How to restretch carpet


Carpeting that isn’t glued down is held around the perimeter of a room by wood strips with metal pins that grip the carpet backing. To repair loose carpets, you’ll need to rent a “knee kicker,” a stretching tool to pull the carpet tight and reattach the edges to the strips. These can be found at rental centers and carpet distributors.

How to restretch carpet:

1. Turn the knob on the head of the knee kicker to adjust the depth of the prongs. The prongs should extend far enough to grab the carpet backing without penetrating through the padding.

2. starting from a corner or near a point where the carpet is firmly attached, press the knee kicker head into the carpet, about 2 inches from the wall. Thrust your knee into the cushion of the knee kicker to force the carpet toward the wall.

3. Tuck the carpet edge into the space between the wood strip and the baseboard, using a 4-inch wallboard knife.


Most carpets are held together at the edges with heat activated seam tape. The tape comes in rolls and has hardened glue on one face. You will need to rent a “seam iron.”

How to reglue loose seams:

1. Remove the old tape from under the carpet seam.

2. Cut a strip of new seam tape, and place it under the carpet so it is centered along the seam with the adhesive facing up.

3. Plug in the seam iron, and let it heat up. Seam irons work like curling irons and regular irons, but they vary in the amount of time needed to heat up. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to see how long you should wait for it to heat up.

4. Pull up both edges of the carpet, and set the hot iron squarely onto the tape. Wait about 30 seconds for the glue to melt.

5. Move the iron farther along the seam, as necessary.

6. Quickly press the edges of the carpet together into the melted glue behind the iron. If anything goes wrong you have only 30 seconds to repeat the process.

7. Separate the pile to make sure no fibers is stuck in the glue and that the seam is tight.

8. Place weighted boards or phone books over the seam to keep it flat while the glue sets.

Carpet Is Stained

Problem: Accidental spills have resulted in spots and stain on carpet.

Background: A wide variety of sub stances can cause spots on carpeting and the procedures used to remove them vary. However, the cleaning procedure for all except ballpoint pen and tar spots begins with re moving the excess material. To absorb excess liquid, use a clean white cloth or tissue; for solids, scrape lightly; for powders, vacuum and do not moisten.

What to do: Remove excess as mentioned above, and perform the steps listed in order. In some cases, such as removing inks, a step may be called for a second time if the stain hasn’t come out with the first couple of steps. For acids, use procedures A, C, W, T. For alcoholic beverages, beer, bleach, syrup or wine, use C, V, T. For ammonia or alkali, use V, C, W, T. For animal urine, use W, V, C, W, T. For ballpoint pen begin with X and then use D. For grease, use D. For tar, begin with D. For blood, use W, C, A, V, T. For butter or margarine, use D, C, W, T. For candy, use C, V, W, T. For catsup, cough syrup, or wet water-based paint, use C, W, T. For chewing gum, use C, D. For chocolate, use C, V, Z, D. For cocktails, use C, W, T, Z, D. For coffee, use C, V, T, D.
For cosmetics and oils, use procedures D, C, A, V, T. For dye (water), use C, A, V, T, P. For egg, glue (water), or soft drinks, use C, A, V T. For fruit or fruit juices, use C, A, V, W, T. For furniture polish, use X, D, C, A, V, T. For gravy, use C, Z, D. For household cement (solvent), use X, D. For ice cream or vomit, use C, A, V, T, Z, D. For inks (water), use C, W, T, Z, P. For inks (solvent) or nail polish, use D, X, D, P. For lipstick, use D, C, A, V, T, P. For milk, use C, A, V, W, 1’, D. For Merthiolate, use X, D, C, T. For mustard, use C, V, T, Z, D. For wet oil-based paint, use D. For dried paint, use X, D, C. For per fume, use D, C, V, T. For sauces or salad dressing, use D, C, V, T, Z, D. For shoe polish, use X, D, C, A, V, T. For tea, use C, V, T, D. For unknown stains, use C, Z, D, P.

Procedure A: Apply ammonia solution (1 tablespoon household ammonia to 1 cup water) and blot.

Procedure C: Use carpet shampoo solution diluted according to label directions.

Procedure D: Use dry-cleaning fluid.

Procedure C: Freeze residue with aerosol chewing gum remover, dry ice (handled carefully with gloves on), or with ice cubes in a plastic bag. Shatter with a blunt object, and vacuum up chips immediately while they are still hard.

Procedure P: Call professional rug cleaner for advice.

Procedure T: Place ½-inch layer of white absorbent material or tissues over damp area under a weight for several hours.

Procedure V: White vinegar solution (1 tablespoon to 1 cup lukewarm water) and blot.

Procedure W: Rinse with plain water and blot.

Procedure X: Use paint, oil, or grease remover.

Procedure Z: Allow carpet to dry.

Special advice: Cigarette burns generally must be repaired by replacing the charred area (professional installers have special punches to do this). If the burn is superficial, you may improve the appearance by brushing the surface and carefully snipping charred tufts with shears.

Helpful hint: Don’t use common household detergents, such as soap, ammonia, washing soda, or strong household cleaners on carpets. They may damage the carpet fiber, and many will leave a sticky film that will cause rapid resoiling to occur.