How to Replace Carpet Padding


Carpet padding is what gives your carpet its cushion, and absorbs the brunt of the daily wear on your floor. It also extends the life of your carpet, as carpeting tends to hold its pile longer when a quality pad is installed beneath it. Better acoustics and a higher insulation factor add to the benefits of carpet pad; the main problem lies when you have a spill or stain (especially from pets) that you have cleaned from the carpet but that remains in the padding beneath. Sometimes it may be more feasible to replace the pad, or a portion of it, instead of replacing the entire carpet installation.

Things You'll Need

  • Straightedge
  • Marker
  • Utility knife
  • Pliers
  • Carpet pad: identical type, thickness and weight as currently installed
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Carpet pad seam tape
  • Carpet knee kicker
  • Putty knife

Remove Old Pad

  • Grasp the edge of the carpet in the corner nearest to your pad replacement area and tug straight up. You will hear a ripping or popping sound: this is not the carpet tearing but rather the backing of the carpet pulling loose from the tack strip.

  • Pull the carpet back from the wall, working from the corner and taking care not to catch a loose thread on the tack strip nails. Continue to pull back the carpet until the area you wish to replace is exposed.

  • Draw an outline on the stained pad, using a straightedge and marker to delineate the area you wish to replace.

  • Cut the stained pad, using a utility knife and straightedge to make a smooth, straight cut.

  • Pull up the pad and remove any staples that remain in the subfloor with a pair of pliers. Clean and disinfect the exposed subfloor, if desired.

Install New Pad

  • Use the old piece of pad as a template to cut your new carpet pad to the same measurement as the old one.

  • Place the new pad on the exposed subfloor, checking to be sure it fits perfectly with no gaps. Note that carpet padding is installed up to but not over the tack strip that runs along the wall.

  • Staple the pad into place, and run a strip of carpet pad tape over the seams.

  • Fold the carpet back into place. There will be a slight gap at the walls; this is normal.

  • Place the knee kicker on the floor, facing the tack strip that is exposed.

  • Knock the carpet into place by smacking the knee kicker several times, until the carpet meets the wall; press the carpet down onto the tack strip, securing it onto the tacks.

  • Tuck the edges of the carpet into the gap between the tack strip and the wall, using a putty knife. This will hide the edges and protect the outer threads from pulling loose when you vacuum.

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  • The Carpet Installation Training Handbook; Eric Larson; 2002
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