What Are the Best Tips for Gluing Carpet?

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  • Written By: Anna B. Smith
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2019
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When gluing carpet, thoroughly clean the sub-floor, apply the adhesive around the edges of the room in sections, and roll the area smooth immediately before the glue begins to harden. Carpet pieces purchased for this type of project should include a small excess to allow for mistakes in measuring or installation. The carpet should not be used for 24 hours following installation to ensure that the adhesive has proper time to bond with the backing surface and sub-floor.

Carpet is typically installed by laying it down over a specialized foam padding and tacking it into place around the edges of a room. This type of work is often performed by professional carpet installers. The tacking strips consists of a thin piece of wood, from which dozens of sharp tacks are sticking up, that is nailed to the sub-floor. The carpet is then stretched from one end of the room to the other over these sharp tacks so that it is held firmly in place. Gluing carpet down may be necessary as a means of installation over sub-floors where a carpet pad and tacking strip cannot be used.


Before gluing carpet into place, thoroughly clean the sub-floor. Any dirt or debris that is present will compromise the integrity of the glue over the life of the carpet. Installers can vacuum up small particles and surface level dust, and follow up with a slightly damp mop to remove any final residue. Nails or staples that remain in the sub-floor can be removed by gripping them with a pair of needle nosed pliers and twisting or rocking them gently back and forth until they are free. Those that cannot be taken out should be hammered flat with the level of the floor.

Measure the room beforehand and purchase carpeting that is slightly larger than the room will need. This allows installers to fit the carpet tightly into the space and cut it down to the correct sizing at the project site. The carpet should first be laid in one corner of the room so that two sides are pressed firmly against two walls. The remainder of the piece can then be rolled out to fill the room. The two fitted edges should be pressed tightly against the wall using a thin putty knife before the opposite two edges are cut down to size.

It is often best to only apply adhesive to the edges of the room. This should be accomplished in small sections to avoid creating wrinkles and raised places in the carpet. The edges can be lifted individually to expose small sections of the backing, or, for smaller rooms, one half of the floor can be revealed at a time. Installers may prefer to perform this step with two or more people to guarantee movement does not occur as new sections are exposed. Once the adhesive has begun to cure, the carpet cannot be shifted or moved.

After the installers have finished gluing carpet edges down, the whole piece may be rolled smooth. Carpeting rollers and push brooms can be used to adjust any wrinkles or uneven sections that may have formed before the curing process begins. Installers may also wish to stand at each corner of the room where glue may have been applied heaviest to create a solid bond between the two materials.


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Post 2

If you are gluing carpet in an outdoor area such as a sun room or on a porch floor, it might be a good idea to use an extra-bonding glue. It can be difficult to get most glues to bond in these types of areas due to weather, temperature variations, and moisture. This is why a basic carpet glue might not work when it comes to installing carpet in these areas.

Post 1

I agree with the article about cleaning the sub-floor before gluing carpet to it. A floor that is covered with dirt, crumbs, and debris will not allow any type of glue to form a firm bond, regardless of how much you use. However, when you clean the sub-floor with a damp mop or sponge, it is just as important to make sure that it is completely dry before applying your carpet glue.

If you don't apply carpet glue to a dry sub-floor, the moisture that is left on the floor will also prevent a strong bond from developing once the glue has dried. If this happens, you will have to start all over again and add the extra step of removing the glue that you applied to the wet sub-floor and the back of your carpet.

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