Fitted carpet, also wall-to-wall carpets or carpeting, is a carpet intended to cover a floor entirely. Carpet over 4 meters in length is usually installed with the use of a “power stretcher” (tubed or tubeless).
Fitted carpets were originally woven to the dimensions of the specific area they were covering. They were later made in smaller strips, around the time stair carpet became popular, and woven at the site of the job by the carpet fitter. These carpets were then held in place with individually nailed tacks driven through the carpet around the perimeter and occasionally small rings in the carpet which were folded over.
The introduction of “smoothedge” also known as “tack strip”, “tackless strip”, or “gripper strip” simplified the installation of wall-to-wall carpeting, increasing the neatness of the finish at the wall. Because gripper strips are essentially the same thickness as underlay, using gripper strips yields a level edge, whereas tacking gives an uneven edge.
Gripper strip is a strip of wood bevelled on one edge with many small tacks protruding through from the bottom. It is placed around the perimeter of the area to be carpeted, with the bevelled edge side nearest the wall and held in place with nails (timber floors) or glue (concrete floor). The carpet fits over it (held on the tacks) and is wedged into the narrow gully left between the wall and bevelled side giving a smooth edge. Gripper strips allow stretching of the carpet during installation, greatly improving the appearance of the installation. Stretching can be performed with the use of a carpet stretcher or a manual knee kicker.
Gluing without underlay or gripper is simpler as the carpet is cut to the wall by the fitter and glued underneath.