How to Stretch Carpet

Is your carpet beginning to wrinkle, sag, or gather? Want to know how to stretch the carpet?

While the carpet isn’t meant to last forever, it is a significant investment that you expect to last you for several years. Even the most expensive carpet can begin to change its appearance over time, with poorly installed or carpets in humid climates much more likely to move.

Luckily, re-stretching your carpet can help prevent you from tripping over this unsightly mess. Although you need a couple of specific tools for this job, you can easily re-stretch your carpet at home for minimal expense.

Power Stretchers and Knee Kickers

A power stretcher is the first tool you will need to complete this task. This tool looks like a mop with teeth and works to stretch out wrinkles over spaces by ten square feet.

The stretcher’s teeth hook into the pile, clinging to the carpet backing on the other side. This levels out the bumps by pushing the ends further apart and stretching the carpet.

family room with carpet

While the carpet isn’t meant to last forever, it is a significant investment that you expect to last you for several years.

Knee kickers are used in a similar way to power stretchers, but they work better on tight corners or spaces that are less than three inches away from a wall.

While you can purchase either of these items for around $400, stretching your carpet is usually a one-time job for most homeowners.

As a result, most local home improvement stores allow you to rent the equipment by the hour or day, providing significant cost savings.

How to Stretch Your Carpet

First, remove all furniture from the room that is easily moved. Don’t worry about challenging items, such as cabinets or entertainment centers. Clean your carpets, taking care to vacuum away any excess dust or dirt.

Next, remove the corner of your carpet from the baseboard tack strip with a pair of pliers. After it has come free, you should be able to use your hands to pull the carpet from the wall. Leave one side of the carpet in place so that it will weigh it down as you work. The pad of the carpet should lie just short of the tack strip, but remain secured to the subfloor. Remove any staples, tape, or residue.

Position your power stretcher so that it is in front of the wall where the carpet is still attached. Lay the machine perpendicular to the ripples. Adjust the length of the teeth on the machine’s head with a knob to push them through the pile and into the carpet backing.

Press the machine’s lever to extend the head as the stretching begins. Be careful not to push too hard, as you don’t want to damage the carpet. Continue pressing until the wrinkles disappear. The carpet should reach the wall or even further. Press the backing of the carpet onto the tack strip and then release the stretcher’s handle. You may need to repeat this a couple of times.

If you need to work in a small area or corner where the power stretcher is too large, use the knee kicker. This works just like the power stretcher but requires you to place your leg above the kneecap into its padded base. This will push the head forward and stretch the carpet.

carpet in bedroom

How Will I Know If My Stretching is Successful?

If you’re unsure how much stretch to use, refer to your carpet’s manufacturer. Some carpets must be stretched tight, while others require less to avoid damage.

A properly stretched carpet will stay in place when you move furnishings across it, and won’t bunch or move. If you don’t secure your carpet, you might find that your carpet develops rips and tears in the flooring. Luckily, stretching carpet is simple to do and doesn’t have to break the bank.

When in doubt, contact the professionals. Carpet Cleaning Lehigh Valley can not only remove any stains or built-up debris from your carpets, but they can also work with you to develop a plan to prevent your carpet from wrinkling.