I have worked in the carpet repair field for almost 12 years fixing and re-stretching carpets. I am a certified carpet repair and carpet re-stretching technician by the IICRC. These are the topics and questions I am most frequently asked about. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask them, I’ll be happy to update the post.
This article will answer questions like:
- What is carpet stretching?
- Who can I get to stretch my carpet?
- Where can I find a re-stretching company?
- Why is my carpet rippling?
- What is re-stretching and how does it work?
- Can you stretch carpet with furniture on it?
- Do wrinkles ruin my carpet /does it need replaced?
- And More
What is carpet re-stretching?
Every carpet must be stretched. The tension from stretching carpet is actually the only thing that holds carpet in place. The term though, is usually referencing the procedure of tightening up loose carpet. While carpet installation does include carpet stretching, this is typically called carpet installation.
Re-stretching is similar in process to carpet installation but generally means the repair technician will be stretching carpet that someone else installed some time ago.
Who can I get to stretch my carpet?
Carpet installers and carpet repair technicians trained by the IICRC can stretch carpet.
Expert carpet installers are masters at all forms of stretching including re-stretches. I am always amazed by the craftsmanship of these seasoned professionals. It is much more difficult to install a seamless looking carpet and get it to hold for years to come than it may appear.
True installation experts are few and far between. If you are investing in high quality carpet, it is worth paying top dollar for a good installer. If you already own a beautiful quality carpet that has wrinkles in it, most likely there is nothing wrong with it and it just needs an expert to repair and flatten it out again.
In addition to carpet installers there are also carpet repair contractors and technicians (like myself) that specialize in fixing loose carpet. In many places carpet installers work for carpet retailers, and many retailers do not offer re-stretching. So, it may be easier to hire someone who specializes in repairs.
Some carpet cleaners, like Foothills Carpet Care, offer this service. Good installers are hard to come by and so more carpet cleaners are offering this service, but, not all carpet stretching is created equal. Read reviews, get references, and make sure that the technicians are confident in their repair.
In general, the higher the grade of carpet the more difficult it is to repair or install correctly. Cheap carpet stretches easier and is more forgiving, which is why it doesn’t hold up well either. You get one good attempt at carpet re-stretching. If it goes poorly, the carpet may get cut wrong or have a seam not line up. Then, you’ll be stuck with a replacement bill.– PROehl Tip
Where can I find a reputable carpet re-stretching company?
Not many people are taking up the craft of quality carpet installation. One reason is the physical nature of the work. Just like most many skilled professions, fewer apprenticeships are available. There is no quick way to learn the trade. It is not incredibly difficult, but mastery requires thousands of hours of practice.
These days, speed and price are valued most. This, unfortunately, leaves little room for experts. A carpet that is brand new, but suffers from low-quality installation, will look fine for the first few months. Over time though, it will ripple.
If you need your carpet stretched and you aren’t in the Greenville, SC area, a good starting point is to check out the links at the end of the article.
Carpet stores may have recommendations for you. Of course, there is always Google. Just be sure to check reviews. We also recommend that you check that the company is insured too.
Why is my carpet rippling?
Loose carpet has many names: Wrinkles, Buckles, Humps, Bumps, Ripples, Lumps, Puckers, Waves, Creases, Ridges, and probably more. Either way, it’s all caused by the same issue.
The quick answer is that for some reason it isn’t tight enough. And if a carpet isn’t tight enough it can cause wrinkles in the room to (usually over time) pop up at various places.
If loose carpet causes the rippling, what causes loose carpet? Improper installation of carpet, pad, and tack strips are most common. Water damage or issues with the subfloor is possible as well.
It is typically a good idea to try to find the cause of the wrinkles before attempting a repair. This can be done during the estimate phase. You don’t want the issue to come back, after all. Another reason you want to find the issue is that age is the final common cause of wrinkled carpet. In this case, it is worth discussing whether the remaining life expectancy before a stretch is attempted.
How exactly does carpet stretching work? What does it mean to have my carpet stretched?
To understand how stretching works, let’s take a look at carpet installation basics:
Carpet is installed by the use of tack strips and metal transition thresholds. (Picture A.) Tack strips will typically have two rows of angled metal spikes. They will be nailed to the subfloor along the edge, with the spikes facing the wall. (Picture B.)
After the tack strips are in place, the padding is put in. Finally, the carpet is laid down. It is anchored to one wall and then stretched tight to attach to the strip on the far wall. (Picture C.) It is the tension that will hold the carpet in place. Any excess carpet is then trimmed and the carpet edge is tucked in.
There are standards for the carpet installation industry. These instructional guidelines are the CRI 105. If followed correctly, carpets won’t wrinkle. If these guidelines aren’t followed, the carpet will have problems and ripple. Often within a few months’ time. Quality installation is a must.– PROehl Tip
Can you stretch carpet with furniture on it?
Ohhhh, furniture. Every carpet repair person has feelings about furniture. Most of the time you cannot stretch the carpet while it has furniture still on it.
Beds can sometimes be an exception, but carpet with furniture typically won’t stretch properly. It is usually easier (and simpler) to move the furniture.
It is possible to work around heavy or semi-permanent furniture. Here’s an interesting example for you: I once stretched carpet in a jewelry store. The display cases had been installed over the carpet. They were heavy and fragile. To move them would have added days to the job.
Instead, we cut the carpet along the edges of the display cases and installed new tack strips along their edge. A unique situation that needed a creative solution!
Some carpet repair companies will move furniture and others won’t. Expect a fee though, as this is hard work and adds several hours (and liability) to the job.
If you plan to move the furniture yourself: Move ALL furniture COMPLETELY out of the room or off the carpet BEFORE the repairperson arrives. Ideally, this means moving it to an area the installer won’t be in at all like a garage, patio, or bathroom. We will need space to work near thresholds. If the carpet continues into another room, that space is not a good candidate for holding extra furniture.
Many carpet installers and repair technicians dislike moving furniture so if you have friends and family that can help you move all of your furniture out ahead of time sometimes you can agree on a lower price.– PROehl Tip
Do wrinkles ruin my carpet? Will my carpet need replacing?
Fortunately, carpet wrinkles can be stretched out in almost all cases! While there can be permanent damage or residual creasing, those will go away with time. If that doesn’t bother you, the carpet won’t need to be replaced.
The quicker the wrinkles are removed the less likely the carpet will have permanent creases. If the wrinkles have been in place for several years there is a chance that they are permanent.
If you plan on purchasing carpet, it is worth doing your research! It is worth spending more money up front and getting good quality carpet and a good installation. You’ll spend less on maintenance and replacement costs over time. A good quality nylon carpet can last more than 20 years and look good the whole time.– PROehl Tip
How can I fix these carpet wrinkles?
The best way is to hire a reputable company to have your carpet power stretched.
Is carpet re-stretching something I can do myself?
I wouldn’t recommend it, but it is possible. The reason I don’t recommend it is because carpet stretching is much more difficult than it looks and it is very easy to hurt oneself. The tools are also fairly expensive. Almost everyone who does carpet repairs has had stitches and suffers from knee pain!
If you do decide to give it a try, I would recommend looking at Home Depot’s tool rentals.
What is a power stretcher and what is power stretching?
A power stretcher is a manual tool that uses hydraulic energy to stretch the carpet from wall-to-wall. (Pictures D and E.)
Power stretching is defined as stretching carpet as explained above using a power stretcher. Power stretching is required in the CRI 105 regulations and in most expert’s opinion power stretching is the only acceptable way to stretch carpet. Especially medium to high quality carpets.
If my carpet needs cleaning too, which should I do first?
That is mostly a personal preference. Personally, I think it’s best to clean the carpet last. That’s because carpet stretches better dry and then clean immediately after in the same visit.
Carpet Re-Stretching Directory
These are carpet re-stretching contractors in other areas that we are friendly with. Of course, in the Greenville, SC area we would like to offer our services!