Can I fix this carpet wrinkle myself?
April 1, 2007 2:31 PM   Subscribe

We have a house we're going to make an offer on this weekend. There is one room upstairs which is VERY large (600 sq feet, about 18'x34'). The carpet has some "ripples" in it, as if it's not stretched tight enough. Is this something I can fix myself? Here is a picture of a ripple.

I'm pretty handy in general. Carpet installers use those long poles to stretch carpet but I am guessing that just don't make them that long. I don't know much about carpet stretching in general.

If I can't do it myself, what might I expect a pro to charge for it?
posted by RustyBrooks to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
Well, google wasn't much help.
maybe go to a tool rental place and see if they carry a carpet stretcher in the size you require?
posted by defcom1 at 2:59 PM on April 1, 2007

IANACI, but I've got some experience with ripples in carpets. One of three things could be at work here.
1)Either the carpet just loosened over time and needs to be power stretched (probable).
2)The carpet is defective and will no longer 'stretch.' (not likely)
3) The carpet was installed and seamed improperly and delaminated at the seam and therefore needs to be replaced. (my problem). You can't see the seam coming apart but its separated enough to cause the rippling and if it were stretched the seam would tear in two.

Be prepared to have to replace the carpet.
posted by Thrillhouse at 2:59 PM on April 1, 2007

Wouldn't it actually be cheaper to get a new carpet (that you like)? The amount of chance involved in fixing this one might make it worth just getting new.

(As an aside, that room has the same floor area than our entire new house we're just buying! ;-))
posted by wackybrit at 3:33 PM on April 1, 2007

If I can fix it myself, no, it wouldn't be cheaper. Also, I can't imagine paying a pro to stretch the carpet (if that's possible) would cost the same as buying a carpet and having the pro install it. The carpet is in pretty good shape otherwise.

Regarding the square footage, well, that's just the joy of living in texas, in the suburbs. It has some corresponding down sides but overall it's not so bad.

Honestly if I can fix it myself, I think I can probably live with it.
posted by RustyBrooks at 3:39 PM on April 1, 2007

er, if I can't fix it myself, I can live with it.
posted by RustyBrooks at 3:39 PM on April 1, 2007

It may be old or the quality may be suspect or the glue has given up the ghost. I think it's an original installation issue, combined with dragging feet.

I'd suggest getting a straight, long edge, like a 2x4 and slice right through to the floor. It's either the carpet or the underpadding, if there is any. Then cut again, right beside the original cut, a few millimeters off. Get the carpet glue out and glue down the edge, both sides of cut.
You'll need to get one of those knee carpet stretchers. They are hell on the knees, how are yours¿ You'll also need a hd roller, like a pavement/soil roller, to press down the edge. They weigh a ton, have fun carrying it up the stairs. How's your back¿

Yep, lots of work, lots of things to consider before DIY, but inevitable for carpet installation.

Best to get a few quotes from carpet installers, if they even want to take on the project, it would take less than an hour with all the tools to complete. Cheaper than a new carpet, by far. DIY, will probably cost more, I'd think what with all the tool rentals and bucket 'o glue. Get glue on the carpet and...the effect won't be quite the same.

The carpet installer may say it's hopeless ]which it isn't[ and try to upgrade you to a new carpet, which may be the case, depending upon it's shape in general and the depth of your pockets.

Is there a Murphy's law that states if anything can go wrong, it will¿ Oops, let go of the roller and plastering and.... you get the picture, I'm sure.

Before signing for the new home, see if you can get the real estate person to 'throw in' a new carpet....
posted by alicesshoe at 3:45 PM on April 1, 2007

I'll see what I can do with the sellers. They might give me some kind of allowance.

If they won't I'll check out a pro. From alicesshoe's description it's probably a bit much for me.

The carpet is in pretty good shape, overall. That's one of the surprising features of the house. Either it had pretty good carpet to start with (rare in new homes here) or they replaced it at some point in the recent past.
posted by RustyBrooks at 3:53 PM on April 1, 2007

I had ripply carpet like that -- and like you, I didn't want to spend $$ to replace -- but I did pay my "handyman' to do the stretching for me as I didn't have a clue how to do it right -- but he did. End result was that my rooms were fixed and worked well.
posted by peace_love_hope at 4:44 PM on April 1, 2007

Why not go with accent rugs over the lumpy areas? You extend the life of the existing carpet, cover the problem areas, break up a very large room in an attractive way, and, when you eventually replace the carpet, can use them again. Time or money spent repairing the existing carpet becomes valueless when you eventually pull it up.
posted by phearlez at 6:24 PM on April 1, 2007

If this was one or two small ripples running parallel to the walls, I'd say you could get them out yourself with a rented stretcher, a sharp utility knife and a couple of hours work but that picture shows a bigger problem.

Contact local carpet stores and ask if they have restretching services. If the owners remember who installed this carpet, try contacting that store/installer first especially if the installation was in the last couple of years.

You'll probably be quoted an hourly rate ($50-$150) so empty the room prior to the appointment. It'll save you some dough and the stretcher guys will have a better chance of getting all the ripples out.
posted by jaimystery at 3:25 AM on April 2, 2007

I paid around $100 last year in Dallas to have carpet in one room stretched. If you empty the room before they come it only takes them a few minutes. Any carpet installer should be willing to do this for you.
posted by Uncle Jimmy at 8:25 AM on April 2, 2007

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