Installing a brand new carpet is usually less expensive and challenging than a hardwood floor, so it’s common to try laying the carpet yourself. But the process can still get tricky here and there, so you might be wondering what kind of stapler you can use to secure the carpeting. There are plenty of options to choose from, so we have thoroughly researched what kind of stapler you’ll need for carpeting and how to operate it.
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There are two kinds of staplers that are best for installing a new carpet. One is for the tack strip and the other is for the seams. The first tool you’ll need is a heavy-duty hammer tacker, a manual staple gun shaped like a hammer. The second tool is an electric stapler, specifically known as a carpet stapler. Both of these staplers are available in many different brands, and they should be used instead of an ordinary staple gun.
Carpets aren’t as expensive to purchase or install as many other flooring alternatives. But they are also vulnerable to dangerous problems like mold and need to be installed correctly. If you plan on doing so yourself, keep reading to learn about the ideal staples and staplers to use on your seams and edges.
Can You Use A Manual Stapler On Carpet?
Manual staplers are a necessary tool when installing a new carpet because the hammer tacker is classified as a manual stapler. However, the hammer tacker is primarily reserved for installing the carpet padding. Hammer tackers are used for quick jobs. While some hammer tackers can be used on the carpet itself, the results don’t tend to look as tidy.
Also, not every kind of manual stapler is ideal for carpeting. Even if you wanted to use a hammer tacker on the carpet itself, you would need a heavy-duty model, no matter what kind of brand you prefer. There are actually multiple kinds of hammer tackers that are designed for unique purposes.
For example, the fine wire hammer tacker is only built to staple down things like plastic wrap and labels. That will not be suitable for carpeting. Be sure to avoid conventional manual staplers or weaker hammer tackers. Both the tool and the staples will not be strong enough.
How to use a Hammer Tacker
First, identify the ideal purpose of your hammer tacker. Mainly, manual heavy-duty hammer tackers are used for attaching carpet padding. Carpet padding is essential when you add a new carpet floor. That’s because the padding absorbs stress to preserve the lifespan of the carpet and also adds more insulation for noise and temperature.
Carpet pads are secured to tack strips. Tack strips are just long wooden pieces that run along the perimeter of your room and allow you to secure the carpet edges up against the wall. It’s best if these tack strips are installed less than an inch away from the walls. This means that you won’t always be able to work with an electric tool.
Although power tools are always going to be easier than anything used by hand, electric staplers are too big and clunky for tight spaces. The hammer tacker is uniquely able to fit into smaller spaces, making it absolutely necessary when you apply carpet padding along your tack strips. Also, hammer tackers are not tied down by electrical cords.
Operating the Tool
When you first use the heavy-duty hammer tacker instead, you’ll need to load it with the corresponding staples. Different models will require various kinds of loading methods.
Most of the time, the first step in loading a hammer tacker is by locating the tail of the handle, then unlocking and removing a long spring mechanism.
From there, you’ll probably have one of two options. In some models, you’ll be able to slide your staples directly into the handle. Others are simply loaded into the side. Either way, sliding the spring mechanism back into place is usually what secures the staples.
After you load the hammer tacker, you can use it exactly like a hammer. Swing the tool into the target location, and the spring mechanism will help deliver the staple on impact.
How to Use an Electric Stapler
Electric carpet staplers are powerful and need to be handled carefully. You should not rush when you squeeze the trigger to apply your staples. Typically, an electric stapler is designed to create neat connections between seams.
Like the hammer tacker, you will first need to load your electric carpet stapler. In order to do so, you’ll have to unplug the machine and lock the trigger mechanism. Then, you’ll typically use release switches to open up a slot for the staples. Load in the stack of staples upside down, and then close the slot until it locks again.
You cannot simply begin punching staples into the carpet, or you will end up with visible dimples in the carpet. Instead, make sure that you carefully spread the fibers and put enough distance between each staple.
What Size Staples Do You Use On Carpet?
Another important step in using your electric carpet stapler is to purchase heavy-duty staples for your carpeting instead of ordinary staples. Most of the time, desktop staplers are used with thin staples that are only sized at a quarter of an inch. This is ideal for computer paper, and hardly durable enough for carpeting.
Instead, you should try to find carpet staples, which are usually sized around half an inch or more. Some are even 9/16 of an inch. You should determine the correct staple size for the specific tool you are using before you begin. This will ensure that the carpet is secured correctly.
Remember that carpets can have various degrees of pile, which simply refers to the texture and size of their fibers. Thick, wool carpets will require a powerful stapler to get through all of those dense fibers. Any kind of high, loop pile carpets will resist staples.
Also, some carpets are made with built-in cushions, which can make it even harder to get a staple through the base.
Can You Use A Nail Gun On Carpet?
Although it’s possible to use a nail gun on your carpet, this isn’t usually a necessary part of the installation. Nails will typically be applied with a nail gun onto the tack strips for your carpeting.
Consider that your carpeting is likely going to be secured directly onto the subfloor. Most subfloors are made of concrete, which will completely resist nails. Meanwhile, carpet staples can help combine seams together, and they also work on the tack strips. If you're working on stairs instead of a flat floor, you can read the post "How To Install Carpet On Stairs Without A Kicker?" to learn about alternative methods.
Are Staples Stronger Than Nails?
It’s easier to compare the intent of your staples and nails rather than the blunt strength. That’s because staples have a larger head than nails and include two limbs specifically designed to hold things together. So, even though staples are thinner, they can sometimes be stronger.
Yes, nails can be completely buried into the wood, which is going to provide a lot more bite. But staples have more of a pinching grip, which is necessary for connecting carpet seams.
You can try to use brad nails, which are extra thin nails with a smaller head. These are often used for finishing because they do a good job of staying out of sight. But brad nails also have a naturally thin design, which can makes them a poor substitute for heavy-duty carpet staples. You can read the post "What Size Brad Nails Do I Need? [By Type Of Project]" to get a clear idea of where these nails are ideal.
There are many kinds of staplers, but few of them are strong enough to help you install a new carpet. Even the staples themselves should change in order to accommodate the thickness of your carpet and any padding. Now you know that a heavy-duty hammer tacker and an electric carpet stapler will both be necessary in order to complete a carpet installation. Better still, you know how to operate them, which means you can replace any old floors with gorgeous new fibers.