Please Save My Knees!
August 2, 2007
About 33 years ago I re-installed (kicked in) my first carpet. It had been disengaged during a flood cleanup. It was also 33 years ago that my knees told me that if I continued doing that kind of work they would freeze up and go on strike.
My brother Rob, who worked with me at the time, has since had two full knee replacements. Now that he is bionic with full titanium knees, he can withstand maximum abuse, so I have suggested he consider going into full-time carpet installation. He has yet to buy into the idea.
The instrument of my pain was the good old indispensable knee kicker. This device makes you use brute force and the top of your knee to stretch carpet back onto the tack strip. It has been around for many years, and will probably always be necessary to some extent. However, it is certainly not the tool of choice for complete installation or re-installation of wall-to-wall carpeting.
Having failed on my first re-install job with the knee kicker, I invested in a power stretcher. Ah, the relief to my knees was immediate but, after punching a hole in the opposite wall where my pole was positioned, I decided to hire professionals for my re-installs from that point forward. This was a good idea, except the normal disposition of the carpet installers I worked with was to make a commitment and then seemingly do all in their power to miss it. In addition, I was missing the majority of the income from this service, as well as missing carpet repair and re-stretching from my current carpet-cleaning customers.
I don’t know why nobody thought of it before, but now there is a solution to sore knees, poles, and power stretchers that is accepted by all major carpet manufacturers and professional install trainers. It is called Behr Claws, developed by two professional carpet installers, Tim and Jerry Behr. It is one of those simple, “Why didn’t I think of it?’ inventions. With Behr Claws, any professional carpet cleaner, restoration professional or carpet installer can make quick work of turning a rumpled mess into perfectly stretched-in carpet. It even works with furniture still in the room.
Behr Claws works by using the tack strip as an anchor point. Its claws grab onto the wall side of the tack strip. Use the head from any regular power stretcher to engage the carpet and achieve a perfect professional stretch without puncturing. It works on wood or concrete sub-floors, and is amazingly fast and easy to use.
Unfortunately for the homeowner, many carpets today have not been installed using current recommended procedures. This is an opportunity. Each time you do a pre-cleaning inspection, watch for carpet that needs re-stretching. If water damage work is part of your offering, this tool will make reinstalls much easier than ever before (watch how to use Behr Claws online at www.behrclaws.com/video.)
I wish I’d had this gadget all those years ago. All you do is unhook the carpet from the tack strip, stretch, re-attach to the tack strip, cut the excess, and tuck the edge under the baseboard. There’s nothing difficult about it, and your knees will thank you. If you liked this article, circle 145 on the Reader Inquiry Card.