How To Patch Carpet

If you have a small area of carpet that needs to be replaced or even just re-stretched and attached to the tack strip this article will teach you how.

brief how to

In this article, you will find information about:

  1. Remove The Old Carpet Piece
  2. Attach Tack Strip
  3. Clean Up
  4. Install Carpet Pad
  5. Figure Out The Nap Direction
  6. Cut The Carpet
  7. Tape The Seams
  8. Stretch The Carpet
  9. Trim The Carpet Edges And Tuck Under The Baseboards

tools and materials

  • Carpet piece that matches your existing carpet
  • Carpet pad
  • Utility knife
  • Straight Edge, the longer the better, preferably the length of the new seam
  • Carpet chisel
  • Utility knife or carpet knife
  • Carpet tractor
  • Seaming iron
  • Seaming tape
  • Seaming glue; This is a glue that seals the cut ends of carpet so the fibers do not unravel
  • Staples or glue for the pad install.
  • Wall Cutter; a special tool with a razor blade attached to it. It cuts carpet along a wall
  • Cushion Back Cutter
  • Stair Chisel: A wide chisel that is dull and used to press carpet into tight corners

step 1 Remove The Old Carpet Piece

Use the straight edge or Cushion Back Cutter to cut very straight lines when cutting out the old piece of carpet. The Cushion Back Cutter is used by guiding it between the rows of fibers in the carpet. Make sure the knife blade cuts perpendicular to the carpet backing so that the joint fits together as tight as possible. An angled cut will leave open space that may be visible after seaming the two pieces together.

step 2 Attach Tack Strip

Tack strip goes along the wall to hold the carpet in place on the floor. The nails that are pre attached to tack strip are different depending on the sub floor you are installing the carpet over, either concrete or wood. Make sure that you purchase tack strip for the type of sub floor that you have under the carpet, either wood or concrete.

step 3 Clean Up

Sweep the room and make sure there is nothing that will cause a bump thru the carpet, like a nail from the tack strip. there is nothing worse than feeling a bump under the carpet after it is installed.

step 4 Install Carpet Pad

Carpet pad goes under the carpet to give it a softer feel under foot and to help extend the life of the carpet. Cut the carpet pad with a utility knife. Lay a straight edge on top of the carpet where you want to put the seam between the old carpet pad and the new carpet pad. Run the utility knife along the straight edge cutting the pad as you go. Lay the edge of the new pad up against the cut you just made in the old pad and join the seam with duct tape. If you are installing the carpet pad over concrete you will use carpet pad adhesive to glue the pad to the concrete. Dribble the adhesive in lines on the concrete about 12 inches apart, you do not need a lot. If you are installing the carpet pad over wood sub floor you will use staples to staple the pad to the wood. Install a staple along the edges about every 12 inches making sure that the staple heads are not sticking up.

step 5 Figure Out The Nap Direction

The nap must run the same direction in both pieces of carpet. Figure out the nap direction and lay the repair carpet piece where it will go next to the existing carpet with the naps of both carpets running the same direction.

step 6 Cut The Carpet

Carpet edges must be very straight to have a good seam. Use a straight edge and Utility knife or Cushion Back Cutter to cut the carpet. Trim the carpet that is installed first and then trim the repair patch to fit the hole in the carpet. Make sure the repair patch of carpet lays flat and the trimmed edges just kiss each other when it is laid into its new home. You don't want any bunching at the seams and you also don't want any gaps.

  • Straight Edge: Use a straight edge to trim any edges that will be seamed. A metal straight edge that is as long as possible works best to follow with a knife.
  • Cushion Back Cutter: If you have a Cushion Back Cutter you can cut between the loops of carpet fiber to get a good straight seam, this helps with looped carpets.

step 7 Tape The Seams

A seaming iron works by heating the glue on the top of the seaming tape and then after the iron is moved out of the way the carpet is pressed into the glue which, when it hardens, holds the seam together.

  • Start at the most convenient end and roll the two edges away from each other.
  • Set the hot iron onto the top of the seaming tape
  • Let iron heat up the glue for several seconds, make sure the glue is melted, the time varies depending on the room temperature, iron heat setting etc.
  • Once the glue is melted then move the iron along the tape one iron length and let it start heating the next section of glue.
  • While the iron is heating the next section you will join the section that was just heated. Align the two carpet edges to each other over the hot glue. Press the edges together and into the hot glue. You have time to get the seam right because hot glue does not cool that fast. (if you have ever got hot glue or wax on your skin you know this principle)
  • Use the carpet tractor to press the carpet into the glue.
  • Repeat this process down the whole seam.
  • Let the seam cool and strengthen

step 8 Stretch The Carpet

The larger the area that you have patched the more necessary it is to stretch the carpet. Stretching the carpet is done with a mechanical stretcher that can be rented at most rental stores.

The carpet is already attached to the tack strip on one end of the room. It is now ready to be stretched and hooked to the tack strip on the opposite wall. The carpet stretcher has two ends, an end with hooks to grab and push the carpet with and another end that simply butts up against the wall that has the carpet already attached to the tack strip.

  • Set up the carpet stretcher by adjusting the expandable tubes to go all the way across the room
  • Put the end that butts up against the wall, (the one with no teeth), against the baseboard on the wall that the carpet is already attached to. Protect the wall by using a 3' long or longer piece of wood between the stretcher bumper and the wall base.
  • Put the end of the stretcher that has the teeth on it about 6 inches from the wall and hook it into the carpet that you just patched.
  • Press down on the lever. This will stretch the carpet.
  • Use the Stair Chisel to press the carpet into the tack strip while there is tension on the carpet.
  • Move the Stretcher about 36 inches down the wall and repeat the stretching and pressing into the tack strip.

step 9 Trim The Carpet Edges And Tuck Under The Baseboards

The edge of carpet that goes up against a wall will need to be trimmed and tucked under the baseboard to make a nice finish. Before trimming the carpet it is important to make sure the carpet is fully pressed into the tacks on the tack strip. Push the chisel into the corner between the floor and the wall hard enough to get a 90 degree bend on the carpet between the floor and wall. Now you are ready to cut along the wall.

There are two ways to cut along the edge:

Wall Cutter: A wall cutter is run along the wall while it cuts the carpet edge. It is the easiest way to cut a perfect length against the wall so the carpet can be tucked under the baseboard.

Carpet Knife: Using a carpet knife to trim the edge is a little tougher but can be done.

  • Determine the place on the carpet to start your cut making sure that there will be plenty of length to tuck under the baseboard.
  • Roll the carpet edge back so you can cut on the back side of the carpet.
  • Cut the back side of the carpet.

After the carpet edge is cut you are ready to tuck the carpet under the baseboard. Use the Stair chisel to push the carpet under the baseboard.

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