How to Re-Stretch your Carpet

Carpet re-stretching

After a few years, you may find that your carpet has started to stretch out and buckle. Not only does this make the carpet itself look old and unattractive, but it could also pose as a tripping hazard each time you walk by. Before you decide to rip it up and purchase new carpet, consider this cost-effective alternative – re-stretching.

What does re-stretching your carpet mean, exactly? It means giving your carpet a little TLC! Between heavy furniture and high foot traffic, your carpet will begin to loosen over time, leaving you with a frustrating bump in the middle of your living room. The longer you wait to correct it, the worse it will get. With the help of a few basic tools, the re-stretch process will bring your carpet back to life, looking as good as new in no time.

What are you waiting for? Grab a friend and pop into your local flooring or hardware store to get started today. Your newly refreshed carpet is only 9 steps away…


·      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 begin detaching 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 during this step to prevent the padding from tearing.  Along with the staples, 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

Before cutting the new tack strips to length, be sure to pull on your work gloves if you’re not wearing them already (safety first!). Once cut 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

It’s go time! 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 until you successfully stretch the carpet to the wall.  You will need to repeat this step as you move along the wall until the entire edge has been pulled to the proper length.

Step 6: Knee Kicker

The knee kicker tool comes in handy 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.  Once in place, 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

Continue using the carpet cutter, push the carpet to the wall to embed the tacks below. After the carpet is in place, 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.

Congratulations, you did it! If you’re still seeing some wrinkles or creases, don’t worry. Steaming your carpet will remove those imperfections just in time for you to replace your furniture and enjoy your beautiful, newly stretched carpet.

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