When To Stretch?

By Ron Osborne


I often get asked when is the best time to have my carpet stretched, should it be done before or after you clean it? There is no right or wrong answer to this question, but there are a few things to consider before having it done.

The signs that your carpet needs stretching are once you see buckling or waves starting to form. These are caused from the original installation of the carpet not being properly stretched or after time your carpet will loosen from normal wear and tear. Having too thick of a pad installed can also contribute to the problem.




Example of a loose carpet


To properly stretch a carpet all the furnishing will need to be removed from the room. So you will need to figure out where you can move them to while having the stretching done. Make sure to remove your breakable and personal items from tables and cabinets before letting the company you hire to do the stretching starts moving the furniture.

A power stretcher is the only way to properly stretch a carpet. It consists of a grabber head, an extension pole, and a foot plate. This allows stretching of the carpet from one wall to the other, getting a stretch on the whole carpet. A knee kicker does not stretch a carpet, but is the tool that most people know as a carpet installation tool. If the person you hire to do the stretching doesn’t have a power stretcher, find someone who does.




                           Example of a power stretcher                                                                                                              Knee Kicker


It is a common belief that cleaning a carpet can loosen it, which is simply not true. All carpet cleaning processes use water in one way or another and when carpet gets wet it can swell. It’s the swelling you see that will make the lumps and bumps get bigger, but once the carpet is dry the lumps and bumps go back to how they were before it was cleaned. Also if lumps and bumps form after you have had the carpet cleaned, that is a sign that the carpet was loose and needed to be stretched, not that the cleaning stretched the carpet.

The main thing to consider about whether to stretch your carpet before or after it is cleaned is that once you clean it you should wait at least 5-7 days before having it stretched. Carpet can be weakened by moisture and since all methods of cleaning carpet use water, it is recommended to make sure it has totally dried before stretching.

So whether you have the carpet cleaned before or after having it stretched is really a choice of what is most convenient for you. Just remember to give it a few days to totally dry before stretching if you clean it first. Keeping your carpet clean and properly stretched will add years of life to your carpet investment.

Check out our web site www.cleanorfree.com for cleaning tips and proper spot removal. Osborne’s Cleaning & Restoration serves the Lewiston, Clarkston, Moscow, and Pullman areas. Contact us for all your floor covering maintenance needs. 208-743-9664