How to Get Rid of a Ripple in the Carpet
Wall-to-wall carpet, like skin, loses elasticity as it ages, so it shouldn’t surprise you to find the living room carpet that looked fine when you moved in beginning to show a few wrinkles. If that old carpet still cleans up well, however, replacing it may not be the most economical option. If the area is large or carpet is old, you should consult a professional who has the experience and tools to protect the carpet’s fibers, but if the area is small, you may be able to perform a “facelift” for your rippling carpet.
- 1 Rippled or Buckled Carpet After Cleaning
- 2 Stretch a Buckled Carpet
- 3 Prevent Carpet From Buckling
- 4 Get Bumps Out of Carpets
1 Remove all of the furniture in the room, including china cabinets, entertainment centers and other heavy pieces that are a bother to move but would hold part of the carpet back as you attempt to stretch and straighten the carpet.
2 Walk around the room, noting where the carpet has come loose or edges have frayed. Examine these places to determine whether your carpet was laid with tackless strips or carpet tacks. Remove floor registers and thresholds applied over the carpet.
3 Pry the carpet gently up from the strips with a wood chisel or other pry tool on a wall parallel to the ripple. Pull tacks with a carpet tack puller, a small metal claw on a short, thick shank or the claw on a carpet tack hammer. Find the underlying padding and straighten it if you find bunching.
4 Replace missing or damaged tackless strips. Install strips if they are not present — tacking carpet takes experience. Where strips have been placed more than 1/4 to 1/2 inch away from the wall, install strips that butt up against the wall and follow square corners.
5 Trim frayed carpet using a utility knife and metal straightedge. Apply seam sealer or carpet latex to the edge of the backing to seal it and prevent unraveling. Allow the sealer to dry completely before beginning to restretch the carpet.
6 Lay the head of the power stretcher on the loose side of the carpet in the middle of the wall about a foot away from it. Add sections of pole to the power stretcher until it reaches across the room to the opposite wall. Butt the pole against a piece of two-by-four to protect the baseboard or wall.
7 Pump the lever on the power stretcher to stretch out the ripple in the carpet.
8 Tap the carpet onto the tackless strip with a mallet and trim the edge with a utility knife. Tuck the edge under the woodwork with a putty knife.
9 Work along one side of the center with the power stretcher, attaching the carpet to the strips, trimming and tucking as you go until the entire side is reattached. Use a knee-kick tool to stretch carpet into corners.
Things You Will Need
- Rubber mallet
- Tack puller or carpet tack hammer
- Wood chisel
- Tackless carpet strips and tacks
- Utility knife with fresh blades
- Sharp scissors
- Metal straightedge
- Seam sealant or carpet latex
- Knee pads
- Power stretcher
- Knee kicker
- Wide putty knife or paint scraper
- Power stretchers are pricey. These tools and knee kickers may be available from a local rental store.
- If you see more than one ripple or the room is larger than a small bedroom, you need to pull up the carpet all around the room to restretch it. Depending on the age and quality of the carpet, you should consider hiring a professional to ensure an attractive result.
- Get a professional opinion as to whether to stretch or replace before trying to stretch carpet yourself.
- Stretch carpeting carefully — overstretching may weaken the carpet or result in new wrinkles or tearing.