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Old 05-04-2008, 05:27 PM   #1
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Need help with installing carpet tack strips


I ordered new carpet. I took up the old carpet, padding, and old tack strips. So I'm down to the old thin tiles that were originally under this carpet (house built in 1965). Some tiles are missing and/or loose, so I've bought some tiles to replace those areas, because the carpet measurer said that all the black mastic has to be covered up (these old 12x12 thin tiles have the black mastic underneath, and then the concrete floor underneath). The carpet measurerer said that since these tiles are dated around 1965, they won't nail new carpet tack strips into this old tile because of asbestos issues. So they must glue the new tack strips down instead (at an additional cost of $125). The problem is: This old tile is so crumbly; if they glue tack strips down to this old crumbly tile, the tile would probably come loose from the subfloor in no time at all. So what I want to do is buy new tack strips and nail them down into the floor myself. That way, the new carpet will stay put.

What do I need to know before nailing these new tack strips down? How far away from the wall should they be set? Is there anything else I need to know before I tack these down? I don't want to go to all this work, have the carpet guys come out, and them find a problem with how I laid these tack strips. Any help is appreciated.


Last edited by proofer; 05-04-2008 at 06:03 PM. Reason: adding a bit more info
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Old 05-04-2008, 09:47 PM   #2
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Need help with installing carpet tack strips


Are you on concrete or wood subfloor ? This is important because their is 2 different type of tack strips. If your new carpet is a berber sometime arch. tack strips are a benefit. they are wider and have more nails. Yes, the black emulsion adhesive needs to be covered. Is your tile 1/8" thick or thinner.

My suggestion is use a hair dryer and heat up the tile so they are softer and you will be able to nail the tack strip in without breaking the tile. It may not be necessary if the tiles are in a constant temperture of 70 degrees or higher. Cracking asbestos tile does not put risk to you. Wiping the tile with a damp sponge before nailing into it, will prevent any airborne fibers. Also nail the tack strip 1" from the wall. Good Luck.

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Old 05-05-2008, 01:31 PM   #3
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Need help with installing carpet tack strips


In answer to your questions:

This is on a concrete floor.

The carpet is not a berber; it'll be a plush.

Yes; the tile is 1/8" inch or thinner, I'm guessing.

I don't think making the black mastic softer would help, as it's not the mastic making the tile break. The tile itself is crumbling just due to its age and I guess dry rot.

Thanks for the tip about wiping the tile first with a damp cloth. I'll be sure to do that just in case there's any airborne asbestos coming out of these tiles when I'm nailing.

Question: You're saying to tack the carpet tack strips 1" inch from the wall? I'm getting different measurements from different Internet sources. You say 1", but I've also seen 3/8" and 1/4".
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Old 05-23-2008, 11:36 PM   #4
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Need help with installing carpet tack strips


Hope I'm not too late with some input here, but let me throw in some thoughts from a guy that works with asbestos on a daily basis (asbestos inspector, project designer). We routinely run into situations where we're collecting samples of potential asbestos-containing materials that, due to the type of material and required sampling methods, might disturb asbestos fibers. Spray some shaving cream down in the areas where you will need to nail or drill into the floor. The shaving cream will trap any fibers that might be released due to the methods you are using. Again, this sounds crazy, but it works extremely well and when your done, just wipe up the excess shaving cream and you're ready to go. Just my $0.02. Good luck!
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Old 05-24-2008, 02:27 PM   #5
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Need help with installing carpet tack strips


I have seen my carpet installer use his thumb as a spacer to install the tack less. He puts the finger against the wall side ways so the flat part is touching the wall and he brings the tack less to the nail side of his finger. so I would agree about the 1/4" to 3/8" rule that you have heard about.
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Old 05-24-2008, 05:51 PM   #6
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Need help with installing carpet tack strips


Thanks for your tips.

UPDATE: The carpet was installed yesterday. When they called a week ago to schedule the install date, they said that no, I didn't have to tack the strips down myself after all---that the installers would be nailing it down.

But I did have a heck of a time gluing down LOTS of the old 1960s' tile that had come loose. They had said that they wouldn't nail into straight black mastic. At H.D. they recommended something called "2057" that they thought would be a good adhesive. But that sure didn't work; even after the 5 to 6 hours of cure time. So I had to set the old tile aside and use "leveler" (is what they called it), which looked/acted like a cement. So I had this leveler around the perimeter of all the rooms and hallway, as well as in all the spots where the old tile had come loose from the black mastic. It was a BIG job, but it's done.

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