Does your carpet need to be re-stretched?

You clean your carpet on a daily basis, pick up any spills and call a cleaner for a routine deep
cleanse. But the same carpet has been in your home or place of work for many years. Since
you have taken great care of it, the carpet still looks good and has some more years of use
before you need to replace it. However, your carpet does not look as smooth anymore; it
might have some lumps or look skewed. What should you do and how can your carpet be
restored to it’s glory years? Carpet restretching of course!

Test it

Some carpets will have seemingly invisible damage in it’s base. Moving heavy furniture, high
traffic and other similar situations may be the cause of this damage. If you have a large cut at
the base of your carpet, you will need to have your carpet stretched. If the cut or damage is
not obvious, comb the whole area visually with a flashlight for an in depth inspection. If your
carpet is high pile you can try to pick up a section by the yarn and you will be able to tell if
there is any damage.
Other obvious reasons for re-stretching your carpet is the presence of any ripples, lumps or
wrinkles, also caused by heavy traffic and moving heavy furniture.
Check the edges as well! Your carpet is attached to the floor’s edges with tack strips. Check
these edges along the walls and at the end of doorways, etc. Make sure that the carpet lays
flat over these tack strips, if there is any looseness, it is time to stretch your carpet.
When general inspection fails, you can proceed to make an awl test. To do the awl test you
will insert the tool in the questionable area, then you will pull the carpet upwards so that it will
be raised approximately one inch above the floor. Remove the awl and let the carpet fall, if it
does not fall down quickly and evenly, the carpet will need to be stretched. Be careful when
using this method for this will poke a small hole in your carpet. If your carpet has long pile,
then it won’t be noticeable at all.

Stretching Carpet

To stretch your carpet you will want to gather some materials and tools that will make the
process easier and some that are essential.
We recommend to use work gloves to protect your hands and also to give you extra grip
when cutting the carpet.
First with the obvious; you will want to start by removing all furniture and objects from the
carpet or empty the room if you are doing a wall-to-wall room. After you have a clean room
you will proceed to remove any molding or baseboard using a pry bar. Be careful and do this
step with precision or you will risk cracking the molding and you will be needing this when
done, unless you plan on replacing it.
After finishing those two steps you will be ready to pull the carpet out by removing all the
staples that connect the carpet to the padding. For this step you will use a flat-head
screwdriver and a pair of needle nose pliers. Place the flathead screwdriver under the staple
and lever it downwards and the staple should come out easily. If this procedure won’t get
some of the stubborn staples out or if there is no room to dig the screwdriver under, you can
use the needle nose pliers. Make sure you remove ALL staples or the padding will be
damaged as you pull the carpet out.
At this point you will want to start removing the old tack strips but you will have to keep one
side of the carpet attached so that it will work as an anchor for stretching.
Next you will cut new tack strips. Make sure they are the correct length and place them at the
edge of the anchored wall and with the nails pointing towards the wall. With a rubber mallet
and a cold chisel start nailing the tack strip.
Now it is time for the actual stretching. For this step you will need a power stretcher. Most
people don’t just keep one of these around, but you can rent one. Starting from the middle,
place the base of the power stretcher against the edge that is still anchored to the wall. The
part of the tool with the teeth should be appropriately six inches away from the facing wall,
this will be the amount of carpet that will be stretched towards the wall. Make sure that carpet
is caught on the teeth and proceed to push down the lever to drag the excess carpet towards
the wall. Keep on doing this until you get the whole carpet looking good.
There will be corners that might be hard to get with a power stretcher and that is when the
knee kicker comes in. As with the power stretches you will want to catch the carpet on the
teeth of the knee kicker, then you will push the carpet forward by placing your knee into the
padding, continue doing this where needed.
Once the carpet stretching process has been finished, you will proceed to remove the excess
carpet. Make sure that you have the right length by using a flat edge tool to push the edges
towards the wall. Mark the edge to be cut with a knife and then use the carpet cutter to
remove the excess carpet. Put the clean edges in place and embed to the tack board at the
edge. Finally use a staple gun to secure the padding to the carpet. Stretch and tack the
remaining edges following the same steps.
Now that your carpet is fully stretched you will need to nail the molding back in place and
give the carpet a good steam to remove any creases and condition the pile. Place your
furniture back and enjoy your new looking carpet!

So you determined that your carpet does need to be stretched and are ready for the change.
Although it is tempting to go the DIY route, it is recommended to seek the help of a
professional. Stretching carpet is not only a rigorous process, but it takes the right tools to do
it. If it is not done correctly it can cost you both time and money. At LLC &FR we provide
professional carpet cleaning services that you will be very satisfied with. You can reach us at (502)585-2444
or send us an email for a quote.