Using Tackless Carpet Cement

Many homeowners who want to turn a garage or basement into an extra bedroom have to decide what flooring treatment they want to install. Carpet is the simplest and least expensive solution, and tackless installation is ideal because the carpet can be removed easily if the bedroom is no longer needed. However, redoing a basement or garage probably means installing the carpet over concrete. Using tackless carpet cement to fasten down the tackless strips and the padding will make the job easier.

Floor Prep

If you are installing carpet directly over concrete, check for moisture problems and make sure they are corrected. Excess moisture will prevent tackless carpet cement from adhering properly and can ruin your new carpet.

Sweep the floor so that it is clean of debris. Lay the tackless strips around the perimeter of the room so that they are end to end and then cut the strips to fit into corners and around door jambs.

The ends should be cut straight across and butted flatly together where they meet. All the strips should be positioned with the pins pointing upward and toward the wall, leaving a space between the strip and the wall that equals 2/3 of the thickness of the carpet.

Tackless Strip Installation using Carpet Cement

Follow carpet cement manufacturer’s instructions and warnings for best results. Tackless cement is specially formulated for bonding carpet tack strips to almost any flooring surface. Adhesives like this will have a bond time of between two and twenty-four hours. The high strength of the cement permits immediate power stretching, but it is highly powerful and flammable, so use it carefully.

These types of adherents can be used either “wet” or “dry.” This means that if you use the adhesive to fasten down the strips and the padding while the glue is “wet”, you will have a permanent and non removable bond. If the carpet may only be used for a few years, it is better to use the glue when it is “dry” so it can be uninstalled if necessary.

To apply “dry” adhesive, lift each piece of strip from the floor where it was positioned when it was cut. Using a 1” wide brush, apply cement both to the backs of the strip and to the area of the floor where it will be fastened.

Lay the strips adhesive side up and allow the strips and floor to dry separately. Return the strips to their original position on the floor after a twenty-four hour curing time.

Using a hammer and a small wooden block, work along the length of each strip, tapping firmly to fasten each strip to the floor. This tapping will activate the adhesive and form a removable bond between the floor and the strips.

Installing Padding

Cut the padding in strips long enough to fit the length of the room. Make sure the padding is long enough to cover the tackless strips on all of the walls. The padding should not overlap; padding pieces should be butted up against each other to form a clean seam.

The padding is now ready to be cemented to the floor. The adhesive can now be used “wet”, just remember that you are only using enough adhesive to tack the padding down and keep it from shifting during use. Using too much adhesive will permanently bond the padding to the floor and prevent later removal.

Once the padding is glued down, use a utility knife to trim the excess padding that is covering the tackless strips, and cover each seam with duct tape.
When the padding dries, the carpet can be installed following the manufacturer’s directions for tackless carpet installation. This floor treatment will look great for five to ten years, depending on usage, and is easily replaced or removed if necessary.