Carpet stretching is, generally, done in two different situations: During the initial installation and for a carpet repair. The initial stretch, during installation, ensures that the carpet cleaning is taught, secure, and even across the entire floor covering. Taught carpet will stay in place and stay smooth and flat to the floor where it belongs.
What causes carpets to ripple or buckle:
- Poor installation: The carpet may have been improperly installed. In most cases of a bad installation the installer didn’t use a power stretcher properly or at all.
- Excessive wear due to traffic: Sometimes a carpet will need to be re-stretched because of wheelchairs, walkers, tricycles, etc. Even when installed to perfection it can become loose from excessive wear.
- Sliding heavy furniture: Carpet is made of layers of fabric. When heavy furniture slides across the carpet it’s likely that it will cause rippling.
- Latex: if the latex holding the backing together deteriorates it’s called delamination, the carpet essentially loses its grip on itself, resulting in buckling and loss of fiber.
- Improper padding for carpet type. Certain pile types require specific padding types; if these are paired improperly, the right amount of grip and support may not be present, resulting in carpet buckles. Make sure you consult a trained professional or manufacturer’s guide when purchasing carpet so you get the right padding to accompany it.
If your Carpet is Rippling:
(to stretch or not to stretch)
If you have carpet that looks more like the ocean than a flat carpet, you may have a problem. As soon as it begins to loosen up and become rippled, it wears faster. The bigger the ripples, the faster the ripples grow. This is because carpet is designed to lay flat and not move at all. When you walk on carpet ripples it causes the carpet to move up and down, further loosening it.
If your carpet is loose it’s time to take action. In most cases, carpet stretching can fix the ripples and buckles, and there’s no need to waste money replacing the carpet because of how it lays.
Carpet stretching is a common type of carpet repair that essentially involves pulling the carpet up from around one or more edges of the room, re-stretching it to proper tightness, cutting the carpet to the proper length, tacking back down into place and finally tucking it in along the edge.
Like any type of carpet repair, stretching carpet is more involved than it seems to be. Stretching carpet isn’t just a matter of smoothing out ripples and re-securing, or pulling at the edges by hand as you would a bed sheet. Carpet stretching comes with its own tools and techniques that help you do the job right.
Essential Carpet Stretching Tools
A professional who repairs carpet for a living will have all of these tools on hand. If you decide to try and stretch carpet yourself, most or all of these tools should be available for rental or purchase at a relatively reasonable price. Even contracting out your carpet stretching is far more cost-effective than replacing the carpet, so either way, these tools, in your hands or someone else’s, save you quite a bit of money.