As a homeowner, there are few things as important as your flooring. The right flooring not only complements the entire decor of your house; it also prevents nasty falls.
Wall-to-wall carpeting has long been the number one choice for most homeowners. The soft material provides a soft landing for your feet.
But a badly installed wall-to-wall carpet can ruin the appeal and even trip you over if left unattended.
Poor installation can cause wrinkles to develop on your carpet.
Stretching out your carpet is the best way to get rid of those wrinkles. And with the right tools, anyone can do it themselves.
How to Stretch Carpet?
Step 1: Get all the materials needed
- Work Glove
- Flathead screwdriver and/or pry bar
- Power stretcher
- Knee kicker
- Carpet Cutter
Step 2: Clear the way and clean the carpet
The first step is to remove all furniture on the carpet you want to stretch.
After moving the furniture, vacuum the carpet to remove any dirt. You can also clean the carpet with shampoo after vacuuming it.
Shampooing the carpet is not a necessary step, but it leaves your carpet feeling good as new once you’re done.
After shampooing, you will have to allow the carpet dry before proceeding to the next step.
Step 3: Release the Carpet from the edge and pull it back
For this step, you will need a plier.
Your carpet is held down by tack strips at the corner of the carpet. Use the plier to release the carpet from the tack strips and then gently tug the carpet back.
Don’t tug too hard because that could ruin your carpet.
After freeing your carpet from the tack strips, it would be easier to tug.
Lift the carpet back on three sides, leaving the fourth side to serve as an anchor.
Try not to damage the tack strips while removing the carpet. If you do it gently, you won’t need to buy new tack strips.
Step 4: Remove the padding
There is padding underneath your carpet that supports it.
When you lift your carpet, check to see if tacks or staples hold down the padding.
Use your plier to pry off the tacks or staples and remove the padding.
You might also want to use a flat head screwdriver or a pry bar if the tacks prove too stubborn for your plier.
Step 5: Remove the tack strips
If your tack strips are damaged in the process, you will need to change them.
You can also change them if they have been in place for a long time. To do this, you will need a flat-head screwdriver, pry bar, or hammer.
Put on some work gloves to protect you from any sharp points and a pair of protective goggles to prevent foreign objects from entering your eyes.
Wedge the tool you choose under the tack strips and lift it. If you are using a hammer, use the claw side to pry the tack strips out.
After removing the tack strips, put them in a safe place so you don’t accidentally step or kneel on them.
Step 6: Clean the base flooring and Install new tack strips
Once your carpet, carpet padding, and tack strips are off, the floor base of your room will be revealed. This floor base will be covered in dust, dirt, and other junk.
Use your vacuum to clean the floor to get rid of all the dirt.
Install new tack strips or reuse the old ones if they are in good condition.
Step 7: Place the carpet down and use the power stretcher
Lay the carpet down on top of the padding and place the power stretcher on one of the unanchored sides of the carpet.
The tooth part of the power stretcher should be facing the carpet. Extend the shaft by adjusting the extension pole till the power stretcher is about six inches from the wall.
There is a lever on the power stretcher, press it down, and the teeth will be lodged into the carpet.
Pressing down the lever will stretch out your carpet and remove wrinkles. Be mindful of how much pressure you apply to the lever. If you apply too much force to push down the lever, you could damage your carpet.
In the same way, if you apply almost no force to push down the lever, you are not stretching the carpet well enough.
Step 8: Use a Knee Kicker for Smaller Sections
A power stretcher is quite a large tool. For the parts of your carpet that your power stretcher cannot fit, you can use a knee kicker instead.
If there were built-in pieces of furniture that could not be removed, you could use a knee kicker to stretch the carpet around them.
A knee kicker is different from a power stretcher in size, but they share similar mechanisms and modes of use.
Place your knee kicker six inches away from the edge of the carpet you wish to stretch.
Press the teeth of the knee kicker down into the carpet.
Use your knee to apply pressure to the soft end of the knee kicker, and this will finish stretching the carpet.
As you stretch out the carpet, clean out the teeth of the knee kicker so that it can firmly grip and stretch the carpet.
You can also use the knee kicker to smooth out leftover wrinkles from the parts where you used the power stretcher.
Step 9: Cut off the excess carpet
After stretching the carpet, it might be longer than you need. Using a carpet cutter, slowly and carefully cut off any excess carpet.
Take your time with this step because if you cut too fast, you could cut off an important piece of the carpet.
Step 10: Place the Carpet on the tack strips
Place the carpet on the tack strips and press it down to hold it in place.
If the carpet goes over any doorways, you will need to use transition molding.
Transition moldings prevent you from tripping over the higher flooring side.
Nail down the transition molding and finish up by vacuuming your carpet.
How Much Does It Cost to Stretch the Carpet Out If Hiring Professionals?
Stretching out a carpet is something anyone can do by themself; it does not take a professional. But there are times when the job is too difficult for you to do or just don’t want to do it.
Hiring a professional is a great alternative if you don’t have the time or energy to do it yourself. It can be a stressful, strenuous, and time-consuming process, and you will also need to invest in carpet stretching tools that you might never use again.
If the stress of carpet stretching is something you would rather live without, then you can hire a professional.
Hiring a professional to stretch your carpet usually costs about $0.30 per square foot or around $45 to $90 per room. Some professionals might charge you by the hour, which would amount to roughly $60 an hour.
How to Get Wrinkles out of Carpet without a Stretcher?
Sometimes you might want to smooth out the wrinkles in your carpet but don’t have the money for a power stretcher or knee kicker.
The good news is; that there are other ways to do it. You could;
1. Use a plier to pull up the carpet until it meets the tack strips.
Pry the carpet off with a plier, and then use the plier to drag the carpet gently. Once you have achieved your desired length, you can place it on the tack strips and trim the excess carpet.
2. Jump on the carpet wrinkles to push it back in place.
With a pair of clean shoes, jump on the wrinkles in a forward direction. This will push the carpet towards the wall. After a few jumps, you should be able to place the carpet down on the tack strips.
Daily Tricks to Prevent Carpet from Wrinkling
Before your carpet is installed, choosing the right padding is the best way to prevent future wrinkles. This is why you need to hire a professional when you first install your carpet. After installation, there are certain things that cause wrinkling that you should always avoid.
1. Avoid dragging heavy objects across your carpet. Dragging heavy objects bunches your carpet and ruins the smoothness. Always lift the objects off the ground instead.
2. Don’t drag your feet across the carpet. Foot traction can cause your carpet to wrinkle, so always lift your feet while walking across the carpet.
3. If you accidentally spill a beverage, dry up your carpet immediately. If your carpet continues absorbing moisture, it will start to wrinkle.
Wrinkles, bumps, and bunches in your carpet are a safety hazard and hurt your home’s interior design. Stretching your carpet out is the best way to remove wrinkles and bumps.
Although the process is time-consuming, it’s also pretty fulfilling to know you did it all by yourself.