There are many reasons why you might want to install carpet over your hardwood flooring. Perhaps the hardwood flooring just isn't your style. Maybe you're about to have a child, and you want something a little safer. Maybe the hardwood is just cold. Whatever the situation, you probably don't want to damage the hardwood flooring during the installation. If you complete the installation carefully enough, you can reveal your hardwood floors later on, when you want to.

Clean the Hardwood Thoroughly

You're covering it up—so why bother, right? Well, if your hardwood floors have any dirt or debris, this can scratch the hardwood over time. And if grease or stains remain on the hardwood, they could potentially set. So make sure the hardwood has been thoroughly cleaned and vacuumed. You might even want to give it a fresh coat of wax before you cover it over, just to add to its protection. 

Install a Moisture Barrier Beneath the Padding

Even water-resistant carpeting and water-resistant padding can still be leaked through. If this happens, the hardwood floor beneath could become damaged. A moisture barrier will prevent this. Traditionally a moisture barrier is usually not necessary under carpeting, but in this situation it's usually beneficial. The barrier will also provide additional protection to the hardwood floor, as it will slide above it rather than scraping.

Use Thin Tack Strips

When you install carpet, you need to nail down tack strips to stretch it. This is an unavoidable situation. If you use a thinner tack strip with thinner, longer nails, the damage will be less significant and can easily be filled. Make sure that you get tack strips that are specifically designed for wood, as well. Tack strips are usually sold based on the material that they are intended to be attached to. A concrete tack strip may not be suitable.

Styles change. While carpeting is coming back today, hardwood flooring is a timeless luxury. When you want to sell your home—or when the kids have moved—you might want to go back to hardwood. As long as you've taken the precautions listed above, all you'll need to do is lift up the carpeting and then gently pry up the tack strips. Wood filler can be used to fill any of the small holes left along the baseboards, and the floor can then be buffed to a nice, bright shine. For more information, contact a local flooring company (such as Kenmark Hardwood Floors Inc).