Carpet Repair Techniques

Today more than ever, consumers lead very busy lives. Free time is hard to come by. Customers do not want to be inconvenienced by calling several contractors for carpet maintenance and repairs. Consumers look to companies that are well diversified and educated in both the cleaning and repairing of carpet.

The professional textile cleaning company can capitalize in today’s marketplace by making life easier and more manageable for the customer by caring for all their textile-related cleaning and repair needs. Set a goal for your cleaning company to add carpet repair; your profits and market share will vastly increase. Carpet repair is a great service that can help take your business to the next level.

First things first: attend an IICRC Repair and Reinstallation class. A good education is critical to your success. The IICRC, CFI, FITC and CRI, along with your regional trade association, can help ensure your success with proper training. Carpet repair and installation is a true craft. Extensive training, combined with certification, will be necessary to become proficient in all aspects of the trade.

Any true craftsman needs a good set of tools. The following tools are necessary to make simple carpet repairs. Keep in mind that this list is not all-inclusive; there are many tools for carpet installation. That said, here’s a basic list to get you started (as you progress to installing new carpet you will need more tools, one being a power stretcher).
  • First, purchase a good-quality metal toolbox at least 24 inches long designed to hold carpet tools
  • A slotted double edge razor knife for trimming and executing repairs.
  • The use of a cookie cutter will allow repairs to be made from the top on cut-pile, action-bac carpet.
  • A Hawkbill knife for opening seams and making repairs.
  • A good set of metal snips for cutting metal tap-down at doorways. Technicians also cut tackstrip with them.
  • Duckbill shears for removing lose fibers and leveling seams and edges.
  • A good 20-ounce hammer.
  • Wood and concrete nails to install or reinforce tack strip before re-stretches.
  • A syringe for latex to fix small bubbles in direct-glue-down installations.
  • Rubber mallet for tap-down metal.
  • A staple gun to repair stairs or other carpeted areas where carpet curves.
  • A glue gun is required for many repairs, especially seam-related ones.
  • Seam sealer and bottle applicator to seal seams and make repairs to carpet backing.
  • A seam roller or groomer to press the back of the carpet into the hot tape.
  • Flat rollers are suggested on cut-pile carpet.
  • A carpet awl for disengaging carpet; also useful in repair situations.
  • Stair tools are used to tuck the carpet into the gully between the tackless and the wall.
  • A straight edge and square for seam work and repairs (Note: cut from the back of cut-pile carpet with straight edge).
  • Tool pouch to hold knives while working.
  • Staple puller and set of kneepads.
  • A knee kicker for positioning the carpet onto tack strip. This tool is not for stretching carpet.
  • A mini power stretcher.
  • A good, hot metal seaming iron is necessary for seams (Note: on a conventional seaming iron the use of a heat shield would be necessary in order not to melt synthetic backings).

Let’s cover a few simple repair techniques for common carpet problems. Carpet buckling is often encountered by the professional textile cleaner and can easily be repaired. Buckling is a common carpet problem the textile cleaner can handle to increase profits with minimal risks. We will assume buckling is from loose carpet; no delamination or other situations like improper pad selection, rolling heavy objects, old carpet, etc.

There are industry standards for carpet installation. Carpet & Rug Institute (CRI) 104 & 105 Installation Guidelines should always be followed to ensure a professional-quality installation or repair to industry standards.
  1. Evaluate buckle position and pray it’s not in front of a doorway where you need to open a seam. Buckles perpendicular to a wall away from a door opening are easiest to handle.
  2. Evaluate furniture placement. It is necessary to move furniture off the carpet in the area being re-stretched.
  3. With a carpet awl disengage and remove the carpet from the tackless strip. Most simple re-stretches involve only disengaging the carpet from the tackless on two walls. Experience with carpet repair and the position of the buckle in the carpet, combined with length of stretch, will determine how much carpet you disengage.
  4. After disengaging the carpet, examine the tackstrip. All tackstrip must be firmly nailed into the subfloor. Fix any damaged tackstrip.
  5. If carpet in a room attaches to a hallway stretch away from the door. You should always stretch away from seams when possible. Stretch toward open walls. Any seam opened during a repair must be sealed with seam sealer.
  6. When re-stretching carpet, several tools can be used. A mini power stretcher is very popular and does a great job. There is also a new tool on the market called the Behr Claw that allows the textile cleaner to do re-stretches and relays in a quick, effective manner.

The second problem often encountered by the textile cleaner is small dye stains that cannot be removed by the cleaning process. In addition, there are often small holes in carpet (i.e, burn holes). A simple repair solution would be to use a cookie cutter and a KoolGlide iron. The iron is used from the top of the carpet, melting the specialized tape below without the carpet surface getting hot. The tool never comes in contact with the adhesive, which avoids a mess and possible damage to the fibers from adhesive.

To begin your repair, cut the stain from the face of the cut pile carpet with your cookie cutter (Note: always cut the donor piece from the back of the cut pile carpet.) Hopefully the customer has leftover carpet. If not, obtain permission to remove a piece of carpet from the front inside corner of a closet. After cookie cutting the affected area, the nap on the donor piece must be in the same direction as the surrounding pile.
  • Seal all exposed cut edges of carpet with seam sealer.
  • Place a piece of KoolGlide tape larger than the size of the hole under the carpet.
  • Check nap lay before seaming.
  • Place the KoolGlide iron over the carpet and press the button. Have the iron on low setting and the tape should bond to the carpet backing.
  • Roll over the bonded insert with a flat seam roller to ensure a good bond.
  • Trim any raised yarn with duckbill shears and shazam, you just repaired a carpet.

Offering carpet repair services is a way for the textile cleaner to gain a competitive edge in their marketplace. As business owners and professionals, we need to be aggressive and take on more challenges to reach new heights. Today’s technology makes carpet repair fun, exciting, profitable.

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