Do It Yourself

Why pay the pros?

There are many home improvement and maintenance tasks that you probably wouldn't do yourself, like wiring your own electrical panel, repairing ruptured plumbing fixtures or replacing your roofing. But carpet installation, cleaning and maintenance are all tasks where you can save money by simply doing the job without professional help. Although you may periodically need to call in a pro for the worst messes or for a complete carpet cleaning, you can at least stretch out the time between professional visits by regularly maintaining and cleaning the carpets yourself.

If you want to save money when deciding how much carpet to buy, in most cases you won't need to pay a professional carpet installer to measure your home and estimate the carpet area you'll need.

Unless you have rooms that are of especially unusual proportions, or fixtures such as curving staircases and split levels, the measurement and estimation process will be straightforward with the help of our guide to estimating carpet size.

When it comes to carpet installation, professional help may not be absolutely necessary. Vacuuming the old carpet, removing it and taking it to a dump or recycling plant are all things you can do yourself. If you've installed carpet before or are a particularly handy homeowner, there's no reason why you can't complete the cutting and installation on your own. But if you're allergic to dust, have trouble cutting the heavy carpet material or backing, or if you don't want a less-than-professional installation, then calling in the experts may prove to be a wise choice.

And there are many tricks of the trade for maintaining your carpet on your own. For example, place an ice cube on the depressed areas of carpet where furniture has been sitting and allow it to melt. The cold temperature and water will help the fibers stand back up after being mashed for long periods of time by chairs, tables or other home furnishings.

As with any home-improvement project, make sure that you know what you're doing if you plan to eschew all professional help, but don't be afraid to try the work yourself - just because the pros normally do it, doesn't mean they have to.

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