Before you look at how to repair that damaged carpet, you
need to consider exactly what kind of damage you'll be repairing.
Carpet that has frayed at the edges and pulled away from a wall,
for example, will require re-stretching and re-attachment. That
procedure is beyond the scope of this page, and you'll probably
need to hire help. Small burns can sometimes be repaired easily
by snipping out the burnt fibers and gluing a few new strands
in their place. See the page on Carpet
Burns for more on that.
For various other types of damage to small areas, there are
some basic repair procedures you can use. Minor repairs can be
done using the existing carpeting. If, for example, you have
a pea-sized ink stain that you can't remove, you can snip out
the stained tufts and replace them. Use small scissors and don't
cut out any more than you need to. Then, use some replacement
tufts of carpeting from any extra pieces you have. If there are
none, clip out what you need from a closet corner or some other
spot where it will not be noticed.
Carefully apply waterproof glue to the bottom of the hole
where you cut out the damaged fibers. With tweezers or small
needle-nose pliers put the new tufts into the spot and make sure
that they are pushed into the glue firmly. A toothpick might
help if the tweezers are getting glue on them and the fibers
are sticking to them. Cover the spot with a paper towel or two
and place a weight on it. The leg of a coffee table or something
similar will work.
After a couple hours the glue should be dry. Brush the spot
with your hand or run a vacuum cleaner over it to make the tufts
stand up. Trim any fibers that extend higher than the surrounding
carpet and you should have a nearly invisible repair.
If damage is larger than can be hidden with a few tufts of
fibers, you will need to have a piece of matching carpet to replace
the damaged spot. If you don't have leftovers from the time of
installation, your other alternative is to find a closet with
the same carpet and cut a piece from the backside of that. In
fact, if the damage is obvious, you might be better off removing
the carpeting in the closet to use for repairs, and laying down
tiles, rather than re-carpeting larger rooms.
To be sure that the new piece fits the spot you cut out, used
something to mark the carpet. A plastic cup with a relatively
sharp top can work for this, as can a coffee can for larger repairs.
Push the cup onto the carpet, being sure it covers the damaged
area, Twist a little to leave a circle. Cut along the circle
carefully with a carpet knife to remove the damaged spot. Use
the same cup or other marking device to mark and cut out the
replacement piece, so it will fit precisely.
Place the new piece into the hole where the repair is to be
done, and turn it until you have the nap of the fibers lined
up with the nap on the surrounding carpet. If it is placed in
the wrong direction the shading will be different and the carpet
repair will be noticeable. You can tell if you have it right
when it looks the same on the new piece and surrounding carpet
after you brush your hand across it. Remove the piece and lay
it alongside the hole being careful to maintain the direction
in which it will be laid.
Note: A circular replacement piece can be
less noticeable than a square or rectangular one. On the other
hand, it is easier to cut in straight lines, so the call is yours.
Of course, you can always cut a rectangle around your circle
cut if it doesn't work out (as long as you have an additional
replacement piece). Also, be sure with rectangular cuts that
you get the direction of the nap right.
In the hole, placed carpet tape carefully, cutting and placing
a couple pieces if necessary to cover most of the space. Press
it down firmly and then remove the backing to expose the other
adhesive side. You can also use waterproof glue instead. Place
your new piece in the hole carefully and press firmly. If the
direction looks right and the fibers at the edges are blending
well, you have a good repair--but you're not done yet.
Place a heavy weight on the spot for a couple days, to be
sure that the adhesive holds well. You can use a stack of books
or a gallon jar full of water (but be sure the outside is dry)
for this. Your final test will b when you take the weight off,
fluff up the fibers to see that the spot blends in with the surrounding
carpet--and then vacuum.
Sometimes there will be fibers that are higher than the surrounding
ones. When you are sure the adhesive is holding tight, vacuum
the area to fluff up the fibers. Then trim any tall fibers to
match the level of the surrounding carpet. Vacuum again and if
you did it right the repair might be invisible. Look at the spot
from several angles to be sure you have it right.
That's how you can repair carpet that is damaged in a small
area -- up to the size of a dinner plate. The circular cut works
especially well for hiding the repair, by the way, although it
may be more difficult than cutting and placing a square piece.
This video gives you an idea of how
to repair (replace) a section of damaged carpet. The demonstration
is of a large repair. If you have smaller spots just follow the
steps described above:
One common problem you might run into is that your extra pieces
of carpet are too new to match the years-old carpet in the room.
You can partially remedy this by using a piece for an entry rug
for a few weeks before making the repair, and/or letting it sit
in the sun if the area to be repaired is somewhat faded by sunlight.
In any case, after you repair the carpet the difference between
the new and old will diminish in time.