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How to Repair Carpet

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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.

Related Pages:

Repairing Bleach Stains

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Remove Carpet Stains Homepage | How to Repair Carpet