How to Cut Carpet to Fit a Space

May 12, 2021 | 0 comments

It takes a bit of know-how to cut carpet to fit a space, accurately and without any jagged edges or fraying.

This can come in handy whether you plan to:

  • install your own wall-to-wall carpeting
  • replace a stained or damaged section of carpeting
  • put a piece of leftover carpeting to good use, for instance as a mat.

Best tools for cutting carpet

A number of tools are available for cutting carpet. These range from general-purpose knives to specialised carpet cutters with either single or double blades.

Industrial carpet knife

A carpet knife – also called an X-acto or utility knife – is robust but lightweight and has a short, stiff blade that’s easy to control. The blade must be replaced periodically to keep it sharp.

At Ecobox, we offer a good, sturdy industrial carpet knife.

It’s ideal for cutting carpet to fit a space. It’s also useful for slicing through cardboard and packing tape after a move, for craft projects and for a wide range of household maintenance tasks.

Craft knives with snap-off blades

Some utility knives  (especially those sold as craft or hobby knives) come with snap-off blades.

This is convenient. However, the blade tends to be less strong and rigid than on a traditional utility knife. This can make it difficult to cut through tough carpet backing. It also increases the risk of the blade slipping.

Electric carpet cutter

An electric carpet cutter has a durable fixed blade that stays sharp for a long time. It cuts through carpeting without requiring force or straining your wrist. This type of tool may be a worthwhile investment if you have a lot of carpet to cut.

Professional carpet knife

A professional carpet knife has a long and slightly curved fixed blade that need periodic resharpening. It’s used mostly by professionals only. It can take practice to get the knack of using it.

Before you start: Measure, and then measure again

Measure the dimensions of the space you plan to carpet. The old adage “measure twice, cut once” has never been truer than with carpeting.

A skew or short cut can make an entire section of carpet useless. This is especially disastrous if you’re fitting a full carpet. (Fitted carpet comes in large rolls!).

If the space you need to fit isn’t a simple square or rectangular, draw a diagram and measure each straight edge individually.

For wall-to-wall carpeting, be careful to account for the width of any skirting board. Typically, carpeting should fit snugly against (not under) the skirting board.

Also find out the width of the roll of carpet you’ll be using. Then you can plan how much to cut at a time and where to place seams.

How to cut carpet accurately

For accuracy, it’s advisable to cut carpet from the back. This makes cuts easier to see and helps prevent the carpet fibres from jamming up the blade.

The backing is the hardest part to get through.

Cut in short sections at a time, keeping your wrist straight and in a fixed position. Don’t overreach, or you may go skew or cut yourself. Instead, shift your position along the cutting edge as you go along for better control.

Also, replace your blade frequently. This helps ensure a clean cut and makes it unnecessary to apply too much pressure.

How to prevent cut carpet edges from fraying

If a carpet edge is going to be left exposed, for example on the stairs or for use as a rug, it will need to be treated to prevent fraying. Seams in the carpeting should also be treated.

First trim any excess threads, fibres or fuzz.

Then, using a paintbrush, spread a thin layer of carpet adhesive or liquid resin along the edge. It’s best to do this in short sections so the glue doesn’t dry prematurely.

Allow the glue to dry thoroughly according to the manufacturer’s instructions before installing the carpet.

How to hide carpet seams

Most carpeting jobs require at least one or two seams, or joins.

Seams are not held together by tack strips (these only ever go against walls). Instead, use seaming tape underneath the join.

Ideally, aim to position seams where they won’t be as noticeable, for instance in low light areas or under furniture.

Sometimes it’s possible to cover seams using metal carpet trim. This is common in doorways.

If you get lifting or peaking, you may need to replace the seaming tape. Alternatively, try fixing the tape by steaming gently with an iron and using a seam comb to redistribute the fibres over the join.

What we offer at Ecobox

At Ecobox, we don’t supply or install carpeting but we do understand the importance of proper planning. If you’re planning a move, our online shop stocks everything you need, from moving boxes in a wide range of sizes to protective covers and packing materials.

We also offer a good, sturdy industrial carpet knife, ideal for dealing with moving boxes and packaging, and for cutting carpet to fit a space. Contact us online or call on 079 476 0626 for more information.
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