How to Install Outdoor Carpet On Concrete Porch

Besides looking empty, bare concrete floors can get cold and loud. If you like to warm things up, then consider installing a carpet cover. 

Carpeting a concrete porch doesn’t only provide warmth and noise reduction but also makes the porch more inviting. This is important, especially when your porch is situated in front of the building. 

It is possible to carpet any type of concrete if you plan well, use the right tools and employ suitable methods. And the task isn’t as difficult as some of us presume, you can do a good job even without much DIY experience. 

However, it is worth noting that carpeting concrete isn’t exactly the same thing as carpeting wooden surfaces. You will need a different carpet material and perhaps somewhat different tools. 

In this guide, I will show you a step-by-step procedure on how to install outdoor carpet on concrete porch or any other type of concrete flooring.

Without wasting any more time, let’s delve in.

Installing outdoor carpet on concrete porch

Preparation

Preparation is essential in any DIY project, and carpet installation is no different. Adequate preparation can significantly increase the quality of your installation and ensure it lasts for a long time.

Before you start the main installation step, here are some things to do first:

  • First, make sure you choose a suitable carpet material. Using the wrong material can be a waste of time and money, even if the installation is done right. 
  • Next, empty the whole porch. Remove every single item. 
  • Now, clean the floor. You can mop the entire area with a bleaching solution (one cupful of bleach mixed with one gallon of water). This will help remove mold and bacteria and ensure they don’t bread under the new carpet. 
  • Wear proper clothing and gloves while applying bleach. Since the porch is outside already, there’s no need to worry about ventilation. Just make sure there’s nothing by the side of the porch preventing unrestricted airflow. 
  • After drying, you can check if the porch still got moisture by tapping a transparent plastic wrapper on the floor. Wait for a whole day. Then, remove the seal and check under the plastic. If you find moisture, then it means the floor has moisture, and you need to apply a moisture sealant or waterproof paint before you commence your carpet installation. 
  • Next, if you have any door in front of your porch or by the side, you need to sand the bottom, so it moves freely over the new carpet.
  • For any crack in the floor, fill it with concrete and level it out. Give enough time to dry before placing the new carpet.
  • Whether you rent or buy a tack strip for the project, make sure it comes with concrete nails. These strips usually have a label “c,” meaning the nails are specifically designed for concrete and will hold your carpet better than the regular nails you know about.

Installation

  • Get the tack strip and lay it on each corner of the porch, close to the wall. Now, with the help of masonry nails, attach the strip to the floor. Do this for each perimeter length of the porch. If you don’t want to use a tack strip, then you should opt for a glue-down carpet. 
  • Make sure the tack points are facing the walls of the porch. There should be a gap between the wall and gripper that is just the carpet pile depth. This is where you are going to tuck the edges of the carpet.
  • Next, place the underlay or padding strips, and make sure the seams are close enough. Now, cover the seams with your duct tape. Remove excesses using a utility knife.  
  • The carpet should have already been cut according to the size of your porch. If not, do it now. Make sure you leave an extra 15.2cmall around the carpet material. Now apply a steam iron where the seams join. 
  • Next, lay the carpet out and ensure it sits into each corner using a knee kicker. Now, stretch it across the porch using your stretcher. Flatten it out until it’s smooth.
  • Cut off any excess carpet at the corners. You have now carpeted your porch. 

What type of carpet is best for concrete floors?

Carpets made from synthetic fibers offer the best cover and protection for synthetic porch floors. They offer more breathability, are water-resistant, and do not hold moisture like natural fibers. The carpets are also sun and abrasion-resistant. So you expect to use them for a long time.

Even if you were to use the carpet under a shade, it still needs to be water-resistant. This is important to minimize the growth of mold and mildew. Synthetic fibers retain the least amount of water, so the appearance of mold or mildew is less common. 

My favorite synthetic fiber material is polypropylene olefin. Besides having all the properties we mentioned above, it is also chemical resistant, so it can withstand bleach and other harsh cleaning chemicals.

It melts when subjected to fire, so we can safely say it’s heat resistant. Though it’s not the softest synthetic fiber out there, it is one of the most durable options. It is the best type of carpet for concrete floors. 

Can you put carpet directly on concrete?

Yes, you can put your carpet directly on concrete, but you need to use the right carpet because this method doesn’t work for all carpet types. Carpets made from synthetic fibers are the best options. The carpet needs to be glued down and the concrete surface where you plan to install the carpet needs to dry and leveled. This will ensure it completely adheres to the concrete floor.

Instead of using an adhesive, some people might tape down the carpet edges. Although some manufacturers suggest this, it makes your installation anything but intact. So, I advise against doing that. 

It can cause the carpet to buckle and pull at the edges whenever you move a piece of furniture or something. 

Instead, go for a good adhesive. For better results, use both adhesive and tape. Spread the adhesive generously on the floor. You can start with half of the porch.

The next thing is to lay the carpet and tape it. Give the adhesive some time to dry before using the carpet. Before then, smoothen everything out with a carpet roller or something heavy. 

Can you install carpet on a concrete floor without using tack strips?

Yes, you can install carpet on a concrete floor without using tack strips. However, some carpet installers believe that doing so will make your installation less durable, and the carpet will not stay intact. But there’s still a way to get around this. 

Instead of using only nails, which I don’t recommend, there are other things you can use for your carpet installation in place of tack strips. 

Some of these include tapes, underlays, adhesives or glues, and staples. These are great alternatives to strips and will work just as well in keeping your installation in place. 

According to most people, not using strips makes it easy to remove the carpet. This can prove to be helpful if you’re going to be changing carpets occasionally.

Also, some tack strips don’t adhere strictly to concrete. This is why it’s very important to use the right strip if you choose to use it for your installation. 

Can you install carpet without a stretcher?

Yes, it’s doable but not recommended. Carpet installations done without a stretcher or knee kicker will not have high quality as one done with a stretcher. This is because stretchers are essential in keeping the carpet down and flat.

A carpet cannot stay in place on its own. You will need something to pull it taut and keep it stuck to the grip strips. This is usually done with a stretcher. 

Using a stretcher helps your carpet to stay flat and prevents wrinkling and bumps. 

That said, if you insist on installing the carpet without a stretcher, then there are other ways you can go about it. One of them is to stretch the carpet from the edge of the porch to another wearing grippy shoes. 

Another option is to place a piece of furniture on the carpet (close to the edges) to tack it to the floor. However, with this method, once you move the furniture, the carpet will become loose.

Thirdly, you can make your own carpet stretcher. 

Unfortunately, with all these methods, it isn’t easy to obtain a perfectly leveled surface. There’s also a huge tendency that the carpet will buck and crease, which can affect its appearance and durability. 

So, it’s still better to use a stretcher.

Admittedly, buying whole stretchers can be expensive, but you can also consider renting one. 

The Dos and Don’ts while installing outdoor carpet on a concrete porch?

The Do’s

  • Make sure you use an outdoor carpet. Avoid using indoor or standard carpets as those are not suitable for outdoor use.
  • Ensure the area or surface you’re installing the carpet is perfectly smooth and flat. Even if there’s a little scope, make sure there are no holes or dips in the concrete, as this can shed water. 
  • To keep your cuts smooth and even, use a sharp carpet knife. Always do your trimmings from the back of the carpet, and whether you cut slowly or fast, make sure it’s done with precision.
  • Wear goggles or any other eye protection. This is very important when hitting the masonry nails into the floor. 
  • Make sure you have your gloves on whenever you’re using the tack strips.

The Don’ts

  • It may be tempting to use the remnant carpet from inside the house, but this can pose a lot of challenges. Besides durability issues, cleaning can be tougher, and you have to worry about mold and mildew buildup. Not to mention the fact it could be a fire hazard.
  • Never lay carpet on a surface that hasn’t been washed, or that is newly washed. Give the floor some time to dry thoroughly. This can take a few days. Carpeting a floor that isn’t fully dry can encourage mold and mildew growth. This applies to any flooring, whether it’s concrete, wood, or something else.

Conclusion

By now, you should know how to install outdoor carpet on concrete porch, or at least you have some idea. 

Though I highly recommend using tack strips and stretchers to get a quality installation, you can still work without these tools. Whichever route you choose to go, make sure you prepare your floor first before laying your new carpet. 

However, if the whole installation step sounds too much for you, then consider hiring professional carpet installers. Though it will cost you some money, it will give you some peace of mind.

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