Can You Use 18 Gauge Staples for Carpet?

Many people want to be weekend warriors and finish some home repairs themselves. Something like laying carpet isn’t too hard so some may take it on as a DIY project. You have the carpet, the ad, a staple gun, and some staples. Wait, they are 18 gauge staples. You pause.

Can you use 18 gauge staples for carpet? The direct answer is yes, you can use 18-gauge staples for carpet. However, they aren’t the best choice and you probably shouldn’t. These staples are meant for much heavier items than carpet and could do some damage to the carpet if you aren’t careful.

Read on to find out the right choice for staples when laying carpet and what you can do to use 18-gauge staples if you have no other choice.

What Are 18-Gauge Staples Used For?

The 18-gauge staples are medium wire staples with a lot of holding power. They typically are used for paneling, trim, underlayment, cabinet assembly, heavy upholstery, sheathing, soffits, and siding. 

While they are heavy-duty, others are even stronger. Those in the 15-17-gauge range and are made from heavy wire are the strongest and are used for many of the same things as the 18-gauge. Typically, the heavier staples are used for furniture framing, subflooring, foam insulation board, roofing and roof decking, and framing pallets and crates. 

The Right Carpet Staples

Carpet staples aren’t identified by gauge but by inches. Home experts say carpet staples should be around 1/2-inch but some that are 9/16-inch can be used if your staple gun goes up that high. The 9/16-inch provides a little more strength to hold the carpet over the 1/2-inch staple. 

The reason for these specific staples for carpets is because of how far they penetrate. You don’t want staples that go too deep and that’s the danger of the 18-gauge variety. You will also need to set the depth gauge on the stapler to ensure the staples don’t hit too deep. 

The Basics of Laying Carpet

Laying carpet isn’t complicated but it involves a good bit of preparation. You start by measuring the room and guying your supplies. 

Measuring involves a bit more than a tape measure. You must add some extra, between two and four inches to both the length and the width. Then you multiply the width and the length to find your square footage. You may need to do this with different parts of the room if it isn’t a simple rectangle or square, and has coves, closets, and other elements.

Add between 10 and 20% to the final number to make sure you have enough carpet for the room. This becomes important if you make a mistake and is especially important if you have a patterned carpet as you may have more waste to make it match in sections.

Materials include tack strips, a staple gun, utility knife, chalk line, tape measure, duck and seaming tapes, power stretcher, a rolling pin or carpet roller, and a steaming iron and a knee kicker. You will need other materials if you are installing them on a concrete floor. Those items include:

  • A cement-based waterproof filler
  • Masonry nails
  • Liquid Nail construction adhesive
  • Carpet Adhesive

Prepping the room includes removing old flooring, and the baseboards and checking the subfloor. Then, install tack strips o every wall. These will help hold the carpet in place. 
Install the carpet pad, stapling it at the tack strip’s edges and along the seams.

Carpet padding is the most important aspect of your carpet installation and so you should focus a major part of your budget on it. It is what makes your carpet feel cushy on the feet but also helps your carpet last longer. 

Now, it’s time to cut and lay the carpet. Pay attention to pile direction. All carpet fibers “look” in a certain direction depending on how it was produced. It can look different in color from different angles based on the pile direction. Pile directions should match or it will look odd when completed.

The stapling happens where the carpet and the floor meet. Staples can be hidden by wigging them between carpet fibers. They should stay hidden, especially after you reinstall the baseboards.

Use the seaming tape under the carpet to join two carpet stripes. Be sure to put the adhesive side up to stick to both sections. Run a steaming iron over the tape and then press the carpet strips together with a carpet roller or rolling pin. Stretch the carpet to fit the room.

Matching the carpet at the seams can become a big problem if the carpet has a pattern. Similar to hanging wallpaper, you must cut the carpet pieces in a way where the patterns match. This may involve some measuring and using your chalk line to keep the cuts straight.


How many staples do you put in carpet padding?

You should staple the padding once every six inches along the edge but only need one every eight inches to reinforce rows. 

Should you staple carpet on stairs?

Yes, stapling carpet on stairs holds the padding to the stair treads and secures the carpet along the risers and at the treads’ edges, making the stairs safer. 

What kind of staple gun do you use for carpet?

The two tools you need to lay carpet are a heavy-dut hammer tacker and an electric stapler called a carpet stapler. You can’t use a regular staple gun to lay carpet.

What holds a carpet down besides staples?

A product called rug tape is used to hold the carpet down while you are working with it. It’s a double-sided tape that anchors the carpet in place. This keeps edges and corners from folding.

Where do you start when laying carpet?

This project should start in a room corner. Be sure to leave up to four inches of excess carpet on each side of the room when the carpet is up against the wall. 

How tight should carpet be stretched?

You should stretch carpet between 1 and 2 percent of its cut dimensions when you install it.

Can You Use 18 Gauge Staples for Carpet?
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