How Far Should Should A Carpet Tack Strip Be From The Wall?

You can save your household a substantial amount of money if you perform the labor on home improvement projects yourself. Cutting this expense out of new wall-to-wall carpeting is no exception. If you're thinking of doing this yourself, you probably have a few questions about the installation process. And if you are going the traditional route and using carpet tack strips, you might be wondering how far from the wall these strips should be placed. We researched carpet installation techniques from various professional sources so that you'll know for sure how much spacing you'll need.

When you install the carpet tack strips, the edges of each strip should be between one-quarter and one-half inches from the wall. These strips should be secured into place with the tack points pointing toward the wall.

Now that you know how far the carpet tack strips need to be from the wall, we'll look at the installation process in greater detail. You might also be wondering how these carpet tack strips are secured or if you can lay carpeting without the tack strips. To see what we've uncovered in our research, read ahead in this post.

Close-up Of A Craftsman Cutting Carpet With Cutter, How Far Should Should A Carpet Tack Strip Be From The Wall?

How far should tack strips be from baseboard?

If your walls have baseboards, you won't want the carpeting to run all the way to them. The carpeting needs to be stretched over these tack strips, so if the carpeting is cut too long, it cannot be properly stretched.

Professionals recommend that you cut the carpeting so that there is a one-half-inch gap between the edge of the carpeting and the baseboard. By doing so, the carpeting will get stretched over the tack strips and can be tucked under the lip of the baseboards. This tucking can be done with a carpet knife. This makes the laying look seamless and uniform all across the room.

Installer Using Carpet Knife to Tuck New Floor

Do carpet tack strips go in doorways?

When you're installing tack strips around the room, you might be wondering if you should run the strips across the doorways. This should always be avoided, whether it's a doorway into another room or a closet. The strips should stop at the entry and resume on the other side. 

The carpeting should be cut to where it is running through the doorway, overlapping into the next run of carpet. Thresholds are installed to prevent the carpeting from bunching up or wrinkling in doorways. 

There are two reasons why you don't want to set carpet tack strips across the doorways. The first is purely a safety reason. Carpeting will wear down over time, exposing the feet that walk across it to the points of the tack strips. The carpet will wear the fastest on the areas that get the most foot traffic, so tack strips are always installed along the walls of the room.

The second reason you avoid installing tack strips in front of doorways is to prevent bunching. Recall earlier in this post that carpet tack strips are installed with the tack strips pointing toward the wall. When the carpeting is stretched over the tack points, this angle will keep the carpeting secured into place. 

But if the tack strip is across a doorway, the foot traffic from one direction will, over time, begin to shift the carpeting off of the tack points. This will cause the carpeting to bunch up and wrinkle along the most highly trafficked area of almost any room.

How do you secure carpet to tack strips?

When you've got the tack strips secured into place, the carpeting is stretched over the tack strips. A carpet stretching tool or a knee kicker is used to complete this step. While requiring some labor, this method of installing carpeting is relatively quick and easy to learn once you've had some practice.

This knee kicker from Roberts can help you complete your installation. 

To view this item on Amazon, click here.

Should you replace tack strips when replacing carpet?

Replacing the carpet tack strips can add a lot of time and labor to your project. And in most cases, replacing the strips isn't even necessary. As soon as the old carpet and padding are safely removed from the room, carefully examine each tack strip. Make certain that each one is still secured to the subflooring and that none are askew. If one has become loosened from the subfloor, you can tack it back into place.

Should you notice any strips that have been damaged, carefully pry them out and replace them with a new strip. If the room has had pets occupying it, pay special attention to any damage caused by animal urine.

The vast majority of the time, your room's carpet tack strips will be in great shape and ready to secure your new carpeting.

Home improvement worker using tools to install new carpet with padding on floor and tackless tack strip along wall

Can I lay carpet without tack strips?

Installing carpeting with tack strips is known as "stretch in carpet installation," as the carpet is laid out, stretched, and attached to the tack strips. In some instances, you might be considering other methods of placing carpeting in your home. Should this be the case, you can explore these other types of carpet installation:

Direct Glue Down

This method of carpet installation has the installer cutting the carpeting to fit the room's measurements exactly. Then, the carpeting is directly glued to the subfloor. This type of installation is most suitable for large areas, as the chance of buckling or wrinkling is next to none. Direct glue down also works great if you transition directly from a linoleum floor to a carpeted one.

On the downside, the direct glue-down method isn't as comfortable to walk or stand on. There is no carpet padding when you have carpet installed this way.

Double Glue Down

This installation type has the installer directly gluing a carpet pad to the subfloor, then gluing the carpeting to the padding. Like the glue-down method, double glue down works well in large areas and will significantly prevent buckling. 

This is usually the most expensive and time-consuming method of carpet installation and is rarely used by homeowners. Double glue down is most commonly used in commercial environments.

Cut to Fit Installation

Close-up Of A Craftsman Cutting Carpet With Cutter

Cut to fit isn't technically an installation method. Instead, the carpet is cut to fit the room and set into place. There are no tack strips or glues holding the carpeting into place. This is the least expensive but also the least effective.

This is most commonly used when someone wants carpeting in a rental unit but has a landlord that doesn't want carpeting to be installed over hardwood floors. Installation is quick and easy, and removal is as simple as rolling up the carpeting and hauling it out of the room.

Before you decide on what method of installation you'll use, carefully consider the pros and cons of each one. While one way might be lighter on your pocketbook, it might not be the best suited for the room you're carpeting. Knowing what your budget is and how much foot traffic your room will have will help make this decision easier.

In Closing

Out of all the methods of installing carpeting, the stretch-in method is the most commonly used. While setting tack strips into place can require a bit of labor and know-how, you'll be able to install carpeting like a professional in no time with a bit of practice. Being able to do so safely will save you and your household a lot of money on labor expenses.

If you found this post on carpet tack strips to be helpful, we recommend reading the following posts on home carpeting and rugs:

Can You Put A Rug On Top Of Carpet In The Living Room?

The Ruggable Pad: Does It Come With One And Do You Have To Use It?

How To Move Heavy Furniture On Carpet [8 Methods]

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