How to Fit Any Carpet in Your Carby Russell Wood
Installing carpet in a car can be a physically draining task, but when it's done correctly, has high rewards. Contrary to popular belief, it's possible to install pretty much any carpet into a car; you just need some glues and the tools to get it done. In this case, the project vehicle is a '32 Ford hot rod with no interior, ready for carpet, but this process is the same for all vehicles.
Clean the interior of the car using a vacuum. Make sure the surface is clean before you start laying carpet.
Measure the width and length of the interior using the tape measure. Add one foot to each end of the measurement and transfer that to the carpet.
Cut the carpet using the razor blades. This is going to give you a rough shape for the carpet, which gives you room to cut off the ends.
Flip the carpet over so the bottom of the carpet is facing up and spray the middle of it using the glue gun and contact adhesive. This is the center point for the layout, and will get you started in the process.
Spray contact adhesive onto the center of the floor using the glue gun. Once the contact cement has dried--about 5 to 10 minutes depending on conditions--lay the carpet down into the interior and press the carpet down onto the floor. Make sure the carpet is centered before it is laid down so that you don't end up short in one corner or another.
Mask off the door jambs and dashboard using the masking tape and masking paper. This is to keep any glue overspray from hitting any painted parts.
Pull back one side of the carpet and spray contact adhesive to the floor and the bottom of the carpet using the glue gun. Don't set the carpet down onto the floor until the adhesive has dried.
Press the side of the carpet down onto the floor, working from the center of the vehicle out.
Use the upholstery steamer in areas where the carpet isn't contouring to the interior, like around the transmission hump or firewall. This will relax the material and allow you more leeway in pushing. You can also put relief cuts in the carpet if necessary using the razor blades.
Repeat steps 7 through 9 for the other side of the interior.
Cut the carpet along the perimeter of the interior of the cab using the razor blades. You want to cut the carpet as far to the outside as possible so it looks natural.
Use the razor blades to cut out any holes for seats or bolt holes.
Remove the masking tape and paper from the vehicle.
Things You'll Need
- Masking tape
- Masking paper
- Spray grade contact adhesive
- Glue gun
- Air compressor
- Razor blades
- Tape measure
- Upholstery steamer
Russell Wood is a writer and photographer who attended Arizona State University. He has been building custom cars and trucks since 1994, including several cover vehicles. In 2000 Wood started a career as a writer, and since then he has dedicated his business to writing and photographing cars and trucks, as well as helping people learn more about how vehicles work.