The passing of time takes a toll on just about everyone and everything, from our skin’s elasticity to the look of our favorite household furnishings. Just like aging adults, carpets are prone to wrinkles or “ripples” that form due to a gradual loss of elasticity. You might be prone to panic at the sight of ripples in carpet, especially when you’ve done your best to take care of your purchase through the years with regular carpet cleaning north charleston sc appointments and a diligent at-home cleaning schedule. But don’t worry: Carpet ripples don’t have to be a permanent condition. If you’re someone who loves a good DIY project, you can take care of your carpet’s unsightly wrinkles in a snap using only a few household tools. While you’ll have to rent some of the more high-power machines involved in carpet stretching, don’t be intimidated. You’ll be able to get a power stretcher and knee-kicker from your local hardware store without any worry. Before you begin, make sure you’ve got all your tools assembled and ready for a day of heavy stretching. Here’s how to start:
Clear the Space
Before attempting to turn back the clock on your rug’s appearance, you’ll need to have a completely empty room. While this isn’t the most time-intensive or messy of all possible home improvement projects, you will be dealing with a fair amount of mess and will want the space to be cleared of any furniture, lighting fixtures, and ground-level objects that could impede your progress. From there, you’ll make a visual note of what your carpet’s edges look like. This will give you information about how it was first installed if it was done professionally. Are your carpet’s edges fraying or coming undone? Don’t worry: There will be time to fix this after stretching. After you’ve cleared everything away, make sure you have all your tools on hand. These include a power-stretcher tool, a “knee-kicker” for your rug’s corners, pliers, carpet tacking or strips, and a carpet cutter.
Remove Staples and Tacking
Once you’ve cleared the room, you’re ready to take up your rug. Start at the corners, being careful to pry off any carpet staples or nails as well as tacking strips. If your rug is larger and almost meets the edge of wall, you’ll want to set up new tacking at the corners of the room. You should also adjust your rug padding so it stays aligned with the new size of your rug. Set up your tacking and place your rug down firmly using seam sealer and tacking. If your rug’s edges look bad, you can take this time to trim them. If you want to wait until the end to cut your carpet down to size, that’s fine too.
Now comes the fun part: Using your power stretcher, start in the middle of your rug and work your way to the side and around. Your stretcher works to increase the size of your rug by inserting its “teeth” into square-shaped sections of the carpet, gradually stretching it until all wrinkles disappear. Doing an even job of stretching will help your carpet stay wrinkle-free for longer. In order to stretch, you’ll need to “pump” the machine to release the teeth. Don’t spend too long on any section: The key is to keep it even. When you reach the corners of your rug, use your knee-kicker to stretch and lay your carpet down flush so that it meets the wall. If you’re working with a smaller rug, you may not need a knee-kicker. However, for larger rugs, since you’ll be stretching your rug to at least meet the wall, you’ll want to use this tool to get a more precise-looking corner. This will also help with tacking and stapling your rug in place.
Now that you’ve stretched your rug, you’ll most likely have a lot of excess material that’s now crawling up the sides of the wall. To get rid of this, use a straight-edged tool to measure as you cut off the excess with your carpet cutter. If you haven’t installed your rug with tacking or staples yet, you’ll want to do this first so your rug isn’t moving around. Trim your rug and “tuck” it in once you’re done cutting so that your rug lays flat. By the end, you should have a totally flat, ripple-free rug. If you’re not satisfied with the way your rug looks, you might want to call in a professional to do any touching up or to consult. Since rug stretching can be tricky, you’ll want to make sure you’ve worked with these tools before in order to save yourself from making any costly mistakes.