There are many times when it might make sense to place carpet over hardwood flooring. Perhaps you're about to rent out your home, or maybe you're about to purchase a new pet. Maybe you just like the look of carpet. Regardless, a good carpet flooring can protect your hardwood for literally decades to come -- as long as it's installed correctly. Here are some of the most common mistakes homeowners run into when protecting their hardwood.
Failing to Properly Prepare the Hardwood
Hardwood has to be exceptionally clean before carpeting is placed over it. A single grain of sand trapped beneath the hardwood and the padding will create deep scratches over time, as the padding will move over the hardwood each time the carpeting is stepped on. You should always work from room to room while carpeting over hardwood flooring, and you should prepare it very carefully.
Not Waiting for the Hardwood to Dry
Once cleaned, hardwood has to be dried thoroughly -- otherwise it could grow mold and mildew underneath the padding. While this is true of any surface, hardwood can be particularly susceptible to rot and mildew because it is wood and because it is porous. Properly sealing your hardwood will protect the wood itself, but it also means that a layer of moisture may be produced between the wood and the padding, which can cause similar problems.
Purchasing the Wrong Padding for Between Carpet and the Hardwood
Though hardwood does have some give, it's always best to install thicker padding over the hardwood and beneath the carpeting, when you're installing carpet over the wood. Many homeowners make the mistake of purchasing fairly thin carpet padding, both because it's affordable and because it's still comfortable. But the thicker your carpet padding is, the less likely damage is to occur to your hardwood over time. Hardwood can still be dented under carpeting, especially in situations where you may have careless renters.
Using the Wrong Tack Strips
There are different tack strips for different materials. The most common type of strip is for concrete. For hardwood, you need special tackless strips that are specifically designed for installation over wood. Other types of strip may either cause too much damage to your hardwood or even pull out of the hardwood over time, creating a loose carpeting surface.
Though you can install carpet on your own, it's a good idea to consult with a professional before you install carpet over hardwood flooring. A single mistake during the installation could lead to costly damage later on.