of the door.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a thin piece of wood or heavy cardboard to protect the baseboards as you nail.
  • Usually you can use your fingertips as a guide to measure the 1/4 inch from the wall.
  • Tack strip can be reused if you are replacing carpeting and already have strips installed.
  • Tack strips are not for use on concrete floors.

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