What Staples to Use for Carpet: A Guide to the Right Fasteners

Jonathan Kao

Carpet Staples

When it comes to laying carpet, the small details can make a big difference in the outcome. One such detail is choosing the correct staples. Staples are essential for ensuring the carpet is secure and remains in place over time. They must be strong enough to hold through daily wear and tear, yet suitable for the thickness of the carpet and padding. With a variety of staple sizes available, selecting the right one is crucial for a successful carpet installation.

Staple sizes typically range from half an inch to 9/16-inch, with the larger sizes being ideal for thicker carpets with deep foam padding. Using the correct size ensures that the staple is long enough to go through the carpet and anchor it into the floor without being so long that it damages the subfloor or so short that it fails to hold the carpet properly.

Choosing the Right Staples for Your Project

Choosing the right staples for laying carpet can feel overwhelming since there are so many varieties. But don’t worry! This guide will make the process a lot easier.

Types of Staples

Here’s a quick overview of the options you’ll commonly find when shopping for carpet staples:

Staple TypeCrown WidthLeg LengthBest For
Flat CrownWideVariesCarpet, underlayment
Narrow CrownSlimVariesUpholstery, furniture
Divergent PointMediumVariesDurable hold through tough materials

What to Consider When Choosing Carpet Staples

Keep these factors in mind when you make your decision:

  • The Type of Stapler: Do you have a manual, electric, or pneumatic stapler? Make sure the staples you choose are compatible.
  • The Thickness of the Carpet and Underlayment: Thicker carpets or those with thick underlayments will need longer staples to hold well.
  • Galvanized vs. Non-Galvanized: Galvanized staples resist rust, which is important for areas that might get wet.


For Most Carpet Installations

Flat crown staples are generally the way to go for carpet. Opt for a length between 1/2″ and 9/16″.

For Extra Strength

When you need more holding power, divergent point staples help ensure a lasting installation.

Key Takeaways

  • Choosing the correct staples is essential for carpet installation success.
  • Staples must be matched to carpet and padding thickness for proper installation.
  • Staple sizes usually range from half an inch to 9/16-inch for various carpet types.

Preparing for Carpet Installation

Before diving into the details of fastening your carpet down, it is essential to have a firm grasp of the tools and materials you’ll need. Selecting the appropriate staples and staplers are critical for ensuring your carpet remains securely in place.

Understanding Carpet Staples and Staplers

Carpet installation isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation, especially when it comes to the staples and staplers used. A variety of staplers—be it manual, electric, or pneumatic—are employed for different phases and types of carpet work. The manual staple gun might be sufficient for smaller jobs or tight corners, while an electric carpet stapler or a pneumatic stapler will offer more power and efficiency for larger areas.

Staples must be the correct type and size to effectively hold the carpet in place. Heavy-duty staples are typically the choice for carpet work, with T50 staples and crown staples being common selections. The crown stapler is particularly suited for carpeting, as it can comfortably handle the size and durability needed.

Selecting the Correct Staple Size

Choosing the right staple size is crucial for a secure carpet installation. The gauge of the staple refers to the thickness of the wire, where a higher gauge number indicates a thinner wire.

For most carpeting projects, staples should measure at least 3/8 inch to 1/2 inch in length. This size ensures that the staple can penetrate through the carpet’s thickness, the padding, and effectively into the subfloor beneath.

  • 1/2 inch staples are often used for general carpet installation.
  • 3/8 inch staples might be chosen for thinner carpets or less dense padding.

The type of subfloor can also influence staple selection. For instance, stainless steel staples are better suited for areas where moisture may be present, to avoid rusting.

Remember, using the correct staple and stapler for your carpet installation is like laying the foundation of a house—it must be done right to ensure everything that follows is secure and lasts for years to come.

Executing Carpet Installation

When installing carpet, precise stapling and careful handling of materials is crucial for a professional finish. The right tools and techniques ensure your carpet lies flat, stays put, and looks seamless.

Laying the Carpet and Padding

To begin laying the carpet and padding, alignment and security are key. First, the padding must be evenly spread over the subfloor and trimmed to size, leaving enough space for the tack strips. Tack strips should be nailed along the room’s perimeter, ensuring they are properly affixed to wooden subfloors with nails, or to concrete with adhesive and specialized tacks. The carpet stretcher then comes into play, ensuring the carpet is tightly laid with no wrinkling. When securing the carpet, galvanized staples that resist rust are preferable, especially in areas with high moisture to avoid early deterioration of the fasteners.

  • Materials Used:
    • Padding: Foam or felt, depending on the cushioning required.
    • Tack Strips: Narrow wood strips with tacks pointing upwards.
    • Tools: Hammer tack, carpet stretcher, nail gun.

Precision is paramount; the padding should be secured to the subfloor with a stapler, keeping the padding firm to avoid movement. For hardwood floors, it’s essential to use the right staples for carpet—short enough to not damage the floor yet long enough for a secure attachment.

Managing Carpet Seams and Edges

Seams and edges may define the installation’s success. Carpet seams must align perfectly, using a seam tape underneath with an iron to bind two pieces together without visible gaps. For the edges, utilizing a slap stapler or an upholstery staple gun provides a tight fit, ensuring staples are invisible and flat against the tack strips.

  • Seam Management:
    • Align: Ensure carpet edges align without overlapping.
    • Secure: Heat seam tape underneath and press carpet sections together.

Carpet tack strips must be installed at all transitions and doorways to avoid the carpet peeling off at the ends. Additionally, frequently asked questions involve the best type of staple to use: for most upholstery projects, regular staples may suffice, but for carpet, thicker carpet tacks and wider upholstery staples are typically recommended for firmer hold and durability. The finish should be invisible, with no visible nails or staples, and edges tightly fixed to the wall or drywall.