Hands On: Carpet Removal & Installation
If the carpet in your classic is tired, stained, or just plain ugly, installing a new carpet kit is an easy weekend job for any DIYer. Places like Summit Racing, Legendary Interiors and Auto Custom Carpets all sell kits for a variety of cars. When yours arrives, let molded pieces settle for a few days, or for a couple hours in the sun. You’ll have the doors open all day long so disconnect the battery. (If the car has power seats, get them unbolted and then disconnect.) Also, make sure you’ve got a big clean surface to store all the stuff you’ll be removing from the interior.
Start by removing the floormats, scuffplates, kickplates, seats, seatbelt anchors, shift boot and shift lever.
Pop the rear seat base out. Check beneath the lower cushion for spring-loaded clips in brackets on either side.
Starting in the front footwells, begin pulling up the old carpet.
If underlayment has been glued to the floor, you’ll need to scrape it away with a putty knife and wire brush.
Vacuum thoroughly after you get all the carpet and underlayment removed. NOTE: As you pull up the old carpet, you’ll uncover wiring that may be stuck to it, so take care.
With the floor exposed, inspect for damage and make necessary repairs. This could be as simple as brushing off surface rust and sealing with quick-dry paint, or something more involved like welding in new sheetmetal (not pictured). When in doubt, consult an expert. Check the factory seams, too; they’re likely dry and brittle, so applying a new coat of sealer can’t hurt.
If you plan to install a sound deadening material such as Dynamat, clean the surface with a wax and grease remover. Sound deadener isn’t necessary, but it’s great for reducing interior noise. Take your time lining it up before you expose the adhesive, as it is near-impossible to remove once you get it down. You don’t need to overlap it, and be sure to cut carefully around brackets and bolt hols. A wall-paper roller is handy for getting out creases.
Whether the kit is one piece, two pieces or more, installation is the same. Begin with the rear piece, which lines up on the rear seat shelf ahead of the brackets. With molded pieces, ensure that each is in flush and straight side to side, and that they sit properly in the foot wells. NOTE: Before the install, loosely screw in the bolts for seatbelts and seats. With the carpet aligned, cut an X over each head, remove the bolt, then screw it through the X to secure the carpet.
With the rear carpet in place and secured, reinstall the rear seat.
Cut carpet pieces as necessary to ensure proper fit beneath trim.
Install the front piece so that the front footwell depressions sit flush into the floorpan. The finished seam at the trailing edge should overlap at least two inches over the rear carpet piece.
Some carpet kits may have a hole precut for the floor shifter. If not, simply cut a large X across the opening and trim accordingly so that the boot cover will cover any excess.
Reinstall trim pieces and shifter.
Vacuum the new carpet thoroughly.
Reinstall the front seats.
Don’t spill anything!