How to Install Carpet Tack Strips on Concrete?

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In this article we will answer the question, “how to install carpet tack strips on concrete?”. Types of tack strips depending on your carpet and the purpose of your carpet, tips for safe and successful installation of carpet tack strips on concrete are also provided in this article.

How to install carpet tack strips on concrete?

Carpet tack strips are narrow lengths of wood that are used to keep the carpet in place wall-to-wall. It is nailed and/or glued to you hardwood floors or concrete floors. The tack strip also keeps the carpet stretched and free of wrinkles.

You’ll need the following:

Step-by-step instruction:

Step 1: Preparation before installation

Before proceeding to the job, determine first the area you will install your carpet tack strip and the perimeter dimension. Identify the number of tack strips you need and determine the cuts of tack strips you need to make. You can use a tenon saw, a stiff hand saw used to cut tenon joints and mortise, to cut the tack stips in order to fit in the dimension of the room. Also, make sure that you clean the floor area of installation and removed all trim along the floor before installing

Step 2. Choose the appropriate type of tackstrip.

Choose the appropriate type of tackstrip. Each type has a different purpose on your concrete floor and installation method.

Step 3: Place your tack strip on the concrete.

Take your tack strip then place it around the perimeter of the room. Make sure that the pins are pointing towards the wall.

Step 4: Follow the exact outline of your wall.

When installing the tack strip follow the exact outline of the walls and the tack strip must be cut to the proper length to achieve this.

Step 5: Mark where the nails are.

Using your pencil, mark where your nails are. Place your tack strip farther away from the wall, leaving a space of not exceeding ⅜-inch, slightly less than the thickness of the carpet. Also, this space will allow you to drill the holes through these marks and set your tack strip right on top of it and nail in place.

Step 6: Drill out the marks.

After you mark where the nails are on your concrete, drill out the marks. Remove all the dust produced during drilling out of the way. You can run through your drill in the hole to clean dust in the hole and other excess dust.

Step 7: Place the dowel rod in the hole.

Place the dowel rod in the hole. Make sure that your dowel rod is about the same size as your drill bit or maybe just a little bidder so that when you drive your nails into place it will expand against the concrete.

Step 8: Cut the dowel rod.

Using an angle saw, flush cut the excess dowel rod on the concrete.

Step 9: Place the tack strip on top of the holes.

Take your tack strip and place on top of the holes you drilled. Then hammer a nail inside through the drilled hole to hold the tack strip in place.

Types of Tack Strip

In installing your carpet tack strip you have to first determine the appropriate type of tack strip to use. Here are the different types of tack strip based on the width of the strip:

  • 1-inch wide, ¼-inch thick with two (2) rows of pins

This is the minimum requirement and appropriate for heavily-latexed backed carpets or carpets with thick cushion since its front and back rows of pins are placed farther apart allowing an extra strength.

  • 1-¾ inch wide, ¼-inch thick with three (3) rows of pins

This is for architecture or commercial purposes and used for difficult installation.Anchoring nails are positioned closer to the wall to prevent the strip to be lifted when the carpet is stretched. According to standards, “Use architectural tackstrip for stretches exceeding 30-feet in length or width, heavily-latexed backed carpets most woven and Berber style carpet.”

  • 1-¼ inch wide, ¼-inch thick with three (3) rows of pins.

This is also called the tri-tack strip. Tri-tack strip is an economical alternative to double stripping and full width commercial tack strip. With its full 3 rows of pins tri-tack provides extra insurance on difficult residential installation.

Aside from the strip width, there are other types of tack strip based on the type of anchoring nail, type of wood, length of the strip, bevel angle, pin height, type of substrate, height of the carpet and if the aluminum strip is to be considered.

Problems that can occur when incorrect tack strip was used

Using incorrect strips poses several problems on your carpet installation and may damage your concrete. Here are disadvantage of using incorrect strip:

  • Narrower tackstrip can make it more difficult to attach your carpet to the tack strip especially for carpet that has a thick cushion and that are heavily latexed.
  • Narrower tack strip has of course lower integrity as compared to the wider tack strips. This will lead to tack strips to be easily broken and may require additional stripping.
  • Tack strips that are narrower in width can lead to more missed hits and increased damage to the wood and to your wood flooring or concrete flooring.

Tips on Installing Carpet Tack Strip

  • Use a minimum of two (2) nails to secure each section of your tack strip to the floor.
  • Make sure that the tack strip is properly secured when you install your carpet.
  • In case nailing is not an option such as drainage systems or radiant heated floors, tack strips can be glued down using urethane construction adhesive or using hot-melt adhesive such as Roadware MATS.
  • Carpet should never be stapled to the tack strip.
  • Avoid installing tack strips to join two carpets between your concrete floor, and do not place tack strips across openings to rooms or doorways or stairs.
  • You can use carpet transition strips to hold the edge of your carpet especially to a surface that lies lower than your carpet.

Removing Tack Strips from Hardwood Flooring or Concrete Flooring

You can reuse tack strips and utilize it for your next installation of different carpet. However, if your tack strip is damaged already or you installed it wrong you can remove the tack strip. For concrete, use a pry bar, just slip it under one of the nails of your task strip then pry it up. If it is difficult to pry up, you can use a hammer to help loosen it.

For a hardwood floor, you will also need a putty knife or any similar tools. Slip under the putty knife under the tack strip next to a nail to protect the floor then thrust the pry bar. Once one nail is removed, continue wedging the remaining nails.

Sweep the floor to remove any loose nails and rug out dirts. Make sure that all nails are pulled up from your flooring. If you decide to totally remove your carpet and choose a different flooring, you can have a laminate flooring or tile your concrete.


Tack strips are an essential material if you opt to carpet your floor. There are several factors you need to consider before installing, such as the perimeter dimensions, the carpet type you will use, tack strip type, and many others. In installing you should follow the tips to prepare yourself for anything that might go wrong during your installation.

For any questions and suggestions about this article, please feel free to submit your thoughts in the comment section below.

FAQs: How to install carpet tack strips on concrete?

Where should carpet tack strips be placed?

Tack strips are installed around the perimeter of the room you want to install your carpet. Using a small hand saw or special wood snips, cut 1-inch-wide strips to length. Then nail down the tack strips using a hammer. Make sure to install your tack strip about ½ inch away from the baseboard to provide pace for slipping the carpeting.

Can you lay carpet directly on concrete?

You can lay carpet directly on concrete, however, there are disadvantages in doing so. Since concrete is a cold hard surface and carpet provides a warm layer, possible condensation can occur thus possibly damping the underside of the carpet. This is the reason to invest a good-quality synthetic underlay to provide the extra cushioning and barrier between your carpet and floor.

Can you reuse carpet tack strips?

Old carpet tack strips can be reused. After removing your carpet, you can still use the tack strip used previously especially if they are still not in the bad shape. If the tack strip is already in bad shape and cannot be repaired, this is the time you can change your tack strips, but take note that you have to remove all the staples left over from the old padding.

Does carpet padding go over the tack strip?

Carpet pad edges should be against the edge of the tack stips and not over the tack strips. A staple hammer-tacker can be used to fasten the carpet pad against the end of the tack strip. The entire carpet padding should cover the entire floor area then trim access at the edge of tack strip.

Is it worth re stretching the carpet?

Carpet stretching is worth it since it extends the lifespan of the carpet and reduces the chances of slipping and falling. In addition, it improves the air quality and makes the carpet look new. To do this task you can hire a professional.


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