Concrete floors can be cold, loud, and empty. And depending on your outdoor space, you may be looking for a change.
I like to warm things up by placing some warm, durable carpet over the concrete. I realize questions are swirling around about how to do this, so I’d like to help clear the air in this article.
First things first — you can put carpet directly over concrete; however, you’ll want to follow a few principles to help the process run smoothly. You need the right type of carpet; you need to make sure the concrete surface is level and dry, and you need the carpet to adhere securely to the concrete.
After reading this article, you will feel confident deciding when, where, and how you should place carpet over your concrete.
There are two prominent locations you are likely considering installing carpet over concrete: your basement or an outdoor patio or porch.
No worries — I’ve got you covered. We will cover both indoor and outdoor applications in the sections below.
Can You Put Carpet Directly Over Outdoor Concrete?
So, you’ve got a patio or porch, and you want to give it a cozy, more inviting feel. I completely understand!
When making the decision about installing outdoor carpet over concrete, here are three things to know:
- Use the right carpet.
- Make sure your concrete is level.
- Secure the carpet with the right adhesive.
Those three, simple principles will take you far. But let’s dive further and explore each point individually.
The Best Carpet to Place over Outdoor Concrete
The carpet you want to use in your outdoor space is resistant to water, mildew, and sunlight. It will shed water in the rain and resist fading over time. If you’re placing the carpet in a sunny area, then you’ll want to buy a carpet with adequate UV resistant properties.
Likewise, if the carpet will rest mostly in the shade, then you want to make sure the carpet is as water and mildew resistant as possible.
Make Sure Concrete Surface is Smooth Before Laying Carpet
Your outdoor surface must be perfectly flat. While it’s okay to have an overall slope, you don’t want any dips or holes for shedding water. This is especially important with outdoor carpet.
Outdoor carpet is subject to the weather. This means that if there are any dips in your concrete, water will pool. And, after the carpet is installed, it will take longer to dry.
The result is an undesirable wet surface. Not only is it unpleasant, but damp carpet can harbor unwanted critters and slowly eat away at the adhesive securing it to the concrete. Mold and mildew can form, smells can repel your guests, and you’ll wish you prepared the surface.
Additionally, dips and dents on the surface will compromise the adhesion between carpet and concrete — the result will be a wrinkling and shredded mess.
If you know you’ve got some areas that need attention, smooth them out with some floor patch and level mix.
For more about achieving the proper adhesion between carpet and concrete, see the section below.
Securely Adhere Carpet to Concrete
There are several things people have to keep in mind when securing their outdoor carpet to the concrete.
First, I recommend you go with an excellent outdoor carpet adhesive. You want to anchor that carpet down. The most durable are made for marine conditions — these will stand firm against the outdoor elements.
Second, be sure to apply your chosen adhesive liberally.
Some people are tempted only to apply adhesive to the edges of the carpet. This might work for low traffic, less exposed areas, but this will not be a long term solution.
For this reason, I suggest butter spreading that glue all over the surface — this will ensure your carpet stays in place and overcomes any battles with ice and rain.
Alright, now let’s talk about placing carpet over concrete in an indoor setting.
Laying Carpet Directly over Indoor Concrete
When placing carpet over concrete indoors, there are a few different considerations than in an outdoor environment.
You don’t need to worry about sunlight, but you still have water and mildew to consider.
Also, you may want to use a cozier carpet for an indoor setting. However, a cozier carpet will usually be less water-resistant and more likely to mold and mildew.
Here are a few things you can do:
- Test for moisture before installing carpet.
- Use the proper underlayment.
Test Concrete Floor for Moisture
Sometimes a concrete floor will appear deceptively dry. When, in reality, there are traces of moisture sneaking in through the floor. If the humidity isn’t controlled, you should wait to install the carpet until you’ve dried things up.
Here’s a simple way to test your basement for moisture:
Tape a piece of plastic onto the floor and leave it overnight. You can check to see if there is any condensation above or below the plastic in the morning.
If water has collected above the plastic, then your room’s humidity is too high.
Additionally, if the water has collected below, you likely have water seeping into the basement. You want your concrete completely dry before installing any carpet.
Take steps to reduce moisture in your basement before you begin installing the carpet.
Use the Proper Underlayment
Using a waterproof barrier between the carpet and the concrete can protect your flooring and allow moisture to evaporate.
A dimpled polyethylene pad is one of the more common barriers to place under your carpet. This pad will allow airflow underneath the carpet, ensuring any excess moisture evaporates adequately.
Not only will this pad reduce moisture, but it will also absorb sound, helping to quiet a noisy room.
Don’t forget to match the carpet with your underlayment.
If you install an underlayment that’s too plushy with a carpet that’s too stiff, you could damage the carpet.
When you place carpet directly over concrete, you need to be concerned with four main things: preparing a smooth surface, controlling moisture, choosing the right type of carpet, and securing it properly.
A piece of well-installed carpet can clean up a cold slab of concrete. Think about it, carpet is the only real difference between a prison cell into a luxury suite.
So, take your time. Do your research. You’ll be glad you did.