can someone walk me through the A-to-Z of having carpet laid down in your entire house?

Single guy (non-smoker, never had any pets residing here), I bought the house as soon as it was built in 2006, and in the meantime I’ve probably run the vacuum cleaner maybe 15 - 20 times at most (depending on whether or not I had a girl coming over).

So you can imagine the carpet has places where it needs some serious TLC, and I’m about at the point of saying “screw it, it’s been 13 years, time to bite the bullet and have the whole house re-carpeted”. It’s a typical 3-bedroom, 2-bath, maybe 1,600 sq ft.

What’s the best means of upgrading this shit-show from a carpeting standpoint? Do I plan on living in a hotel for a week? Is it “on me” to move the nominal amount of furniture I have (living room, dining room, 3 bedrooms) to a storage facility for a few days?

Or do I just let the carpet installers “deal with it” furniture-wise, and they’ll move shit around and hammer down a complete house full of carpet all in one day while I’m at work? Or, speaking of that, do I need to plan on a day off to be here while all the work is being done?

Thanks for any insight.

Um, me too.

1300 sq ft condo, but otherwise, same deal. I’m considering replacing the carpet, now that I’ve gotten off my butt and hired a cleaning service.

I also need to get the place repainted.

Not looking forward to the disruption.

Sorry I can’t help answer your question, but I am interested in any answers you get.

After the first of the year, we will get new flooring throughout our house in AZ. Our instructions were pretty detailed: essentially, we will be packing as though we were moving. All furniture, all closets, all shelves are to be EMPTIED. I don’t remember the fine details as to what the installers will or will not move. I’m all bummed out about the packing.

You see, when we moved to our AZ home, I swore up and down it would be my LAST move. Mr VOW is retired Army, and I have moved enough over the ages!

The thought of all that packing depresses the shit out of me, and I have a mental paralysis of sorts. I really, really, really want the new flooring, but the PACKING…
~VOW

I had carpet installed/replaced last summer. Bought it at Lowes.

I had to disassemble my bed (Select Comfort on a storage base) and de-wire my TV entertainment unit.

The 4 man crew moved everything else to an area that was not part of the job or moved it back and forth in the affected area.

In and out in about 5 hours. They didn’t even take any breaks.

Agree with the above: clear out non-furniture. So a lot of boxes. That means closets, drawers, stuff on the furniture, etc.

It might be wise to have it done in two stages if you don’t have any space to move things to. Do the living room and such one day, moving stuff to the bedrooms. And then vice versa (with a gap inbetween to allow you to move stuff around.)

But … (there’s always a “but”). Are you going to really, truly, seriously going to properly maintain the new carpeting? If not, just call in the pros to do a cleaning of the existing carpeting. Wait until you’re about to put the place up for sale or the pros can’t do much before replacing the carpets.

Rent a POD container and have it in front of your house.

Packing is simpler because you can loosely box things up. Don’t bother taping the boxes closed. Set them in Pod.

The Pod is way bigger than you need. But it will make it so much easier to quickly empty the house for new flooring.

I went through this getting my hardwood floors refinished. I couldn’t move my furniture back in for a week. Floors had to dry.

Since they really only need access to the floor and they can get the job done in half a day you just have to make it as easy as possible for them to get where they need to. If your closet has shelves and racks everything can stay where it is. Just get the stuff off the floor. Move as much as you can into areas that won’t be carpeted. Kitchen, bathroom, basement, garage. The random piece of large furniture can stay. They just move it to one side of the room, lay the carpet, move it onto the carpet, and do the other side.
Unless you’re a hoarder with piles stuff everywhere or have massive curio cabinets filled with 2 dozen precious moment figures that can’t be moved it’s really not that bad.

We’ve got a deck that goes completely around the house. As long as we don’t get any monsoon rains when the work is being done, the deck should suffice.

For the actual moving and shuffling, we should be able to hire some “young 'uns” to do the heavy stuff. Mr VOW is 70 (70? How in the HELL did that happen?) and I’m 67 (I demand a recount!) so we aren’t exactly capable of all the nonsense that moving entails.

And I REALLY REALLY REALLY want the new floor. The current vinyl is as soft as a marshmallow, and the carpet is disgusting. I also intend on making sure all areas of mouse egress are completely, totally, and eternally obliterated. I want new baseboards throughout of TITANIUM.
~VOW

I don’t think POD services our area. We really, truly live out in the middle of nowhere, and delivery charges would probably be much more than the actual rental.
~VOW

I was the same way with my 60 year old hardwood floors.

I knew they’d look so pretty after refinishing. But, I dreaded emptying & cleaning the house. Twice! We cleaned before and after the refinishing crew’s work.

If you don’t have a strong preference for carpet, it may be better to get some kind of wood instead. When you go to sell, some buyers will either not like carpet or not like used carpet.

You’ll need to box up most things. The installers will move furniture, but they’re not going to box up the stuff on bookshelves or anything before they move it. You’ll need to have all the furniture in a “ready to be moved” state.

You can live in the house while they’re working. They can do it while you’re at work, but it’s better if you’re around in case they have any questions.

Pulling up the carpet will often generate a lot of dust. The installers will be doing it quickly and will make a big mess. If you pull it yourself, you can be more careful and limit the dust permeating through the house.

They might need a whole day, if the job is like the one described in Robert Leuci’s “All The Centurions”.

He and another detective bugged a dope dealer’s phone and heard him order wine-red shag carpeting from a store, specifying that it be installed everywhere in the house, and he damn well meant everywhere. So when he and his wife got back from a trip they found that wine-red shag carpeting everywhere - on the floors, walls and ceilings of every room in the house.

They loved it. :smack::slight_smile:

I’ll second this. Hire a professional and see what it looks like when you’re done. They can do amazing things and it doesn’t sound like you trash your floors.

I used to work at selling flooring and forgot how much carpet a crew can do in a day, but I think 1,600 feet is easily doable in no more than two days. As for moving furniture and household items, your options are, from lowest to highest costs:

DIY moving everything into one room that will be carpeted later, in the garage or portable storage as stated.

Hire professional movers to do the moving for you in your choice of location.

Let the carpet layers do the job. They can move everything into one or two rooms and move it back out to complete the job. This would probably be the most expensive because you’re paying skilled works versus unskilled movers to do the job.

You don’t have to pack everything yourself, but really should to ensure everything is packed properly and safely. Same with unplugging all electronics. If you’re hiring the work out, be sure to specify how and where you want things moved. If you don’t, the carpet layers will likely leave everything in the center of the room they last moved it to after you’re done. I’ve gotten complaint about this. Hey, you didn’t specify there were supposed to put everything back where the moved it from!

If you’re laying any type of hard flooring, this will take many multiple days. At least one day to level the floor and allow it to dry. The floor can have a tilt, but it must be flat, even if you’re installing floating wood planks. And at least 2-3 days to install the flooring. Wood planks are quickest, then vinyl/Marmoleum and tiles/stone the longest. Scheduling hard flooring was a bear and sometimes the job had to be fitted into when the crews had open time. A day here, a day there.

I highly recommend you not be at home during any install. Not only because of the noise (and dust for hard flooring), but unless you have a room that will be untouched, you’ll get in the way sometime, somehow. The layers are almost always paid by the job, so that’s not a factor, but they won’t be happy having you slow them down.

Finally get a professional estimate for the job, actually get several as the quality of the carpeting and workmanship can vary greatly. Look carefully at the amount of carpet estimated. Skilled labor costs are fairly equal, but a good estimator and layers will correctly estimate and lay the carpet for best visual effect. All carpet has a ‘grain’ that can be seen if it’s matched wrong. Where I worked, the estimators would sometimes ask who I had tentatively booked as an install crew. They’d give the minimum overage footage if it was an experienced crew and add a little more if they were newbies (to account for miscalculations). One estimator was a former carpet layer and some crews would ask for additional carpet to be added because they weren’t able to follow his precise layouts. I’d sometimes receive complaints from customers because they had so much extra carpet (particularly when it was width strips), when the production manager reviewed the layout, it usually was because the expert crew were able to modify the layout using less footage than estimated.

BTW, don’t be afraid to ask to see and discuss the layout with the estimator. A good layout has the least number of cuts and seams even if it means using more carpet. You may be fine with having multiple seams because you’re furniture will cover it, but a good estimator will remind you that if you ever move the furniture, the seams be be visible or worn if it’s in a high traffic area.

{OP here} thank you so much you guys for the tips and tricks, and even though I don’t “know” you, thank you a ton to** lingyi** for painting a picture for me like I’m an 8-yr-old - I think that was my end-game with posting the original question, so I appreciate it.

Glad to hear we’ve been helpful!

Sorry for this long post, but the OP asked for A-Z advice. If it sounds like I’m giving a sales pitch, it’s because I am in sense, but I have no vested interest in your purchase whether it’s from Home Depot or a premiere carpeting store (which I worked at).

Here are some tips that can help save money and probably get a better experience with the salesperson and estimator. It’s been over 10 years since I sold flooring, but little if anything has changed since then.

Carpet width - is usually 12’ or 13’ 6". So measure both dimensions of your room (you can sketch it out to help visualize better) and do a rough estimate of which width would fit the majority of the areas better. If they’re multiples of 12’ or less it may be better look for 12’ width (it may be marked on the sample) to minimize overage and seams (more about this below). Carpet when stretched can add an extra inch or two, so if one dimension is within an inch or two of 12" or 13’ 6" you’ll be fine estimating with those widths.

Keep in mind that all carpet has a grain or sometimes pattern that will affect how much s required. The grain is most noticeable in daylight since it’s full spectrum and hits the carpet from all angles. You many not notice the grain (i.e. the way the light reflects off the carpet changing the color) with indoor lighting, but will with sunlight. It’s not noticeable with small areas or samples. The best example I can think of of a field of wheat being blown by the wind in one direction and you’re looking at it from overhead. All the stalks are leaning one way. Now imagine that you take a section of that field and rotate it 90 degrees without the stalks changing direction. That’s grain (no pun intended) and you’ll see a noticeable difference where the two sections meet.

Seams - A good estimator and install crew will try to keep seams to two or three max per room. Seams are weak points and should be kept to a minimum, especially in high traffic areas like entryways and hallways. It takes more carpeting, but a good estimator and installer crew (more about this below) will try to lay the carpet in a hallway in one piece vs multiple seams along the length since it’s a high traffic area.

Using more seams = less carpet required and this is one of the sales tricks that may allow a store/company to get a lower estimate. I worked for the premiere carpeting store (A franchise of a national chain) and we were the most expensive in the market. However, that also meant we strived to provide the best quality install even if it meant more carpeting.

Estimator and install crews - As mentioned in my thread above, a good install crew will follow the estimator’s layout closely. At the store I worked we had both in-house estimators and installers that knew each other’s work. Sometimes if a job was difficult, for example an odd shaped room, the estimator would specify a certain experienced installer or crew. One person can easily do a single room or up to a certain amount of carpeting (I forget, but maybe 5-600 sf?) themselves, but larger rooms and areas requires more people because the carpeting has to stretched in directions.

As I stated above, the store I worked at was top of the line in our area and that’s why we had our own in-house staff. However the owner also had a companion store that focused on cost savings. This store had their a list of recommended independent estimators (some of the salespeople did their own estimating) and a bulletin board with cards from independent installers. I believe this is also how places like non-specialty carpeting/flooring stores like Home Depot do it.

I’m not saying it’s necessary to shop at the a specialty flooring store, but be sure to ask for strong recommendations or possibly references if you’re going to use independent estimators and installers. Maybe use Angie’s List for reviews.

Carpet grain and type - I think I explained grain pretty clearly above. In a nutshell, all the carpet should be laid in the same direction. If a piece is installed at 90 or 180 degrees, you’ll see a difference in the color and shading of that piece, especially in bright sunlight.

As for type, there are three main types of carpet: cut pile, loop and berber. All carpeting is woven with loops. If the top of the loops are cut, it becomes cut pile. The more and closer the loops, the softer and plusher the carpet feels. Another advantage to cut pile is that if you snag a tuff, you’re unlikely to pull the entire line woven line out.

Loop is the uncut threads. The carpet won’t feel as plush and soft, but will wear better because the cut ends of the tuffs aren’t exposed. You’ll also get less fuzz balls, especially in the begining because there’s less loose threads. However, if you snag a loop and accidentally pull on it, you’re more likely to pull a length of loops out. If you have children or move a lot a furniture or other things around, I reccomend against loop carpeting.

Berber. This is the tightly woven, usually lightly spotted carpeting. It’s much firmer than plush and loop carpet, but it wears well because of its heavier construction. Its tight weave and heaver material makes it harder to snag and unravel, but once you start a run, it’s harder to stop and it’s more noticeable. If you get a snag and run in a berber or loop carpet, put a few drops of super glue at the start of the run to keep it from unraveling.

Padding - Get the best quality and (generally thickest) padding you can, but don’t overbuy. Do spend a bit more on the best quality padding you can since it will only only make the carpet feel better underfoot or under body if you lay on it like I do, but it will help preserve the nap (the threads/loops) of the carpet because it acts as a cushion. Don’t buy the multicolor padding. These are made with scraps of different types of padding and will have hard and soft spots that can cause uneven wear on you carpet and just feel bad.

Product naming - I used to get a little chuckle when customers would say, “This looks and feels just like carpet <name> does at store XXX.”. I was a too honest saleperson and explain to them that it may very well be the same product or if was at our sister store, was the exact same carpet just with a different name and since it was from Stainmaster, had different warranties with ours costing more because we had the top of the line warranty. On the other hand, just because a carpet may be named the same or look and feel the same, doesn’t mean it’s the same thing. Look between the tuffs/loops of the carpet and while it may look and feel the same, the lower priced one may have fewer loops = less material.

Nylon and polyester - are the two main types of carpet fibers. Both may look and feel the same in the showroom, but nylon carpets will wear better and last longer before the nap becomes crushed than the cheaper polyester. I had a regular customer who owned an apartment building whose tenants were primarily college students so they usually didn’t stay more than 2-4 years. He’d always buy cheap polyester carpeting because it was cheaper and easier just to replace it than cleaning it after the tenants left.

There’s lots more that can be said, but these are the (probably too long) basics.