Should you change your carpet before or after painting a room? As a Professional Decorator, my answer to that question “yes”. Or “no”. Or “neither, really”. Either approach carries a risk of damage, either to your newly decorated room or to your brand-new carpet.
Why Not to Change Your Carpet Before Decorating
If you put a new carpet down and then get the decorators in, there is always a risk of paint spilling on the carpet. The first thing we all learn in the trade is to take great care in covering up carpets, furniture and anything else that might accidentally come into contact with paint, however unlikely the possibility.
But however careful one is, genuine “freak” accidents can happen. It may even cost more to decorate a room if the contractor needs to protect a shiny new carpet. A good decorator will be both careful and fully insured, so the risks should be both minimal and claimable, but why take the risk?
Why Not to Change Your Carpet After Decorating
Carpets are big, bulky objects that are always delivered in a size and shape that is too large for the room in question, and then cut down to size in situ. As a Decorator, it’s frustrating to be called back to a job that was looking great, in order to touch up scuffs on the walls or doors caused by carpet fitters. And I mean no disrespect to the carpet-fitting trade – it’s physically hard work moving a large carpet around, and as in all walks of life, accidents can happen.
It’s also worth remembering that although it may be touch dry, paint can take longer than one thinks before it is fully dry – in some cases, it can be weeks before it reaches its optimal strength. As my neighbour discovered when he painted his own living room, proudly finishing off the skirting boards the day before the carpet fitters came…. All the skirting had to be repainted, because the new carpet had simply scraped off the soft paint as it was being laid – very little that the poor carpet fitters could do about it.
So, what is the ideal Answer?
Do I Change my Carpet Before or After Painting A Room?
From a decorator’s perspective – and I fully appreciate that this may not always fit in with the client’s plans – the ideal is a bit of both! In an ideal world, I would remove the old carpet first, complete the decorating, and then arrange to have the new carpet fitted once the paint is fully cured (this will depend on the paint used, but I would say typically two weeks, but check with your decorator first).
The advantage of working this way is that there is no carpet in the room, so no risk of paint being spilled on it. The other advantage is that it allows the decorator to sand and paint the skirting boards and door frames right down to the floor, which is always going to result in a neater job.
One personal plea on behalf of all decorators; we value our fingers, so if you are having the old carpet removed, please have the carpet grippers taken up too.
The pain, frustration and associated foul language associated with repeatedly catching one’s fingers on sharp carpet grippers while vigorously sanding skirting boards are enough to drive your decorator to drink, if not to A&E.
If it is not possible to remove the whole of the old carpet before decorating, one approach that has worked well for me on a number of occasions over the years is to cut a 2-inch strip away around the edge of the room, allowing the decorator full access to prep and paint the skirting boards. A couple of days after the skirting has been painted, the strips of carpet can gently be laid back over the gaps if required, until the carpet fitters come to remove the old carpet and fit the new.
So that’s my ideal solution. In any event, I would encourage you to discuss your plans and timings with your decorator (and carpet fitter) so that hopefully a plan can be created that suits all parties.
By Robin Gofton – Wokingham Decorating Services