How to Prepare Your Home for a New Carpet Installation

Ginny Bartolone
Written by Ginny Bartolone
Updated July 19, 2021
Woman in armchair resting feet on patterned carpet
Photo: Africa Studio / Shutterstock

Clear the way for your professional carpet installers to get to work and finish the job quickly and safely

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From fading fibers to that musty old carpet smell you can't seem to vacuum away, there are plenty of reasons to replace your old carpets and start fresh with a carpet that fits your lifestyle. But before your carpet installers head over for the big switch, it's important to prep your home for a day of construction. Follow these nine tips to protect your home during the project—and to lend a hand to your carpet installation team at the same time.

1. Check Out Your Contract

After you've worked with your installation team to find the best carpet for your home, you'll also receive a heads-up about how to prep your home for their arrival. Your contract me include:

  • What time the installers will arrive

  • The estimated length of the job

  • Whether the team will help you move furniture

  • Ventilation and other safety requirements

  • Steps to take after installation

Your team may also mention specific requirements about your unique room. Sometimes, they will need to remove doors or the molding along the floor to fit the carpet properly. Putting these back on may be your responsibility, so take a close look at your paperwork.

2. Bring in the Air

Any construction project is best when completed with plenty of airflow. If you have one, ensure that your HVAC system is running smoothly. Be sure all windows and doors open and close properly for your team to adjust as they need.

3. Empty the Room

One of the most common questions before carpet installation is: do I have to move all the furniture myself? Many companies will luckily handle the heavy lifting for you, so there's no need to call up your local movers. Be sure to double-check with your carpet team so you don't lose time on installation day.

However, the team will ask you to move all small items such as books, decor, linens, and electronics out of the space. Some companies will recommend removing artwork and curtains as well since carpet installation can be quite dusty.

4. Make a Path

Map out the most likely pathways of the workers the night before installation. The workers will likely need to walk back and forth between their truck and your room, often in work shoes.

Consider laying down drop cloths, cardboard, or old towels to catch the dirt from the process. We also recommend shifting hallway furniture out of the way that could slow pros down or create a hazard when carrying heavy items.

5. Protect Nearby Items

Do you have a grand piano in the next room? A grandfather clock in the hall? If you can't close the doors to the surrounding spaces, cover any fragile items with a sheet or drop cloth before installation begins. New flooring and carpet installation kicks up a lot of dust in the process, so it's best to err on the side of caution with nearby precious goods.

The same goes for carpet installation adjacent to the kitchen, such as in a living room in a home with an open floor plan. Put away any food items into the cupboards or refrigerator before the work starts.

6. Prep Your Old Flooring

Woman vacuuming floor in living room
Photo: fizkes / Shutterstock

Removing the old carpet either falls to you or the installers, but you will typically work this out with the team during your estimate process. You may be able to save a bit of money removing the carpet yourself, but it's not always worth the labor. 

Removing carpet yourself requires a good deal of strength, time, and a place to either store or properly discard the old carpet. If this doesn't sound up your alley, leave it to the pros.

On the other hand, old tiles or laminate flooring can be much easier to remove on your own. Double-check with your flooring team before making any adjustments to the floor, as they may be able to lay the carpet right on top of the old materials.

Whether you or your installers remove the carpet, give it a thorough pass with the vacuum or broom before the team arrives. Any method to remove excess dust from the process is best for everyone. You’ll also want to decide if you’re installing new carpet padding or not, and have any existing padding removed if necessary.

7. Make a Plan for the Day

Carpet or new floor installation is a noisy business, so don't bet on being able to take a snooze during the process. The company will also require an adult present to welcome the workers and be nearby should they have any questions.

We also recommend making a plan to send the kids out for the day, especially if they'll be startled by the hammering. If possible, your pets will be happiest out of the house as well, or at least in a room far away from the work.

8. Plan for Post-Installation Work

As we noted above, some carpet installers will need to remove your baseboards and doors before starting. If you'd prefer not to reattach these yourself, reach out to a local baseboard installer to measure and place the boards to your new carpet height. 

While most doors allow a little space for carpet, you may need to adjust the bottom of some doors so that they properly open and close over the new carpet height.

9. Think Ahead

Your carpet installation company will likely supply detailed instructions on what to do—and more importantly, what not to do—after installation. Most will recommend keeping off your carpet for at least 24 hours to let the glue set. This includes moving furniture back in, so make sure your couch has another place to hand out for at least a day.

Keep your new carpet looking like new by opting for bare feet in the room, vacuuming regularly, and spot-testing any cleaner before using it on the whole rug.

When you hire the best carpet installers in your area, you should never have to wonder about what to expect on the big day. From the free quote to the final vacuum, your team should put you at ease so you can enjoy your freshly designed room.

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