I hope you have practiced using the staple gun. I experimented with sample pieces of rug. I attached them to a 2×4 piece of post. I was learning how what happens when I stapled. I also removed the staples with my flat head screw driver and then I stapled again until I felt comfortable with the process.
1: Take your old piece of carpet and place that on the new piece of carpet. Position it on the backside of the rug and take a marker pen and a straight edge like the 2×4 and mark a line to use as a guide to cut out the new carpet. Leave just a little bit extra rug than you think. You will be slightly overlapping the edges of the new carpet to attach it. Your old carpet will be a little frazzled and damaged and it has been creased to fit the 2×4, so it won’t necessarily lay flat, press it down and trace the outline with a marker pen.
2: I was actually surprised that my kitchen scissors didn’t do a very good job and the utility knife worked much better in cutting through the backing of the rug. Be careful and go you don’t want to slip and cut yourself. I found that a certain amount of pressure helped me to cut through the rug backing and not lose control. You might have to make two cuts to cut through the backing of the carpet. Try to do this cleanly and straight so as not to fray your new carpet edges.
3: If you have observed the old piece of carpet you will notice it is creased and easily fits around the 2×4 almost like a glove. Lay the 2×4 piece of wood down on the backing of the carpet and note where you can press the carpet using the 2×4 as a form. If your wood piece is a round piece of wood you probably will have it a lot easier. If your hands are strong you will be able to use them to crease the carpet or even your arm will do. If you bought the right carpet you will find that the backing is flexible and will crease real nice. You are going to want to crease the carpet in a few places so that it fits snugly around the 2×4 post. You have four sides to this post and it is rectangular so creasing some of the rug will help to fit is snuggly. I was obsessed with this part and frequently checked my progress to make sure I had the rug tight and secure. Again use the old piece as a guide.
4: Now check the ends of the 2×4 post. Remember you removed the screws from the bottom end of the post and you should be able to see the holes. Make sure that is the bottom again. You are going to want to reuse those screw holes to attach the 2×4 post back to the bottom flat stand part of the cat gym. The top of the post might have staple hole impressions. On the flat side of the 2×4 note were the staple holes where that held the edges of the rug together, that will be the side that you will want the edges of the new carpet to come together and be attached. That side is the one that was facing inside on the cat gym and was not exposed. The cat can’t get its claws into this area so you want to recreate what was done.
5: Lay the post in the correct orientation on the new rug backing (rug pile face down) with the screw holes that attached it to the flat bottom piece at the bottom of the post and the holes of the staples at the top of the post. Make sure the post is on the backside of the rug. The holes left from the old rug and those should be facing up. Center the 2×4 post on the new rug piece. Grab the top and bottom with your hands holding the rug firmly to the post and flip it over. The post should be flat on the work surface with the rug carefully positioned over the post rug front up. The backing of the rug should be facing the wood post. Holding the top of the post and rug with one hand take your staple gun and staple at the top edge of the 2×4 post attaching the rug. You are stapling through the pile of the carpet onto the post. A staple will go in the center of the top edge and then on either side of the center staple at the top edge. Do the bottom of the post in the same manner. Make sure the rug is straight, even and tight. Staples should be horizontal on the 2×4 post around the top and bottom.
IMPORTANT: As you staple stop and take your hammer and give each flat head of the staple a tap to make sure it is imbedded through the rug and into the wood of the 2×4. Most importantly, you want the staple flat to the rug/wood. You do not want your cat to catch a claw when it uses it as a scratching post. Use your fingers to make sure the staple lies smoothly. It should disappear into the rug fibers.
Safety: When you stop stapling point the staple gun away from you and remove your hand from the trigger to be safe and set it aside out-of-the-way of your working area but within reach. You will be flipping the post around as you work.
Tip 6: The next step is to staple the sides of the 2×4 post. The 2″ sides of the 2×4 post. You are working your way around pulling the rug tightly at the top and bottom of the post. Check your work frequently. If you are not happy use your flat head screwdriver to pry out the staple and try again. Staple the top and bottom of the post 2″ side on both sides. Tap with the hammer. Once done with that you should be at a point where the two new rug ends are starting to come together on the flat side of the 2×4 that has the staple holes in it.
Check: I hope the backing of the rug is flat to the wood post and the pile it out facing you!
7: With the top edge of the rug secured to the post and the bottom edge of the rug secure to the post you would be left with the side where the edges of the rug are almost ready to be pulled together and stapled down. Starting at the top staple the top edge of the rug to the top of the post and pull the rug together edges slightly overlapping each other. Staple the right top edge and the left top edge. Now do the bottom careful to have the correct edge of the rug overlapping the other edge of the rug exactly like the top. Staple the bottom edge down on the right and left side. If you have observed how staples were used when you took off the old rug you should be in good shape and understanding what is going on. Check your work. Is the rug snug to the top edge of the post and the bottom edge all the way around? If not it is time to fix it till you are happy.
8: Now you are going to pull the two edges of the rug together and close up the edges along the flat edge of the 2×4 post. Overlapping the edges slightly. You will staple them together one edge on top of the other and try catching both edges together. You are stapling horizontal to the top and bottom of the 2×4 post. If you observed the old staples holes on the flat side of the post you will see it is about 1 inch between each staple down the middle catching both edges of the rug.
Now if you have too much rug and it gets bulky then you might have to cut off some. I was lucky and had just enough rug to pull together the edges and overlap without it bulking up.
I was astonished that it was so easy with my staple gun. I pulled the edges together and took my time positioning the staple gun over the overlapping edges. My goal was to keep it all lying down along this flat edge of the post without it bunching up. Pull and hold and staple. It worked much to my surprise!
I had two posts to recover and so I did the second one much faster and soon had both completed and with new rug. My 2×4 posts looked great and were as good as new.
Next post: Putting it back together.