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I have a carpeted basement. There is both pad and carpet over concrete. There is a section I want to wall off and turn into a bedroom, it will not be load bearing.

I would prefer not to have to pull up the carpet to anchor the frame into the floor. Would you recommend nailing through the carpet? Will it be sturdy enough?

The follow on question to that is will baseboards go in over the carpet effectively or will they look off?

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Do yourself a favor, spend the hour it takes to cut the carpet and put the wall down properly. Also think about what happens when it is time to replace the carpet. –  diceless Jul 25 at 20:18

4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

No, I would not recommend nailing through carpet. Whether or not you prefer to, cutting the carpet and pad and removing them (under the wall) is the only right way to do this job.

Baseboards on top of carpet will look like baseboards on top of carpet. If that's not how the rest of the baseboards are done, they will indeed look "off;" especially in the corners where the two types come together.

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Would also suggest treated lumber for floor contact in basement (or slab-on-grade). Sill sealer is also a good idea: it breaks capillary action. Also leave drywall gapped above floor for same reason(3/8 to 1/2) –  HerrBag Jul 24 at 1:35
    
I always put my baseboards over carpet. Isn't that the norm? –  DMoore Jul 25 at 21:45

I think the big issue is the carpet. Keeping a padding and old carpet below 2x4 isn't something I would ever suggest but the chances are no one will ever know unless they take the wall out. Now the pad and carpet could make fastening the 2x4 to the concrete. That is something to think about.

The most important thing is the carpet in the rooms. It was stretched for the current room. You are basically nailing the carpet into the floor in the middle. Your carpet will have issues in at least one of the rooms if not both. To rectify the first thing you will have to do is take a knife and cut along the walls. Then lay tacking strips and restretch carpet. This isn't rocket science but this will happen. You aren't doing anything majorly wrong but the initial laziness is just putting off the work.

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Thanks for the answer, didn't know if it would impact the carpet. I think I will just cut a line from side to side where the new wall will be and re-tack afterward. Thanks. –  James Jul 24 at 21:00

Not only should you not nail over carpet for several reasons:

  • As Ecnerwal said, it will look off
  • If any water gets trapped in that carpet it will rot and stink

There is an additional concern.

You can't just nail down a 2x4 into concrete. Period.

You need special equipment to secure a bottom plate to concrete. Typically it's done with a nailer that fires a cartridge using something akin to a bullet.

Plus, you need to protect that wood. Concrete wicks moisture, so that wood will rot eventually if it's exposed to bare concrete. You need a sill pad or other moisture barrier between the 2x4 and the concrete, and no, carpet won't do the job.

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Pressure treated lumber is suitable for a bottom plate in direct contact with concrete. There are threaded anchors that are practical for homeowner installation in this type of non-structural application. If water is coming up through the slab, rot is not the major issue. –  ben rudgers Jul 24 at 1:45
    
I am familiar with framing on concrete I have just never done it over carpet, so yes I am aware a hammer is not going to cut it. My only real concern was whether or not I could go over carpet. –  James Jul 24 at 20:58

I have seen framing installed over carpet several times. It worked well enough.

In one commercial building, the landlord divided a large office space into a bunch of small offices by installing sheet metal framing and sheetrock without doing anything to the carpet. It was a commercial grade carpet with little padding and it compressed just fine when they power-tacked the stud into the concrete through the carpet. After finishing and trim molding, it was hard to tell it wasn't a very well done carpet installation.

At another commercial building, we did the opposite: tore out a bunch of walls to make a cluster of small offices into a classroom. There was carpet under all the walls; the offices seemed perfectly fine. The carpet was unusable so we tossed it out. This was a wood frame floor though, not concrete.

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