Carpets have a miraculously good talent of getting dirty, and that means you're going to need to know how to clean them. Ideally, you'll know how to perform a deep clean that will make it worth your time. One of the things you might have heard through the grapevine is the act of stretching a carpet before you clean it, but is it really necessary?
If you have a carpet, then you should give it a good stretch before you do a serious deep clean to it. This helps remove wrinkles in your carpet and can also make it easier to get into hard to reach places. Over the course of many years, stretching your carpet can lead to a longer lifespan of your favorite rug.
Stretching a carpet may seem like it's a waste of time, but it really isn't. Getting the most out of your carpet's life means using the best possible cleaning methods. It's time to talk about what that really means.
Why Should You Stretch A Carpet?
Carpet stretching is a fairly involved process, which is why most professional groups tend to ask a lot of money for the service. Though it's pricey, it's often worth it. The following reasons explain why:
- It removes wrinkles and ripples from your carpet. Rippling occurs due to issues with installation, moisture in the air, or just aging carpets. Aesthetically, it's not a good look to have ripples.
- By removing wrinkles, you make it easier for your carpet steamer to fully penetrate the fibers and give an even cleaning.
- Carpet stretching also helps ensure that your carpet will last longer. Ripples that are regularly stepped on can wear out the fabric.
- Over time, carpet fibers will start to stiffen up. This can lead to breakage and warping. By stretching the carpet out, you help keep those fibers supple.
No matter how you look at it, it's an investment worth making. You spent a lot of time searching for the best carpet for your bedroom. Don't you want to protect that investment? Proper care will also let the carpet last longer on stairs, floors, and hallways. This is part of that care.
Should You Call A Professional To Stretch Your Carpet?
Most people who need to get a carpet stretched prefer to call a professional to do it. This is primarily because stretching a carpet requires equipment that is fairly pricey, but it also can be a result of the physical effort it takes to stretch a carpet. Carpet stretching costs around $40 to $80 per carpet when done by a professional.
Can You Stretch Old Carpet?
For most homes, there won't be an expiration date when it comes to stretching carpet. However, if your carpet is over 100 years old, is made of silk, or if it is a clear antique, you probably should not stretch it on your own. A better option would be to talk to a professional who would be able to determine if the carpet is meant to be stretched.
Is There Any Other Moment Where You Should Stretch Your Carpet?
Though the most common time to stretch carpet deals with cleaning, there are other moments where it's worth considering. If you notice ripples in your carpet or are just laying out the carpet for the first time, a stretching session could be in order. Generally speaking, most people will get a feeling about it when it needs to be done.
How Do You Stretch A Carpet?
The first thing you should do, before you start cleaning, is stretch out the carpet. But how do you do this? Well, you're going to need to get the right supplies and then apply the right technique. Let's break it down by the supplies you need, along with the actual technique.
What Do You Need To Stretch A Carpet?
To do this, you are going to need to get tools that will help you stretch out the carpet. There are two options here: a power stretcher or a knee kicker. Power stretchers are great if you want to get a thorough stretching of the entire house.
Knee kickers are better for smaller rooms.
If you cannot afford a knee kicker or a power stretcher, there may be another option to consider: renting. Most major home improvement stores, including Lowe's, will have them for rent.
How To Stretch Your Carpet
Now that we've covered the tools, let's talk about the actual stretching. Here's what you need to know:
Start by clearing out the room. Remove all furniture from the area since this can impede your ability to stretch fabric. Then, use a vacuum to clean up any dust that you may have around the corners.
Grab some work gloves and remove the carpet from the baseboard. You want to do this gently using a pair of pliers. If you run into tacks that secure the carpet to the padding underneath, use pliers and staple removers to remove them. Continue to remove the carpet along one side of the wall, and leave a small portion secured to the wall.
Push the stretcher's base along a 2x4 piece of wood, close to where the carpet is still secured. Lay the machine perpendicular to the areas where you have wrinkles, tooth-side down. Increase the stretcher's length using extension poles, until you see the "rake" portion of the stretcher approximately six inches away from the loosened portion of the carpet.
Sink the teeth all the way into the carpet's backing, and turn on the stretcher. Push down the lever as it's stretching. If it's easy to do, you should stretch the carpet more. If you can't pull down the level without serious effort, you need to stretch it less. Pulling the lever should be easy.
If you're not using a power stretcher, then you will need to position the teeth 6 inches away from the wall. Use your knee against the pad to push and stretch the carpet.
Your carpet should reach the wall once you're done stretching. You should also see fewer wrinkles. Press the carpet back into the tack to keep it there, and then continue stretching other parts of your room.
Repeat until you're finished. Ta-da! You now have a stretched carpet.
How Often Do You Need To Stretch A Carpet?
If you think that stretching a carpet is a lot of work, that's because it is. Thankfully, you don't need to do this too often. If you have a well-installed carpet, you might not actually need to stretch it at all. A typical carpet will only need to be stretched once every five years, so while you should stretch it before you deep clean it, it's not always a must.
Can Carpet Be Stretched Without Moving Furniture?
Admittedly, moving all that furniture is a huge pain. However, it's best to have your room totally vacant if you want to stretch a carpet. If you cannot remove all the furniture from your room, make sure it's at least 50 percent vacant. If you can't remove at least 50 percent of the items in your room, you won't get good results.
How Do You Know If Your Carpet Is Stretched Enough?
There's some good news about figuring out whether your carpet is stretched enough. It's easy to spot. All you need to do is look at the carpet as it's being stretched. If it's ripple-free and reaches to the wall, then you've stretched it enough. If you cannot stretch it to the wall, then it still needs to be pulled.
When it comes to deep cleaning, stretching your carpet usually makes a lot of sense---within reason, anyway. Most carpets will need to be stretched at least once every five years, but if you notice ripples developing on your carpet early, then you may need to get it stretched sooner.
Stretching your carpet is going to be a time-consuming task, however, the payoff is huge. It'll make your carpet last longer, stay cleaner, and also improve the results you get. No matter how you look at it, it's a great way to ensure your rooms look fresh, clean, and as good as new.