How To Stretch Carpet (Easy Step-By-Step Guide)

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how to stretch carpet

Do you find that certain areas of the carpeting in your house or condo is getting scrunched up and lumpy? Then you might require carpet stretching. This is when you take the carpet that is already installed and stretch it enough to tighten the material and make it smooth again.

Though normal use, you will see the carpet material loosen and have a harder time remaining tight. This project is something that you can easily do yourself, but you need to know how to stretch carpet properly. So, we will go over exactly how to do it so you can get it done faster and have a new-looking carpet in your home. 

How To Stretch Carpet Correctly: 

stretch carpet correctly

If you don’t want to pay to get the work done by someone else, this is something that won’t take too long for you to do yourself. This enables you to save a little on labor and makes it a good project to get done over the weekend so you don’t have to take a day off of work to get professionals in your home for the job.

So, if you want to stretch your carpet yourself within a day, here are the steps you need to take to get the job done. 

Get All Necessary Tools and Materials 

tools to stretch carpet

To do your job, you need to be able to have the materials and tools handy so that you don’t have to stop your workflow to run to the store. So, here is the list of all that you will need:

  • Staples 
  • Carpet and pads 
  • Tack strips 
  • A carpet cutter 
  • Screwdriver 
  • Cold chisel 
  • A hammer 
  • Knee kicker pry bar 
  • Carpet stretcher 
  • Pliers 
  • Rubber mallet 
  • Stapler 
  • Utility knife 
  • Tin snips 

Step 1: Pull the Carpet and Pad Back 

You will need to grab your pliers and use them to pull the corner of the carpet out so that you can see the carpet pad underneath. Make sure that the carpet is completely pulled away from the tack strip. 

Step 2: Take Out the Staples 

You can choose to use a pair of pliers or the screwdriver, whichever works better for you. Then, take out every staple that you can see. Take extra care to ensure that the carpet pad doesn’t rip when doing this. Once you think you are done, double-check the work to ensure no staples are left that will rip the pad when you lift it. 

Step 3: Replace Tack Strips 

Use the pry bar that you have to lift small sections of the strips and don’t forget to wear gloves while handling these items. The strips tend to have nails in them that could scratch or poke you. These tend to draw blood, so handle everything carefully as you are removing the strips. 

Continue getting rid of all the tack strips around the carpet area until all are gone. Discard them out of the way of other items so no one else touches them. 

Step 4: Make New Strips 

Take the strips that you have with you and cut them into four-inch sections like the ones that were laid before using the tin snips. You will need to wear gloves during this process as well. Then, you will use your hammer to put them into place and use nails to install them. The strips should be about two inches from the baseboards. 

You will need to ensure that you place the nails that come on the tack strips are facing toward the wall. Use your chisel and mallet to ensure that they are pointing in the right direction. 

Step 5: Replace the Carpet Pads and Cut to Size 

You can replace the carpet pads and cut them with your utility knife so they fit with the size of the room. They should be slightly shorter than where the carpet will be. This is so the carpet will be stretched over the padding to the baseboards.

You can discard the excess carpet padding. It is a good idea to have a trash can nearby that you can place the pieces in, then remove it from the room as you stretch the carpet.

Step 6: Cut Your Carpet 

The carpet that you purchase will not be fitted to the exact size of your room, so you should measure an excess amount of around three inches on all sides and mark it. Then, you can cut along that marked area all around the room. 

Step 7: Stretch the Carpet 

Then, you will need to grab the carpet stretcher tool and use it to do your main job. Then, use your hands to help embed the end of the carpet into the tack strips as you go. Continue to do this along the entire edge of the carpet. 

Step 8: Kick Any Remaining Tights Areas 

You will need to grab the knee kicker tool for this job. This will work similarly to the carpet stretcher, but you will want to use this tool wherever the larger one will not be able to fit. Corners and small, tight spaces are perfect for this tool. 

After you stretch the rest of the carpet areas, you will need to cut off the excess carpet and embed the carpet end into the tack strips. 

Video Tutorial

Tips and Tricks 

tips and tricks

If you have any furniture that you are wanting to put into the room that will stay there permanently, then you will need to build that into the room before you begin this process.

Just be sure to place it against the wall and run the tack strips around the edges of the piece of furniture so that the carpet will go around it and not underneath. This will allow you to change out the carpet or stretch it again. 

Final Words 

Stretching carpet on your own might seem like a much bigger job than it is. With the right materials and tools,

you can get this job done in just one day to have a beautiful carpet that is taut and will last a long time


Plus, once you know to stretch carpet and have the right tools, you can continue to do this process whenever you see that your carpets need it. 

Photo of author


Nora has more than 5 years experience in the floor covering industry, acquiring vast knowledge about installation and material selection. She now enjoys working as a writer and an interior decorator. Her work has been featured in The Spruce, Homes & Gardens, Southern Living and Real Homes. See full biography here.

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