Carpet fitter laying grey carpet over carpet grippers using carpet fitting tools

 

Where would you be without carpet grippers? You'd be flying across the living room, having tripped on your tattered, wrinkled carpet, that's where. Instead, ensure a smooth stroll over your enswathed flooring.

Whether you're an interior designer, tradesperson, a construction worker, or just a brave soul who loves to DIY, you likely have questions. What, why, and how?

Laying a new carpet requires following certain steps and using certain tools and materials. See this guide to choosing and fitting a carpet grip.

What Is a Carpet Gripper?

Basically, a carpet gripper is a narrow strip of plywood (usually 6 mm thick and 25 mm wide) that is placed on the floor. They also come in wood, aluminum, and rubber. They're placed before a wall-to-wall carpet installation, to make sure there are no wrinkles. 

Pins and carpet nails, also known as carpet tacks or rods, are used to grip the carpet.

There are two types: domestic and commercial. Domestic carpet grippers have 2 rows of pins, and commercial ones have 3.

Floor Types

Installing carpet on any type of floor is okay, even concrete. You must use different nails for different floor types, which include smooth shank, ring, and spiral. 

If you don't want to use nails, try adhesive. Contract or construction adhesives, such as Gripfill, are commonly used.

On ceramic or the like, try using plugs and screws. With metal surfaces, go for self-tapping screws. For thinner carpet on metal, go for short pins. 

Tips for Using Carpet Grippers

  • Use a brand new one unless the carpet you're replacing is pretty new (In that case, just leave the old ones)

  • Buy online for the best prices

  • Avoid puncturing pipes just under the floor by using adhesive in those areas

  • Choose the right carpet gripper to avoid problems later

Let's go over the types in this next section. That way, you'll be covered in any situation!

Types of Carpet Grippers

Save time, money, and potential accidents by choosing the right type of gripper for the job. You don't want frayed and curled edges. And you certainly don't want your family and friends to trip and fall. 

Contract Gripper

Contract gripper is heavy-stretch installations. This product is usually 42mm wide. It has 3 rows of pins of medium height (no nails).

Tackfast Gripper

This is dual-purpose. Made of sturdy Russian Birch, it's used for heavy-duty installations that will get a lot of foot traffic. It has pre-nails and long pins.

Felt Backed Gripper

Felt-Backed (aka Blind Grippers) are best for that perfect appearance along the wall. These are mainly for single and double stick type installations. It doesn't have pins but comes with dual-purpose pre-nails.

Prepare for These Obstacles

Before you start, prepare yourself for these possible obstacles and plan accordingly. This will make the job go smoothly. Pun intended.

Obstructions

If you can't remove an obstruction like a heater, vent, or radiator, just get as close as you can. Working with curves, corners, and decorative features can also be tricky.

Cut the gripper down to usable sizes using a vice and hacksaw (or tenon saw). You could also use a strip cutter to do this.

When working around any obstruction, try to keep an even distance between the carpet and the wall. Also, fasten even the smallest piece of carpet gripper with at least 2 nails. Use a threshold strip for doorways.

Crowded Tacks

Take care when hammering the nails, as they can be quite close together. Wear your thick leather gloves and use a small-headed hammer for the pins. Create proper stability or you'll end up with those dreaded lumps and wrinkles.

How to Install Your Carpet Gripper

You've got the right carpet gripper for the job. Now, let's install it!

1. Measure Room

First, measure the perimeter of the room (including obstructions) to see how much gripper you need. Determine where your cuts will be. This is essential for fitting carpet cleanly.

2. Prepare Subfloor

Clean the area, and then look for wires and pipes under the floor. Mark these areas for adhesive rather than tacks, unless you want to get electrocuted and have water/gas leaks in your home.

3. Position Carpet Grippers

Wear your thick leather gloves for the fitting process because gripper pins can be very sharp.

Orientate your pins at a 65-degree angle, facing towards the wall upon installation. You can cut the grippers down to the needed size if the standard sizes are too long. 

You can leave a gap between the skirting board and the gripper of about 10 mm. In certain cases, fix the gripper to the sub-floor by using the supplied steel nails and a hammer. In other cases, you can use adhesive.

4. Connect Tacks

Depending on your subfloor and tacks, use the appropriate equipment. A small-headed hammer, for example. If you're applying adhesive, use your handy adhesive spreader.

If you want to use nails on asphalt or concrete subfloors, you'll need to place wooden dowel rods as rawlplugs (anchors) so the nails have something to sink into. To do this:

  1. Mark the nail position with a pencil
  2. Drill a hole into the concrete
  3. Cut rod to size and place snuggly
  4. Hammer the gripper into place

On concrete, you can use alternatives such as adhesive, staples, tapes, or a carpet underlay to attach your carpet gripper. 

5. Use Carpet Stretching Machine

Before installing a new carpet, use a carpet stretching machine. This flattens all the bumps and loose areas, making sure it's taut. Renting one is your best bet unless you're going into the carpeting business or have a long-term project.

Cut Yourself Some Slack

Placing carpet grippers requires patience and precision, but it's not rocket surgery. Just make sure you're prepared and then blast your favorite music while you work. Set aside a lot of time for the project so you don't feel rushed.

Picking the right type and knowing the basics is essential to purchasing, selling, and installing these. Now you have a starting point to move forward and nail that project.

We invite you to contact us today with any questions about our products or services!