What Is a Carpet Gripper and How to Use It

Carpet gripper is a tool made of plywood used to avoid wrinkles on your carpet and make sure it is stretched. It is an equipment in a shape of a long narrow strip (usually about 6 mm thick and 25 mm wide) with several rows of sharp pins or tacks which face upwards. A carpet gripper is installed around the room before laying a carpet and its installation is quite easy. Apart from wall to wall carpet installing, carpet grippers are also used to install some carpet types such as jute-back carpets which are laid on a separate pad and should be stretched and fixed onto the floor.

Basic Information About Carpet Grippers

The pins which are angled at 65 degrees (to the horizontal) hold the edges of the carpet stabile in order to grip it quickly and firmly when it is stretched. There are 2 carpet gripper types namely domestic and commercial carpet grippers. Domestic ones have 2 rows of pins where commercial ones have 3 rows of pins to provide a more solid hold.

Carpet gripper is placed before laying the carpet. You should be careful about the orientation of pins though. Pins should face the outside edge of the carpet. Generally, carpet grippers have standard lengths, but you can cut it down into smaller pieces to place it on the corners, etc. by using a strip cutter or a tenon saw.

You should measure the perimeter of the room before laying the carpet gripper to determine the amount of gripper you need. You should also determine where you will make cuts to fit the gripper on corners etc. Don’t forget to clean the area to be laid in the first place to remove the dirt and dust. In addition, make sure wearing thick gloves in order to prevent any damage that may be caused by the sharp pins.

As I mentioned before, the pins should face upwards and point toward the wall in order to grip the carpet edges in a more solid way. So, be careful when positioning the gripper. You can leave a little space between the gripper and the wall. Most of the grippers come with steel nails and you can use (hammer) these nails to fix the gripper on the ground.

Floor Types on Which Carpet Gripper Is Going to Be Used

The floor may be concrete, wood or anything else. So, there are different types of gripper nails for different types of flooring materials, such as spiral, ring and smooth shank nails. If it is difficult to use a nailed gripper, you can prefer standard carpet grippers with no nails. In such cases, you can glue the gripper on the ground by using an adhesive (construction adhesives or contact adhesives can be used). You can also use plugs and screws to fix the gripper on the ceramic-like surfaces. For metal surfaces, self-tapping screws are recommended to fix the gripper on the floor. If your carpet is a thin one, you should prefer a carpet gripper with short pins in order to prevent pins penetrating deep into the carpet which may cause you to feel the pins by bare feet.

When installing the carpet gripper around corners, obstructions, curves, doorways, etc., you need to maintain the distance between the carpet and the wall evenly. It is recommended to fix each piece of the gripper with at least 2 nails in order to secure its stability. There might be obstructions such as radiators, heaters, and vents, which may make installing the carpet gripper while maintaining the same distance between the carpet and the wall difficult for you. You should first try to remove the obstruction. However, in the case where you cannot remove it, make sure to place the carpet gripper as close to that obstruction as possible. Be careful about not to interfere with the obstruction’s function when doing this.

Doorways and some decorative figures which are curved are places where it is quite hard to install a carpet gripper. That is because you cannot bend a gripper since it is straight. If you encounter a curved space while placing the carpet gripper, just cut the gripper into smaller pieces and place each piece in accordance with the angle of the curve so that the distance between the carpet and the wall would be same along the whole path. For doorways, you need to install a threshold strip to maintain the tension instead of installing the carpet gripper across the threshold.

Hammering the tacks on the carpet gripper may require craftsmanship since they are generally placed so close to each other. You should not hit the pins, so try to use a small headed hammer when nailing the gripper to the floor. If you cannot ensure the stability of the carpet gripper, one of the strips may pop out, which in turn results in wrinkles on your carpet because of the tension loss.

Considerations on Using Carpet Grippers

When calculating the amount of carpet gripper you need, you should measure around the perimeter walls excluding doorways and other openings such as vents and ducts. If your floor is new, you have to use a new carpet gripper before laying a carpet. When replacing an old carpet, it is also recommended to use a brand new carpet gripper. However, if your carpet is kinda new but you still want to change it, you can keep the old gripper without any problem. You can buy a carpet gripper online, as well as from most of the hardware stores. I recommend you to buy it online since online shopping offers cheaper prices.

One of the important aspects of installing a carpet gripper is that you should be careful about the pipes which may be laid just under your floor. In the case you use a nail longer than the distance between the floor and the pipe beneath it, you may harm the pipe which would cause bigger problems later. If you are certain that there are pipes which are close to your floor, you may prefer using an adhesive to fix your carpet gripper onto the floor.

If you choose the wrong carpet gripper which is not suitable for your carpet, you may cause harm to the carpet since it will become worn quickly because of the lack of stability. This will cause financial problems as well as a potential for an accident. ıf the edges of the carpet are not fitted, it can move easily and cause you to slip and fall. There are plenty of carpet gripper types you can choose according to your carpet and flooring types. Thin and thick carpets need different carpet grippers, and concrete and wooden floors require different grippers as well.

Installing the Carpet Gripper

A carpet gripper is generally made of plywood but it can also be made of wood, rubber, and aluminum in some cases. To install the carpet gripper, you should first measure the dimensions of your room accurately. You may need to cut the carpet gripper to make it fit some spaces such as doorways. If you will mark the gripper on where you will cut it, be careful to mark the bottom side of it so that it will not be noticeable after you finish the installation. To cut the gripper, you should use a small device (it may be a saw or a strip cutter as I mentioned before). Cut the gripper very carefully in order to prevent potential damages.

To fix the carpet gripper onto the floor, you need to place it properly and use nails. There are different types of nails suitable for each subfloor material type. Be sure to choose the right one for your home. And be careful about the orientation of the tacks since they need to grip the carpet and stretch it.

You should use a carpet stretching machine before laying your carpet. After stretching it with the machine, the first thing you should do is to connect the tacks of the carpet gripper with the edges of the carpet. If there is an excess, you can cut it. You should use 10 mm nails when installing a carpet gripper on a wooden floor. For concrete floors, you should prefer using Gripfill.

How to Remove an Old Carpet Gripper

You may need to remove your carpet gripper in order to place a new one in situations such as renewing your whole flooring. To remove the carpet gripper, you will need a chisel with a sharp end, a screwdriver to be used as a support under the chisel, and safety glasses and gloves. You can lever the nails out by pushing the chisel under the nail while using the screwdriver as support. If the distance between the carpet gripper and the floor is so small that you cannot push the chisel under it, you may use a hammer (gently!) to obtain the desired result. After removing the first nail, it becomes easier and faster to remove others which saves you a good amount of time.

Another Method of Fixing a Carpet: Adhesives

The carpet is usually fixed to the ground using a carpet gripper, a double-sided tape or a plinth, the bonding is not always necessary. However, you cannot do it on stair steps or on upright surfaces (walls) without additional materials. Carpet glue, especially if the composition is selected and used correctly, will provide a more reliable and durable fixation. As a result, the canvas will be flat, there will be no space underneath, and the faces will last long.

Depending on the type of action and the composition, all adhesives are divided into three large groups. You need to use universal adhesives to glue your carpet on the floor. It is also suitable for reliable fixing of linoleum and some other floor coverings.

Polyurethane-based two-component adhesives are usually used to fix the carpet. In such a composition, the hardener is added immediately before use. The main feature of two-component adhesives is high adhesion. They are therefore ideal for fixing the carpet to walls or uneven surfaces.

Advantages of Adhesives

  • Moisture has no effect on the properties of the adhesive, also on the speed of drying, because drying is caused by a chemical reaction and not by evaporation of water.
  • The compounds in it are resistant to temperature differences.
  • It maintains its flexibility in the frozen state.

When special additives are added, the carpet installation can be done at low temperature. Two-component adhesives based on polyurethane are dried within 60 minutes, so there is not enough time to correct any error during installation.

Disadvantages of Adhesives

  • Toxicity of the hardener. It is necessary to ensure the good ventilation of the room during work and to ensure compliance with the safety regulations.
  • The mixture should be used within one hour.
  • It will then be very difficult to remove the flooring, and you will need a grinder to remove residues of the composition.

Optimal selection of the adhesive composition will reduce installation costs while making the installation of the highest quality, durable and reliable.

This is important! If there is high humidity in the room or if the water contacts with the flooring material, the PVA adhesive cannot be used.

You should consider the following when choosing a suitable adhesive:

  • The size of the room. If the area is small, gluing the carpet is not necessary, it is sufficient to fix it with skirting boards at the edges. The cost of the operation is especially important if the area of the room is large.
  • The floor on which to install. You should make sure the floor to be smooth enough and it absorbs moisture well.
  • Conditions where the carpet will be laid. The more active the movement in the room, the more reliable the adhesive should be.
  • The base of the carpet. It can be felt, jute, rubber, or polyurethane foam. It directly affects the material to be used in gluing.
  • Ease of work. It is better to prefer one of the two components with the same characteristics, which is more comfortable to work with.

Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like history and reading about carpets. I like to play soccer too :)

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