How to Install Carpet Over Concrete

carpeted basement recreation room
  • 10-30 hours
  • Beginner
  • 500-1500
What You'll Need
Concrete waterproofing paint
Paint brush
Polyethylene plastic sheeting
Duct tape
½ inch plywood
Tape measure
Rotary saw
Electric drill
Concrete screws
Tack strips
Common nails
Utility knife
Staple gun
1 inch staples
Knee kick stretcher

If you wish to finish your basement remodeling project with carpet on the floor, you will need to know how to install the carpet over the existing concrete floor. With only a few basic tools, you can carpet a room with a bare concrete floor by following these seven simple steps.

Step 1 - Apply Waterproofing Paint

After sweeping the floor and removing all debris, coat the floor surface with waterproofing paint. Allow 24 hours for the paint to dry. If the humidity in the room is high, allow an extra day for drying. You can speed up drying while removing paint fumes if you open the windows and place several large fans near the windows to exhaust the air.

Step 2 - Cover Floor With Plastic Sheeting

plastic sheeting spread out across the ground

Lay a cover of plastic sheeting over the waterproofed floor. Use duct tape to seal the seams in these sheets. Tape the sheeting to the floor at the edges. Be sure the tape doesn't cover all the trim; otherwise, the tape will be exposed when the carpet has been laid.

Step 3 - Lay Plywood

Next, you'll lay sheets of plywood on the plastic. Since the plywood sheets will not perfectly fit the floor, you'll need to cut plywood pieces to fit in the irregular spaces. Divide the room into squares that will be the same size as the plywood sheets you'll be laying. Doing so will help you determine the size of the plywood pieces to be cut. When all sheets are cut, begin laying them on the plastic, one sheet at a time, until the entire floor is covered with plywood.

Step 4 - Attach Plywood to the Floor

Using your drill, apply a concrete screw through the plywood into the concrete floor. Screws should be inserted along the edges of the plywood every 12-inches.

Step 5 - Attach Tack Strips

tack strip

Using your hammer and nails, attach tack strips to the surface of the plywood along the edges of the wall.

Step 6 - Attach Padding

Cut enough padding to cover the entire floor, then lay the padding in place applying staples to the corners and centers of the pads. The staples will hold the pad in place while you're laying the carpet.

Step 7 - Lay and Attach your Carpet

Lay your carpet over the padding, keeping two-inches of carpet above the edges where the wall meets the floor. When the carpet is in place, begin cutting along the edges. If necessary, use a straight edge to ensure that the cuts are straight.

Tuck the carpet edges into the wall-floor corners and below the bottom edge of the baseboard. Be sure the carpet is pressed down onto the tack strips so that the strip nails grip it. Use a knee kicker to stretch the carpet on the far side of the room from where you attached the first carpet edge. Finally, cut the excess carpet away at the edges.