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How to Choose Between Glue-In and Stretch-In Carpet Installation

A Carpet

Carpet is a luxurious flooring option because it softens noise, offers a warm and supportive surface to stand on, and comes in rich color and pattern combinations. Yet even after you choose carpet as your favorite flooring for living rooms and bedrooms, you'll need to pick an installation method before you can get a quote and schedule the work.


There are two major choices for modern carpet installation methods. One involves gluing the carpet to the subfloor material with the help of adhesives and sometimes with an extra pad glued down first. The second is known as stretching carpet in with tackless strips. Choose between the two by comparing the relative benefits and weaknesses of each installation method.


Type of Carpeting


Not all carpet weaves and construction methods work well with all installation methods. For example, needle-felted carpet materials work well with all installation methods, even being loosely laid over an existing floor. In contrast, foam carpets don't handle stretching well and must be installed with some kind of adhesive over a very smooth subfloor.


Amount of Traffic


The traffic level of each area is often the primary deciding factor between stretched and glued carpet installations. Stretching installation methods, such as tackless strips or tacks, provide a carpet that can only handle moderate foot traffic and light rolling traffic. If you're installing carpeting in a home office where you use a rolling chair or in a busy entryway, switching to adhesive installation offers greater durability.


Gluing the carpet down also helps it resist wear and tear through years of use because it is more firmly anchored to the subfloor. However, you'll find that you're trading a little comfort for the increased durability since even double-glued installations with pads are less cushioned than stretched carpets over pads.


Potential for Rippling


Stretching a section of carpet from one edge of the room to the next puts a lot of tension on the material in multiple directions. If the carpet can't handle the tension, it may start to stretch or shrink and develop ripples in any direction. Carpet can begin to ripple within weeks or months of installation, or it may take years for this kind of wear to develop in a stretched carpet.


Glued-in carpeting can ripple and wrinkle too, but generally only when there's an unusually high level of moisture in the subfloor due to a leak or the use of carpeting in a bathroom. In general, using adhesives results in less rippling over the lifespan of a carpet, especially in large rooms where the carpet is covering spans of dozens of feet.


Smoothness of Subflooring


Carpet is a versatile flooring because installers can add it over practically any stable and dry existing flooring aside from other carpeting. However, the stretched method of installation is far more forgiving when you're adding carpet over tile or uneven and worn vinyl and concrete.


The combination of a less compressed carpet pad and a stretched layer of carpet hides imperfections, while a glued layer of carpet shows all of the bumps and unevenness below the surface. Carpet may also fail to stick and come loose in some sections if the subfloor is not perfectly level and smooth before the installers apply adhesives.


Control of Movement


Finally, wheelchair and mobility aid users should choose glued-in carpet installation for all carpeted areas in the home. Using adhesives prevents tiny amounts of movement that are common in stretched carpeting, which provides a more stable experience for the wheelchair user and reduces wear on the carpet as well.


No matter which kind of carpet installation method you prefer, we can supply the adhesives and other materials you need to complete it here at Floors Unlimited. Call us today to discuss your options and to get more information on the carpeting techniques we recommend.