Repairing damaged carpeting

If your home has carpet, chances are you'll have to deal with a rip, tear, stain or burn at some point. Here are tips to fix them.

Repairing damaged carpeting

Dealing with rips in carpets

  • A tear in a carpet nearly always occurs along a seam where two carpet sections are glued or sewn together — often because somebody dragged furniture over it.
  • To fix a ripped seam, thread some heavy fishing line through a large, curved upholstery needle. Stitch the tear together, pushing the needle through about one cenitmetre (1/2 inch) from the edges of the tear and spacing the stitches about two centimetres (3/4 inch) apart. Your stitches will be less visible if you make the top of the stitches square to the tear and the underside diagonal.
  • If the seam was previously glued together, you may find it tough to work the needle through the old glue tape. Use needle-nose pliers to help push the needle.

Loose and missing yarn

  • Furniture moving is often the culprit when a carpet develops loose or missing yarn. To repair loose or missing yarn, all you need are a small screwdriver and some carpet seam adhesive.
  • If the yarn is still attached to the carpet, just glue it back in place. First protect the area around the run with masking tape; then squeeze a heavy bead of adhesive into the run. Use the screwdriver to press each scab (where the original adhesive clings to the yarn) down into the carpet backing until each new loop is at the right height.
  • If the yarn is missing, count the number of carpet loops it will take to fill the run. Then pull a piece of yarn from the edge of a scrap (or hidden) piece of carpet and count the curls in the loose yarn; cut it to provide the right amount of yarn to fill the run.

Burns and stains

  • These days, no one smokes anymore, right? Well, somehow cigarette burns still happen.
  • To fix a surface burn, just snip off the charred tips of the tufts with sharp scissors. If the carpet is plush, it helps to feather out the area by lightly tapering the nap in a circle a little wider than the damaged area.
  • A carpet "cookie cutter" kit is great for replacing a small bit of carpet that's badly stained or deeply burned. The spot-patch kit comes with a circular tool with a centre pivot and blades attached to the outside. You just rotate the tool to cut out an eight centimetre (three inch) circle containing the damaged area; then do the same to cut a patch from a piece of spare carpet or carpet in a hidden area such as inside a closet. Then put down the double-stick tape that comes with the kit and plug in the patch.
  • Make sure the patterns match when you cut out the patch. If the patch looks a lot less worn than the rest of the carpet, roughen it by rubbing it on concrete.
  • Since most carpet tiles are usually held in place by self-adhesive or double-stick carpet tape, you can usually lift the tile by slipping a putty knife under an edge. Then you just insert a new one using the same type of tape to attach it. Rather than using a bright new tile that will stick out like a sore thumb, exchange the tile with one from a hidden or less noticeable area.
  • To remove a stubborn stain on a carpet tile, try taking it up and washing it under cold water; let it dry completely before replacing it.
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