If you plan to replace your floor covering and throw out the old rug you may decide to leave it down as long as it doesn't make it impossible to paint the floor trim. In most cases you will want to use drop cloths and tape them down over the floor covering using removable masking tape.
When installing new carpet, be sure to open your doors and windows. Increasing the amount of fresh air In the home will reduce exposure to most chemicals released from carpet. During and after installation, use window fans and room air conditioners to exhaust fumes to the outdoors. If you have a ventilation system, be sure it is in proper working order. Operate it during installation, and keep it running for 48 to 72 hours after the new carpet is installed.
When shopping for carpet, ask about the "green label" program. According to the carpet Industry, the label tells consumers that this carpet type has been tested and passed emissions criteria. The label, however, is not a guarantee that the carpet will not cause health problems. A toll-free phone number is available on the label for updated information on the industry's program.
If you have pets, consider replacing the carpeting before putting your home on the market. Many people are allergic to pets and extremely sensitive to pet odors, which even a recent, thorough cleaning may not mask. And worn carpeting, even if it is clean, can detract from a home's overall appearance, giving the impression it has not been well maintained.
Controlling dust is very important for people who are allergic to animal dander and mites. You cannot see mites, but you can either remove their favorite breeding grounds or keep these areas dry and clean. Dust mites can thrive in sofas, stuffed chairs, carpets, and bedding. Open shelves, fabric wallpaper, knickknacks, and venetian blinds are also sources of dust mites. Dust mites live deep in the carpet and are not removed by vacuuming. Many doctors suggest that their mite-allergic patients use washable area rugs rather than wall-to-wall carpet.
Pay special attention to carpet on concrete floors. Carpet can absorb moisture and serve as a place for biological pollutants to grow. Use area rugs which can be taken up and washed often. In certain climates, if carpet is to be installed over a concrete floor, it may be necessary to use a vapor barrier (plastic sheeting) over the concrete and cover that with sub-flooring (insulation covered with plywood) to prevent a moisture problem.
When purchasing carpeting, you should buy the best-quality carpet you can afford, coupled with the highest quality padding. In fact, the padding that goes between the carpeting and the subflooring is as important as the choice of carpeting itself. Padding provides softness and support, cuts down on noise and insulates the floor. Often referred to as "underlay" or "cushion," padding thickness depends on the pile of the carpet above it. Padding should be no thicker than 7/16 inch, even for a very deep pile carpet. Too much cushion can actually void a manufacturer's warranty; so, take the time to find the padding that is right for your new carpet.
Here's how to protect precious woodwork during home remodeling and construction. Recycle used carpet pads removed with wall-to-wall carpet. The pieces are soft and flexible enough to wrap around banisters and other delicate woodwork. Secure the pads in place with strips of duct tape. This way, your wood will be safe from scratches, gouges, and heavy traffic during remodeling.