Fitted carpets offer comfort and some soundproofing, they are however hard to clean, and can trap dirt and mites, sometimes causing allergic reactions.
Fitted Carpets were originally woven together to the dimensions of the specific area they were covering and 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' now better know as 'tackless strips' upped the quality and simplified the installation of wall-to-wall carpeting, increasing the neatness of the finish at the wall. Because tackless strips are essentially the same thickness as carpet padding, using tackless strips yields a level edge, whereas tacking gave an uneven edge.
Tackless strip is a 5' X 1" strip of wood bevelled on one edge with many small tacks protruding through from the bottom. Obviously tackless doesn't refer to the object itself, but in its ability to hold a carpet in place without tacks through the carpet. It is placed around the perimeter with the bevelled edge side nearest the wall and held in place with nails (timber floors) or glue (concrete floor). Once held in place, the carpet fits over it and is wedged into the narrow gully left between the wall and bevelled side giving a smooth edge. Tackless strips allow stretching of the carpet during installation, greatly improving the appearance of the installation, in the short term and particularly over the long term as the carpet ages. Such stretching is performed occasionally, over large rooms, with power stretchers. More commonly a "knee kicker" is employed to stretch the carpet, which moves the carpet over the tackless strips, whereupon the strips prevent the carpet from contracting.
Gluing without underlay or gripper is simpler as the carpet is simply cut to the wall by the fitter and glued underneath, without the need for the work of cutting underlay or gripper. However carpet is much less plush without underlay, and uneven floorboards in old houses can become visible.
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