Carpet Stretching: Extend Your Carpet’s Life

Cutting excess carpet after stretching

Is It Time To Get Your Carpet Stretched?

Have you ever found a ripple in your carpet? After years of use, you may start to notice loose spots in your carpet. Why does this happen?

Technicians most commonly secure carpet to the subfloor with tack strips along the edge of the floor. If you’ve ever stepped on the edge of your carpet with a bare foot, you may have felt those tacks (the other, less common process is called direct glue down installation). As you walk on your carpet year after year it slowly pulls at the carpet’s connection to the tack strips. This is one of the ways your carpet can become loose and require professional carpet stretching services. In addition, cuts or other damage to the carpet’s base structure can result in loose areas. Every time you move a piece of heavy furniture or shift the layout of a room, you pull at your carpet loosening it.

Sadly, sometimes improper carpet cleaning services can cause loose carpet. This is part of the reason why you should always hire a certified professional carpet cleaning technician like the friendly staff at B’s Carpet Cleaning.

Sometimes it is easy to identify carpet that needs to be stretched such as visible lumps and wrinkles . Other times, it may require more careful testing.

  • Look for cuts in the carpet’s base structure
    • use a flashlight while parting the carpet fibers.
  • Identify lumps or wrinkles
    • lay flat on the floor with your ear to ground
    • close one eye and examine the carpet. Any peaks or hills?
  • Check to see if the edges of your carpet are loose
    • walk around the room closely examining the edges where the carpet connects to the tack strips.
    • as you step next to the tack strip, do you see any lift in the end of the carpet? If so, your carpet is loose.

For a more exacting test, you can insert an awl into the center of the carpet. Once you have inserted the tool, you will use it to pull the carpet up by about an inch. When you release the tool, the carpet should immediately go flat, returning to the floor. If it doesn’t, if the carpet takes a moment as if it is exhaling, your carpet is loose. The awl test is recommended more for deep carpets than shallow ones as the small hole made by the awl is more easily hidden by the fibers of the deeper carpets.

If your carpet fails any of these test, you’ll want to schedule a carpet stretching as soon as possible before more damage is done. The technicians at B’s Carpet Cleaning have the knowledge and skill to help you make your carpet tight today.

What does stretching carpet mean?

Carpet stretching is the process of pulling the carpet tight, cutting off the excess material, and re-attaching the carpet to the tack strips along its borders. When done properly, stretching carpet will help the flooring resist future loosening.

The professional carpet technicians at B’s Carpet Cleaning are skilled with all of the tools and techniques needed to tighten your carpet. They will use a slotted blade knife to separate the flooring. If the carpet is particularly stubborn, they may use an awl and hammer to help disengage it from the tack strip. Once the carpet is free, B’s technicians will use a stretcher to pull the carpet tight. The force required to stretch carpet properly is more than a person can apply by themselves. Technicians will sometimes use a small device called a knee-kicker for smaller spaces.

As with carpet cleaning, do it yourselfers take a big risk. Any time you work on carpet, you risk doing much more harm than good if you have not received the properly training. Trying to stretch your carpet yourself can result in broken seems and unraveled fibers. In addition, by the time you’ve rented or purchased all of the necessary equipment, it would have been just as expensive to hire a professional to do the job correctly. Doing so will also save you the sore knees, hurt back, and strained neck that come with working on carpet.

When you hire a professional, like the carpet technicians at B’s Carpet Cleaning, you’ll want to let them know what they’re work with. This includes more than describing the damage. While it is important for them to know what type of loosening your carpet is suffering, they’ll also need to know what type of carpet they’ll be working with. This enables them to give you a more accurate quote and to come prepared for the right type of job. Each type of carpet (Berber, wool, plush, cut and loop, synthetic or natural fibers) have their own little quirks.

Why is carpet stretching needed?

In some cases, improper installation can cause the loosening that requires stretching carpet. In these instances, you may need to hire a technician to stretch the carpet as soon as a year after installation. Often the cause of loosening in these cases is that the installer chose to use a knee-kicker instead of a power stretcher. The force applied to the carpet when installing or stretching can be more than a simple knee-kicker can apply. The choice to use a knee-kicker (which is intended for small spaces like hallways and closets) is usually a shortcut taken by the installer. The choice shows a lack of craftsmanship. The faster an installer gets through your job, the sooner they’re on to the next job and the more money they can make in a given day.

If you notice rippling within the first year of your purchase, it is almost guaranteed to be the result of improper installation. In this case, you should call the company you paid to install the carpet immediately. They will usually send someone to fix if fairly quickly. The longer you wait from noticing the rippling, the harder it may be to get them to come repair their shoddy work. Most companies won’t take responsibility beyond the first year of instillation.

One cause of loose carpet that we don’t have to worry too much about here in southern Utah is high humidity. In these cases, the latex backing of the carpet may actually absorb moisture from the humidity leading it to become flawed.

Missing or broken tack strips will cause loose carpet simply because there is nothing to hold it in place. While this can happen anywhere in the home, it most likely occurs in basements where technicians must nail tack strips to the cement instead of wood. Again, this type of problem can also come from poor craftsmanship, amateur installers, or trying to do it yourself.

When rearranging a room, it is important to lift the heavy furniture. While dragging it may be easier on you, it is much rougher on your carpet. The weight of a large piece of furniture can be enough to pull the carpet up off the tack strip when moving it. This level of pressure may also cause problems with the carpet backing.
Other causes of loose carpet can include using the wrong size of padding, de-lamination, age, and water damage.

Regardless of the cause of your carpet loosening, the friendly pros at B’s Carpet Cleaning are ready to help make your carpet look great again!

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