How to Eliminate Ripples in Carpet

Carpeting is a fiber-based product, and like anything made from fibers, it can become stretched out over time. This loosening can lead to buckles, ripples, and other unsightly problems. But there is no need to worry. This is a natural part of your carpet’s aging process, and it can happen to even the most expensive, professionally-installed carpeting. Furthermore, this problem is easily repaired.
In order to eliminate ripples from your carpet, your carpet must be restretched. You can pay to have this process done professionally, or you can try to tackle it yourself. It is a rather involved DIY project, but it can be completed in just 2-4 hours.

The tools required to stretch a carpet are as follows: a flathead screwdriver, a hammer, a tape measure, a flat pry bar, a sharp utility knife, tin snips, a construction staple gun and staples, a carpet stretcher, and a carpet cutter. You will also need to purchase new tack strips with attachment nails included. For your own safety, you should also wear heavy-duty leather work gloves and protective eyewear.

Step #1: Empty the Room

In order to this job properly, you will need to begin with an empty room. Move all furniture and other items out of the room and store them someplace else for the duration of the project.

Step #2: Pull Up the Carpet

Choose one corner of the room. Grip the carpet in that corner firmly with your pliers and begin to pull. Move your pliers back and forth while pulling, until you feel the carpet come loose from the tack strip. The first corner is always the most difficult to remove, so be patient. Work your way from that corner outward, until all of the edges of the carpet have been removed from the tack strips.

Step #3: Remove and Replace Tack Strips

Now that the tack strips have been exposed, you can evaluate them. If any tack strips appear to be broken, you will need to remove them and install new ones. Use your pry bar and hammer to loosen and remove any broken tack strips, making sure to remove all nails as well. Then use your tin snips to cut new pieces of tack strip to fit in these locations. Secure your new tack strips down using the nails included and your hammer. The nails should be positioned about 12 inches apart.

Step #4: Tighten the Padding

With the carpet folded in toward the center of the room, take a good look at the padding. First, carefully remove all of the staples securing the padding near the wall. You can pry them out of the floor using a flathead screwdriver. Then stretch the padding taught, taking care to eliminate any ripples or folds.
Secure the padding using your staple gun and staples. Place each staple approximately 3 inches apart. Finally, use a utility knife to remove any excess padding.

Step #5: Use the Carpet Stretcher

Fold the carpet back down and place your carpet stretcher in the center of the room. Determine which wall you will start with, and position the carpet stretcher so that its head is about 6 inches from that wall. The butt end of the carpet stretcher should just barely touch the opposite wall. Set the dial on the stretcher to the correct carpet thickness.
Move the teeth of the carpet stretcher down until they make contact with the carpet, and begin applying pressure. Move the carpet toward the wall until you can feel it grab the tack strip. Push down hard near the wall to help ensure that both the carpet and padding are gripping the tack strip. Move the carpet stretcher over 1-2 feet and repeat this process. Then turn the machine and complete this process on the other three walls.
When all of the carpet has been stretched, move around the walls and try to make sure that carpet is making contact with the tack strips. Finally, use your carpet cutter to remove any extra carpeting.
For best results, you may want to follow your carpet restretching with a professional cleaning. This will help to settle your carpet into its new position, making sure that all ripples and buckles are permanently removed. Best of all, this will leave your newly restretched carpet looking and smelling like new. If you will be completing this project at your office, seek out commercial carpet cleaning for businesses. If it has been more than a year since your last professional carpet cleaning, consider making an appointment today.