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Carpet Wrinkles? 10 Most Common Causes Revealed!

 

Do You Have Carpet Buckles, Waves, Ripples, Creases or Wrinkles? Regardless what you call them, having loose carpet is not good. You need to know what is causing them and what or who may be held responsible! Here are my Top 10 most common causes for carpet wrinkles and how to deal with the problem.

 

What is a Carpet Wrinkle?

 

What is a carpet wrinkle?Carpet wrinkles, waves or creases are the result of your carpet not being stretched in tight enough to prevent wrinkles from forming over time. Basically your carpet has lost its stretch (for some reason) and now it must be re-stretched as soon as possible to prevent unfixable damage.

 

In order for new carpet to be installed properly it requires that a power-stretcher is used to help mechanically stretch in the carpet tight enough to help prevent wrinkles from forming over the typical life-span of the carpet.

All carpet installed over padding must be stretched in tightly from one wall to another using a mechanical tool called a “Power Stretcher” this tool is uses leverage instead of knee force.

 

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Carpet Wrinkles? 10 Common Causes

 

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Cause #1  Improper Carpet Installation

Any new carpet can quickly develop wrinkles if the carpet was not stretched in properly. According to the Carpet and Rug Institute, all carpet must be installed according to certain guidelines as outlined in the CRI 104 and 105 standards. It provide installers, retailers, specification writers and building owners with detailed principles and guidelines for carpet installation. 

 

Most carpet installations are guaranteed for just one-year, sometimes two-years and some carpet retailers may provide a lifetime carpet installation warranty. Lifetime here means the typical life-span of the carpet, not your lifetime.

 

In order for new carpet to be installed properly it requires that a power stretcher is used to help mechanically stretch in the carpet tight enough to help prevent wrinkles from forming over the life-span of the carpet. Some carpet installers never use a power-stretcher and should be avoided. If a power-stretcher was not used, then your carpet has not been installed properly.

 

Some areas to be carpeted are too small to use a power-stretcher, like small closets or small odd shaped steps or other areas. These small areas rarely develop wrinkles so the use of a knee kicker is appropriate.

 

Proper carpet installation also requires that the tack-less strips are installed correctly and do not come loose from the floor. If the nails that fasten your tack-less strips to the wood or concrete floor in your home happen to come loose, it could be the cause of your carpet wrinkles. If this is the case, the carpet needs to be pulled back and the tackless strips either replaced or re-fastened to the floor. Then the carpet can be re-stretched.

 

 

What Is Power-Stretching?

 

carpet power stretcherIf a power-stretcher was not used to install your new carpet, then your carpet was not installed properly. A power-stretcher has a head (with sharp teeth) and a padded foot, and poles to connect them all together. It usually requires assembling several adjustable metal poles to reach from one wall to the opposite wall. 

 

The goal is to use leverage to stretch the carpet and affix it onto the tackless strips installed under the carpet and around the perimeter of the room. One end of the tool has a foot and the other end has a head with a lever to stretch the carpet.

 

When A Wrinkle Shows Up...

If not dealt with quickly it could damage your carpet permanently. Waves and wrinkles can also be a trip hazard especially for those with mobility issues. If your carpet is still covered under warranty then you might be able to contact the carpet retailer where you bought the carpet and have your carpet re-stretched at no cost to you.

 

However, if your new carpet warranty has expired or if your carpet installation warranty has expired, you might have to hire an independent carpet installer to come to your home and re-stretch your carpet for a nominal fee. (sometimes not so nominal)

 

Furniture may need to be moved out of the affected areas and you will be responsible for making arrangements for all that. A simple re-stretch of your carpet may fix your carpet wrinkle problem once and for all and hopefully avert any permanent damage to your carpet. However, your final outcome and future problems may depend on the reason why your carpet developed wrinkles in the first place. 

 

Carpet Re-Stretch and Repair Costs

The head and lever of a carpet power-stretcher.

Carpet Power Stretcher

If you can determine the exact cause of your carpet wrinkles, and your carpet is no longer covered under any warranty, then maybe a simple and inexpensive carpet “re-stretch” is all you need to have done. 

 

This is where you hire an experienced carpet installer to come to your home and basically “re-install” your carpet, to re-stretch and remove any wrinkles. They will use a tool called a “Power Stretcher” to stretch your carpet tightly from wall to wall. 

 

What will it cost to have your carpet re-stretched? If it’s just one or two rooms, then maybe it might cost a hundred or two to hire a carpet installer to re-stretch your carpet. However, if your whole house needs to be re-stretched, then it could easily cost more than it did to have your carpet installed in the first place.

 

Floor Heat VentIf your home happens to have wrinkles near floor heating vents like the one shown here, then it can become even more costly to fix your wrinkle problems. This is because it will require more time and more effort for the installer properly to re-stretch the carpet and might possibly require some additional carpet repair.

 

What is the Root Cause of Your Carpet Wrinkles?

If your carpet is still under warranty, begin your carpet complaint by contacting the retailer where you purchased your new carpet. You want them to come to your home and inspect your carpet. 

 

You need to give them sufficient time to investigate and come to some conclusion as to the probable cause of your carpet problem and hopefully figure out who may be responsible for your carpet wrinkles. 

 

The dealer will also contact the carpet manufacturer, if they feel your problem may be caused by a carpet manufacturing defect. In this case the manufacturer may send a carpet representative or private carpet inspector to inspect your carpet. 

 

If your carpet is still under warranty and the problem is due to a manufacturing defect, then you may receive some form of recourse from the manufacturer. Most new carpet warranty claims are denied when it comes to wrinkles. They usually blame the installer for not stretching the carpet tight enough. This may be true or not true, but as far as they are concerned it voids your warranty either way.

 

What are Tackless Strips?

All carpet installed over padding needs to be stretched in tightly over the top of the tackless strips that have been nailed down all the way around the perimeter of the room. They are placed about a 1/4" - 3/8" away from the wall. This is the optimum position to make trimming and tucking of your carpet. 

 

For carpets with a pile height over 3/4", the tack strips may need to be 1/2" away from the wall. Baseboards may need to be raised and doors may need to be trimmed to prevent damage from rubbing.

 

Tack Strip, Tackless StripTackless Strips are designed to hold the carpet securely from wall to wall. Each tackless strip has sharp nails that point up and toward the wall. They are designed to hold the carpet tight once the carpet has been sufficiently stretched over them with a knee kicker or power-stretcher. 

 

Proper carpet installation requires that the tack-less strips are installed correctly so they do not come loose from the floor. If the nails or glue that fasten your tack-less strips to the wood or concrete floor in your home happen to come loose, then it may be the fault of the installer for improper installation. 

 

If your carpet happens to come loose from the tackless strips or if the tackless strips happen to come loose from the floor, then your carpet will no longer be stretched in tight enough and your carpet can develop wrinkles over time. 

 

If the tack-less strips are compromised due to water damage they must be replaced. It would not be the fault of the installer if the water damage occurred after the carpet was installed. Pet urine is a common cause of tack-less failure.

 

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Carpet Wrinkles Explained 

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