how to install carpet padding

How To Replace Worn Carpet Padding

Carpet padding is something that most homeowners never think about. It sits under the carpet for years, and the only time you really think about it is when it is under-performing or when you are replacing your carpet. If your carpet pad is worn out, but the carpet is in good shape, you could actually replace just the padding. Here are the basics of how to replace worn carpet padding.

While the fibers in carpet padding seldom wear out before the carpet covering it, there are instances when you need to replace carpet padding. If you have a major water leak, you must take care to completely dry both the carpet and padding or mold may grow on the padding. If mold grows, the padding should be replaced. Pet accidents are another common reason to pull up old padding and replace it.

Purchase New Padding

When you know that you are going to have to replace your pad, you need to go out and purchase some new pad. When you do this, make sure that you do not skimp and buy the cheapest pad available. As you now know, buying a good pad is important and can make a big difference on how long your carpet lasts. Therefore, you should buy a better pad to replace the first. Hopefully, you will then be able to avoid any future problems with it. 

Pull Up the Carpet

To get to the padding, you need to pull up the carpet along the wall nearest the damaged area of carpet pad. Wooden tack strips hold the edge of the carpet in place. Typically, the tack strips are less than an inch away from the wall. The tacks are sharp, so use caution. Pull back enough carpet to expose the area of carpet pad that you need to replace. Fold or roll the carpet so it won’t be in your way as you work.

Remove the Old Carpet Pad

Using a razor knife, cut around the section of padding you are removing so you can pull it away from the rest of the padding. A floor scraper works well to scrape the old padding off the floor. The scraper removes old adhesive and it also helps loosen staples so you can pull them out. Do not remove the tack strips. If you’re removing the pad because of pet stains, you must cover the odor so the pet doesn’t soil the new padding as well. Use a primer designed to stop stains and odors to cover the subfloor and let it dry completely. Take a scrap of the old carpet pad to the carpet store to find one that’s a similar thickness and density. A carpet pad with a moisture barrier is a good choice if you are covering a pet stain. If the animal soils the floor again, moisture won’t soak all the way through the padding.

Apply the Adhesive

When you have the floor clean and free from debris, it is time to apply the adhesive. There is no exact science to applying the pad glue. Just open the lid of the container and pour some out on the floor. Apply it throughout the area and make sure that every part of the room is covered. 

Install New Carpet Pad

Carpet padding has a smooth side and a waffled side. Place the new pad so the waffled side faces up. Overlap the edges of the new and old padding to cut straight, abutting edges by holding a straightedge tool over the overlapped edges and drawing a razor knife along the straightedge. Discard the excess pieces. The padding shouldn’t cover the tack strips, so you need to trim it to lie alongside the strips. Use duct tape to hold the seams in place. Staple the padding about every 6 inches to hold it to the subfloor. If the subfloor is concrete, use flooring adhesive to hold the padding in place.

Reinstall the Carpet

Lay the carpet back into place. Then use the power stretcher and knee kicker to put it back on the tac strips properly.

Stretch the Carpeting

When the padding is in place, unfold the carpet and lay it back in place. Lightly press the carpet’s backing onto the tack strip. For best results, use a carpet knee-kicker tool to help you restretch the carpeting firmly onto the tack strip. When the carpet is in place, a carpet stair tool, which you can also rent, helps you tuck the carpet’s edges under the shoe molding along the wall.


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