Which Way Should Carpet Pile Run?

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Getting a new carpet is an exciting moment for a homeowner. However, if you are doing the installation yourself, you may be wondering which way the carpet pile should run. Not to worry, because we have answered that question in this article.

The carpet pile should run in the same direction, preferably towards the home entrance when laying carpet. For the stairs, the carpet pile should run down the stairs. In addition, the seams should be the same direction in areas where there is high foot traffic.

Laying carpet can be done on your own, but it needs to be installed correctly to look professional, function adequately, and last long.

That's why in this article, we will discuss the proper way to carpet pile should be laid throughout the house and on the stairs. In addition, we will answer other frequently asked questions about laying carpet, so read on!

An up close photo of the lining in a carpet pile, Which Way Should Carpet Pile Run?

Which Way Should Carpet Pile Run?

There are different ways to lay carpet, but you must figure out how the pile should run. This will ensure that your carpet is running in the direction of high traffic. If you have ever seen many old rugs, you know that this makes a difference in how they wear over time.

One of the most common mistakes people make when laying carpet is running in different directions. For example, if you're walking from one room to another and notice that the carpet pile is going one way on your right side and in a completely different direction on your left side, then you have a problem.

It is essential to lay the carpet so that the pile runs in the same direction throughout the home when laying a new carpet. This will help protect the carpet from sun exposure which can fade colors, leading to premature aging of your carpeting.

The rule applies for all house areas with high foot traffic except stairs, where you should have it running down instead. In addition, the carpet seams should also run in the same direction on stairs where there is high foot traffic.

When laying carpet in hallways, you must stretch the carpet tightly to avoid problems with the pile running in different directions. This will help keep your carpets looking nice and new for longer without any significant wear and tear.

Worker unrolling a huge roll of carpet in the living room

What does the arrow mean on the back of the carpet?

When you buy a roll of carpet or padding, it will have an arrow on one end. The arrow tells you which way to orient the carpet when installing it in your home.

If you go against the arrow and install it with the pile going in the wrong direction, then this can lead to premature aging of your carpeting and possibly even rippling where the carpeting is not laid.

Gray carpet pile stitching photographed up close

Is carpet laid in one piece?

Carpet usually comes in 12 to 15-foot wide pieces, so depending on the size of the room will determine if you can get it done with one piece. You may, however, have to do more than one piece if the room is large or you are doing stairs. If you need more than one piece of carpet, then you will need to seam them together.

A seam is where two pieces of carpeting are joined together into a single piece. A good seam will be hard to see over time and holds up well to foot traffic, but if you do it wrong, then you can end up with ripples in your carpet where the seams are not flush against each other or pulled tight enough.

Where should carpet seams be?

When a seam is needed, some strategy goes into place. First off, seams should be placed in low-traffic areas. The reason is that high foot traffic areas will wear the seam down and even lead to premature aging of your carpeting.

Secondly, you will want the seam to be close to a wall. This will help with durability over time, but the pattern of your carpet should not be disturbed. If you have a transition strip, this would be an excellent place to put it.

Next, keep the seam away from areas that receive direct sunlight. Direct sunlight will make the seam easier to see. In addition, a seam on a window side of a room will be more prone to wear and tear.

Lastly, start seams at the farthest corner from the entrance door. Then, as you face the entrance door inside the room, it will be on your left. This ensures that each side of the carpet runs in different directions, minimizing wear and tear.

Using a seam iron in joining two ends of a carpet in the living room

Do I really need a carpet stretcher?

Using a carpet stretcher can help you stretch the carpet so that it lays flat and smooth, reducing the visibility of seams. With no visible seams, your new flooring will look fantastic.

However, if you don't have access to a stretcher, there are other ways to get the job done. One way is with knee pads and a pry bar.

If you don't have knee pads, get on your hands and knees and use the edge of a pry bar to stretch the carpet in different directions. This is a suitable method for smaller areas where a stretcher would be impractical to carry around.

What does a "nap" mean?

The carpet's nap is simply the direction in which the pile lays. Carpets can have a nap direction in which it is either up or down.

When the carpet pile lays in an up position, it will help prevent matting and make it easier to vacuum. The problem with laying a carpet this way is that you may see the color fade over time.

This happens because there is direct sunlight on one side of the carpet. As a result, minor color fading when you lay it down with the nap.

How long does carpet last?

Moving boxes scattered in the living room with a rolled carpet pile on the side

The type of carpet and how it is cared for will determine how long it will last. That said, carpet can last on average 5 to 15 years. However, there are ways you can increase the lifespan of your carpet.

The most significant factor in a carpet's life is the amount of sunlight it receives. Therefore, putting carpets near windows or in direct sunlight can reduce its life significantly.

In addition, bright light will reduce your colors over time. If you have bright invasive lights installed, this should be considered when picking out your carpet.

The second most significant factor is the amount of foot traffic. Carpets with high amounts of traffic will not have as long a life as carpets with low amounts of traffic. This is because the increased foot traffic causes increased abrasion on your carpeting, leading to a shorter lifespan.

Another factor is how often it is cleaned. Regularly cleaning your carpets will help keep them looking fresh and new. You should also vacuum often to help separate the fibers of your carpeting, allowing it to retain its plush texture.

Lastly, avoid excessive moisture in your home. Excessive water can lead to mold, which in turn will reduce the life of your carpet. If you notice any leaks, then always clean them up immediately.

Can I lay the carpet myself?

Yes, you can lay carpet yourself. However, it is essential to remember that carpeting requires safe handling procedures and equipment usage.

Therefore, it is recommended that you hire a professional to do the job for you. If this is not an option, make sure you read up on proper safety precautions.

Carpet installation requires heavy equipment, so it is important to have everything ready before beginning. This can include necessary tools, protective gear, and probably an extra set of hands.

As long as you are well-prepared, the job should not take more than a day or two. It is much easier when you plan out your layout first. Moreover, it is good to have furniture moved out of the way for easy access.

Another thing to consider is padding, which is placed underneath the carpet as an added cushioning layer. It is important to keep in mind that not all types of carpet need padding - some will already have a cushion attached.

Worker using a hammer and chisel in installing the carpet padding, How To Staple Carpet Padding

Final Thoughts

Carpet installer using a knee kicker for installing the carpet in the corners

Overall, laying carpet yourself can be exciting and frustrating at the same time. However, if you follow the correct procedures, you will finish with a beautifully laid carpet. Some companies will offer free installation with the purchase of carpet, so that may be a great option if you feel overwhelmed!

If you liked this article, then you might also like:

Where Should Carpet Seams Be Placed?

Squeaky Floor Under Carpet? Here's What To Do

How To Transition Carpet To Tile [Even Without Transition Strips]

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