The Ultimate Guide on How to Stretch Carpet Yourself

After several years of use and foot traffic, your carpet may need to be stretched, especially if there are any lumps, wrinkles, or damaged areas. If you’re wondering how to stretch carpet yourself, this guide will take you through the process, before offering additional tips and recommendations.

Why Would You Want to Stretch Carpet?

Although your carpet will remain in good shape when cleaned properly on a regular basis, carpet can become damaged and wrinkled over time.

tools for stretching carpet

How to Stretch carpet flooring

Depending on when and how your carpet was installed, stretching your carpet may be required due to:

  • Excessive wear – Typically as a result of heavy foot traffic across time, even carpet that is perfectly installed will eventually become loose due to excessive wear.
  • Delamination – If latex and/or an adhesive was initially used in the carpet backing and deteriorates, buckling can occur.
  • The sliding of heavy furniture – Since carpeting is made from layers of fabric, sliding furniture across the surface can cause a rippling effect.

Although these common causes will have a negative impact on the look and longevity of your carpet, stretching is an effective solution.

Not only will this process expand your carpet’s lifespan, but it will also increase the safety of your home in regards to tripping hazards. Long-term, you will also save money, as you will not need to invest a complete carpet replacement.

What Tools Are Required When Stretching Carpet?

If you’re still wondering how to re-stretch your carpet, rest easy knowing that the right tools will do most of the work. In order to ensure a successful and efficient stretching experience, be sure to source the following:

tools for stretching carpet

Carpet stretching tools which are required

  • Work gloves
  • A power stretcher
  • Knee kicker
  • Pliers
  • Flathead screwdriver and/or pry bar
  • Utility knife/carpet cutter
  • Staple gun

How to Stretch Carpet: The Process

At this point, you may be wondering, how tight should carpet be stretched – or how do you get wrinkles out of the carpet?

If so, this step-by-step process can help you achieve your carpet stretching goals, ensuring that your carpet looks great for years to come.

Step one: Clear and clean

The first thing you’ll need to do is remove any furniture from the room. If there are built-in pieces, such as a cabinet, you can work around it. Do make your workspace cleaner and healthier, vacuum thoroughly to remove any dirt or dust.

Step two: Free the corner and begin to tug

To protect your hands, put on a pair of work gloves. Walk to the corner of your carpet and begin to free it from the initial tack strip. You’ll need your pliers for this step. Although you’ll need to use slight force, be fairly gentle so that you do not fray any fibers.

Once you have lifted the carpet enough to grab it, begin to tug it away from the wall, working your way down. The goal here is to lift the carpet from three sides of the room, leaving the last side in-place. This forth side will act as the anchor.

Using your pliers once again, you’ll need to start removing any staples or tacks that secure the carpet to the padding. You’ll require a flathead screwdriver for this step. However, a pry bar may be necessary if they are particularly stubborn. As long as the tack strips are in good condition, leave them be.

Step three: Use a power stretcher

One of the more common questions we receive is how to stretch carpet with a power stretcher? Here is a power stretcher carpet stretching diagram for your reference.

power stretcher

This is an easy step that makes the entire process much more effective and efficient. To begin, simply place the power stretcher on the side of the room where the carpet is still attached. You’ll want to position it against the baseboard or even in front of a piece of 2×4, which is then placed against the wall. You’ll want to lay the power stretcher with the tooth-side down, extending the length of the shaft so that it’s approximately 6 inches from the wall. Push on the lever and the teeth will become embedded in the carpet. As you apply pressure, the carpet…

Please note: If you feel as though you need to use too much force, you could overstretch the carpet and cause damage. In comparison, if it seems too easy, you may not be stretching the carpet enough in order to fully remove any bumps, ridges, or wrinkles.

Step four: Trim the excess

Before you reattach the carpet, you’ll want to cut away any excess carpeting material. To do so, simply use a sharp utility knife, ensuring that you have enough to tuck under the baseboard. You can also use a carpet cutter during this step, which will require you to make a slit in order to place the cutter inside.

trim excess carpet

Step five: If needed, use a knee knicker

If you’re working in small or more awkward spaces (such as the areas around built-in features), a knee knicker is your best bet. Although the tool itself operates differently than the power stretcher, they share a similar concept in terms of positioning and stretching.

Step six: Secure the carpet once again

In terms of how to reattach carpet, this process is very simple. To reattach, press the carpet onto the tack strips before stapling the carpet to the padding positioned against the wall.

Why Hiring a Professional Can Be Helpful

Although you can certainly stretch carpeting yourself, it does involve a fair amount of time and effort. This process also requires specific tools that you may not want to invest in. By hiring a professional, you can ensure that your carpet will not sustain any more damage.


If stretching your carpet is no longer a viable option, then contact us for new carpeting and we can install it too. You can benefit from a free in-home estimate today!