Articles & Advice

Carpet Repair

by Marcus Pickett

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Carpet remains the most common floor covering. It's also one of the hardest to maintain. It can be easily stained. Dirt and grime easily get trapped in the fibers. Synthetic fibers can flash burn. Natural fibers are susceptible to breakage. Water, a common foe of many floor coverings, can cause all types of damage. All due care and preventative steps should be taken to protect your carpet but, even the most conscientious homeowner can experience damage that requires some form of carpet repair.

Common Carpet Repairs

Carpet repair is frequently a lost cause, but some forms of carpet damage can be fixed relatively easy. In some cases, your carpet isn't damaged at all, just reacting to general home conditions. Here's a list of common problems homeowners experience with their carpet.

Stains—Remove as much solid and semi-solid material as you can. Use paper towels to extract as much liquid as possible. Always blot, never scrub. Using a clean, dry cloth you can try rubbing alcohol or non-lanolin, non bleach dishwashing detergent, or carpet spot remover.

Burns—Not much can be done for carpet burns. If the burn is mild you may be able to trim the blackened fibers and achieve a manageable result. If too much area is burned or the burn has gone all the way down the fiber, you're pretty much stuck cutting out the burned carpet and replacing it with a patch.

Fuzzing and Shedding—Similar in effect, shedding refers to the natural process of loose fibers inherent to new carpet. Fuzzing refers to dirt and grit cutting your fiber filaments. If this is occurring, you probably need to start vacuuming more frequently. Fuzzing and shedding are more common to natural carpet fibers than synthetics.

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Rippling—This is usually caused by high humidity content. The problem may go away on its own. If it doesn't, try a dehumidifier or you may need to have your carpet re-stretched.

Flooding—This often, but not always, requires replacing the carpet. If the water is clean and the carpet can be completely dried in 12 hours, your carpet may be fine. Immediately call a service professional. To protect the latex backing keep foot traffic to a minimum. Remove any furnishings that may bleed and cause staining. Do whatever you can to extract the water and begin the drying process.

Static Electricity
Many factors contribute to your carpet's electrical charge. Newer insulation and heating combined with the additional electrical source of computers and computer accessories is making the shock from static electricity a much more common problem in the home. By far the biggest variable is moisture, both in the carpet and in the air. A cheap air humidifier can effectively relieve this problem. Carpet can also be treated with an anti-static agent, although you'll need to be careful that this product doesn't grab and hold dirt. You will also need to apply this treatment once or twice a year depending on foot traffic and the severity of your static electricity environment. You should only consider getting shocked an issue if it happens on a regular basis. A particular pair of shoes and favorable conditions can shock you every once in a while. This doesn't necessarily mean your carpet or air needs to be treated.

Carpet Tile
If you haven't already installed your carpet and are thinking about future repair problems, you should consider carpet tile. Carpet tiles create interesting patterns and allow for the easiest carpet repair options when something happens to a localized area of your carpet. Simply replace the tile and you're all set. Even if you're not using tiles, keeping your extra carpet will give you additional options when your carpet can't be repaired, but you don't want to replace the entire carpet. It can be difficult to nearly impossible to find new carpet patches that are an exact match for your existing carpet.

Marcus Pickett is a professional freelance writer for the home remodeling industry. He has published more than 600 articles on both regional and national topics within the home improvement industry.