Let me preface this by saying, I am by no means a professional carpet layer. We do, from time-to-time, have to install carpeting for an event, and we do it pretty well. I talk with our carpet manufacturers often enough to know the difference between industrial/commercial carpet, indoor carpet, shag carpet, etc. I know the difference between backing or no backing, bound or rough-cut, and how to seam carpet together.
So just as a quick lesson on laying carpet, if you ever find yourself in such a situation.
1. Choose the right carpet for the job
Most times, a good carpet will have a semi-rigid, hard carpet backing, which helps to keep the carpet from curling up. Some carpets do not have this backing. For event purposes, MOST installations will be better served to have this carpet backing, mostly because you’ll want a heavier product to stay in place and to attach to the ground (more on this later).
Next you’ll want to consider the top of the carpet. A few rules of thumb. Industrial carpet (aka commercial carpet) is the cheapest of the lot, and while it will withstand wear and tear over time, it’s not super plush. An indoor carpet usually has a thicker (maybe 1/2″), bouncy curls to it, and is more expensive. It usually stains easier, but also absorbs moisture if you’re expecting some spills and would rather the carpet just sop that up. Luxury carpet includes shag, fur, and other luxurious materials and designs. Unless your client is of celebrity status, or wants to really wow the crowd, this is probably too expensive for the average event.
2. Securing the carpet in place
I personally swear by Scotch’s double-sided industrial mounting tape. It’s a grey tape, almost like firm putty in consistency, with a bright red plastic backing that you can peel off. Simply cut off pieces as needed, place the sticky end onto one surface (in this case, I recommend the carpet backing itself), and then peel then stick it onto the other surface (in this case, the floor). It will create up to 10 lbs of hold strength. Not sure what that means? Trust me, I’ve seen it stick two tables together after an hour to cure, and then have had to pry those two tables apart with all my strength (I’m not super strong, but still…). Use this with some caution, as it could damage the surface you’re working on (will rip the paint off painted floors, will take up chunks of wooden floorboards), or it may not work at all (doesn’t stick on moist surfaces, for example concrete after it’s rained). But by-and-large, this is the product to use.
On grass, I recommend stopping by your local hardware store and picking up some U-pins, or U-nails. They are “U” shaped metal pieces, with pointed ends. They pierce through the carpet, into the grass, and the bottom of the U part sits on top of the carpet, holding it in place.
Be careful, as you will damage the carpet by poking holes through it (assuming you did NOT get luxury carpet, you should be ok.. holes are tiny). You also need to be sure to pick up all those U-pins after use, otherwise they could cause a nasty U-shaped hole in the bottom of someone’s foot. Ouch! And make sure to get U-pins that are long enough… too short, and they will simply pull right out of the ground. 2″ – 3″ should be plenty.
And there you have it! Two simple steps to getting that carpet down and locked for a single-use event.