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We recently bought a house and had a bit of work done on it. We then had carpets fitted in a lot of the rooms and all was fine.

Recently noticed in our spare room (after shifting some of the crap sitting there) that not all of the floorboards under the carpet have been properly nailed down (we had a spark in doing some re-wiring, so I'm assuming he didn't secure them after running some cables).

So, the question - can I

a) Lift the carpet on one side of the room without damaging it (I've only ever ripped up carpets before that were going to the dump)? If so, how do I do this...?

or

b) Is it advisable/possible to just nail directly through the carpet to secure the floorboard?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

You can pull carpet up off the tacking strip to do some work. It depends on how much of the carpet you're going to pull up. Carpet is stretched over tack strips using a kick stretcher or a power stretcher so if you pull the WHOLE carpet it you risk losing that stretch. I did some work under our carpet and wound up pulling up too much and had to hire a company to come out and re-stretch and tack it back down but if you're just pulling up a small corner you should be ok to just push it back down.

(Word of warning: when pushing the carpet back down on the tack strip, use a board to push it down, the tacks on the strip routinely go through the carpet and it hurts like all get out if it suddenly jams into your fingertip)

If the work is in the middle of the floor I've used a utility knife and made a lengthy slit in the carpet to do what I needed to and then called out a carpet install company to re-seal the carpet with a glue strip. After he re-glued the carpet and ran the seam blending tool over it it looked perfect. I would highly advise against nailing through the carpet, it creates an indent and doesn't look very good.

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I think that there are a number of small tacks holding the carpet down as well (I was there when it was fitted) - how do I get this up without ripping these through the fabric? –  Paddy Jan 5 '11 at 14:24
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@Paddy they actually used tacks instead of stretching it over a tack strip? hhmmm I've honestly never seen that but I'd try using a small pair of pliers or wonderbar to see if you can get under the tack and pry it up without damaging the carpet, might not be easy though unfortunately. –  Scott Vercuski Jan 5 '11 at 16:43
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There is a great solution in a related question I asked. They make specialty screws that you can install though the carpet to attach the floor board, and then break off the screw heads above the carpet. They typically are made to stop squeaks, but they will work great for you too!

The kit comes with the screws, a jug to hold and break off the screws, and a floor joist finding screw that can also be used to string a line along the joist.

Squeeeeek No More Product page - you can search buy them all over the web

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You'll want to make sure it goes in far enough so it breaks off in the floor, not the carpet, though ... otherwise, you've got a little spike hidding in the carpet that you might find when walking barefoot. –  Joe Jan 5 '11 at 18:59
    
Joe - absolutely. The kit makes sure this is done correctly. The screws are notched to allow a clean break at a specific point. And the jig that it comes with ensures that the the screw is deep enough so the notch is just below the floor board. –  mohlsen Jan 5 '11 at 19:18
    
@Joe I was going to say something similar but if mohlsen is correct then it sounds ok. I'd be paranoid that I'd screw it up somehow LOL .... wouldn't want yet ANOTHER trip to the ER .... they'll get to know me by name ! :) –  Scott Vercuski Jan 5 '11 at 19:30
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I wouldn't nail through the carpet - you really must check first for two reasons:

  1. You need to find the joist to nail into.
  2. You need to make sure that you're not going to hit any wiring or pipes that may be sitting just below the floorboard.
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One other option -- as you said you had access where you could see the floorboards from below, you might be able to suck them down from below --

attach a bracket to the joist, and then a short screw through the bracket to pull down the board.

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