A professional who repairs carpet for a living will have all of these tools on hand. Like any type of carpet repair, stretching carpet is more involved than it seems to be.
Carpet stretching is a common type of carpet repair that essentially involves pulling the carpet up from around one or more edges of the room, re-stretching it to proper tightness, cutting the carpet to the proper length, tacking back down into place and finally tucking it in along the edge.
If your carpet is loose it’s time to take action. In most cases, carpet stretching can fix the ripples and buckles, and there’s no need to waste money replacing the carpet because of how it lays. Carpet stretching is, generally, done in two different situations: During the initial installation and for a carpet repair. The initial stretch, during installation, ensures that the carpet is taught, secure, and even across the entire floor covering. If you decide to try and stretch carpet yourself, most or all of these tools should be available for rental or purchase at a relatively reasonable price. Even contracting out your carpet stretching is far more cost-effective than replacing the carpet, so either way, these tools, in your hands or someone else’s, save you quite a bit of money.
- Knee stretcher. A knee stretcher, also known as a kicker, is a special tool that has a grip on one end, to attach to the carpet, and a pad on the other end, for you to ‘kick’ with your quadriceps, (do not kick with your knee!)
- Power carpet stretcher. In the trade we usually call this too our stretcher. The stretcher is the most important tool for stretching carpet. It’s specially designed to adjust to any size room and help stretch carpet much more effectively than anyone could do by hand (or by knee). A power carpet stretcher features a very long pole with a carpet grip on one end, a wall brace on the other, and a handle lever in the middle. Don’t even try to stretch a carpet without one. This is the most expensive tool most of us carpet people have.
- Carpet or slotted blade knife. Involved in almost every carpet repair task you can imagine, a good carpet knife will never let you down. In the case of carpet stretching, the knife is used to trim excess carpet from the edge after it’s been pulled tight.
- Staple gun. An industrial carpet staple gun isn’t a regular staple gun. The staples are far narrower so that they fit between the nap. Carpet staple guns aren’t always necessary for carpet stretching, but it’s good to have on hand just to make sure. Because a properly stretched carpet is pretty tight, the tack strip alone may not hold it down satisfactorily, in which case the staple gun eliminates any doubt.
- Stair tool. A chisel like tool used for tucking carpet in after cutting it to the right size.
- Awl. Looks like an ice pick, used to dis-attach carpet from the tack strip
Just as carpet manufacturers specify the appropriate padding type for individual carpet types, so they also specify appropriate carpet stretching methods and amounts. What’s right for some types may not be appropriate for others. For example, tufted carpet with a jute fiber backing needs to be a bit tighter than tufted fiber with a synthetic fiber backing. And some woven carpets will stretch in one direction but not the other. Consult manufacturer instructions or a carpet repair specialist so you have all the facts before you get started. After all, knowing what you’re working with is just as important as knowing what you’re doing.