How to Re-Stretch your Carpet

After a few years, many carpets may begin to stretch out and buckle.  Not only does a rippled carpet look old and unattractive, but it can be a tripping hazard as well.  Re-stretching your carpet at home could be a cost effective alternative to replacing your entire carpet. 

A newly re-stretched carpet will look fresh and as good as new.  All you’ll need are the materials listed below and a few tools that can be rented from a local hardware store.  Also, recruiting a friend might be especially helpful.   


·      Work Gloves

·      Pry Bar

·      Flat-Head Screwdriver

·      Needle-Nose Pliers

·      Tack Strips

·      Rubber Mallet

·      Cold Chisel

·      Utility Knife

Things to rent:

·      Power Carpet Stretcher

·      Knee Kicker

·      Carpet Cutter

·      Staple Gun 

Step 1: Empty the Room

Remove all furniture from the room and clean your workspace.  Having a clear and organized area to work in will ease the carpet stretching process.

Step 2: Remove Any Molding

Before you can detach the carpet, you’ll need to remove any baseboard molding along the wall.  Use a pry bar to gently remove the wood but be careful not to crack the baseboards or damage the wall.

Step 3: Detach the Carpet

Using the flat-head screwdriver and the needle-nose pliers, remove any staples securing the carpet to the padding.  Be sure to remove all the staples, as any left attached will rip the padding.  Remove old tack strips with a pry bar. Also take care not to damage the carpet while it’s being detached. 

Complete this process on all walls except one.  You will need the carpet to be anchored in order to stretch it properly.

Step 4: Replacing the Tack Strips

Wear work gloves when you cut the new tack strips to the correct length.  Place the new strips an inch away from the edge while making sure the gripping nails are pointing towards the wall.  Using a rubber mallet and a cold chisel, nail the tack strips into place. 

Step 5: Stretching the Carpet

Place the base of the power stretcher against the wall with the carpet still anchored.  Adjust the tool so that the end with the teeth is six inches away from the opposite wall.  Starting in the center of the wall, push the lever down so the teeth catch on the carpet.  Continue pushing down on the lever to stretch the carpet.  Stretch the carpet to the wall and repeat along the wall until the entire edge has been pulled to the proper length.

Step 6: Knee Kicker

The knee kicker is useful when trying to stretch a carpet in corners where it’s difficult to use the power stretcher.  Dig the teeth of the knee kicker into the carpet that needs to be stretched.  Kick your knee into the padding to push the carpet forward.  Repeat until the carpet is stretched appropriately.  

Step 7: Remove Excess Carpeting

Underneath the carpeting, use the utility knife to slit where the excess carpet needs to be removed.  Using the slit as a guideline, use the carpet cutter to trim the carpet.  Forcing the carpet cutter against the wall will ensure that the carpet is cut to the right length.

Step 8: Re-Embed the Carpet

Again using the carpet cutter, push the carpet to the wall to embed the tacks below. Next, use the staple gun to secure the padding to the carpet.

Repeat steps 4 through 8 for all sides of the room that need to be stretched and trimmed.

Step 9: Replace the Molding

Now that your carpet has been beautifully stretched, it’s time to replace the baseboard molding. Reset the molding back into place and use nails or adhesive to attach them to the wall.

Once your carpet is stretched, it helps to have it steamed to remove any creases that may have settled from the wrinkling.  Replace your furniture and enjoy your beautiful newly stretched carpet!

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