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What Causes Carpet Wrinkles?

©2022 Alan Fletcher - Carpet Expert


Carpet Wrinkles - Page 1   Page 2     Page 3     Page 4     Page 5


Do You Have Carpet Buckles, Waves, Ripples or Wrinkles in your Carpet? 

What is the cause? How do you fix it? Who or What might be responsible for causing your problem? Here are my Top 10 causes for carpet wrinkles and how to deal with the problem. If you act fast, you might be able to have your carpet problem fixed at no cost to you!


What is a Carpet Wrinkle?

What is a carpet wrinkle?Carpet wrinkles are the result of your carpet not being stretched in tight enough to prevent wrinkles from forming over time. Basically your carpet has no stretch left in it and it must be re-stretched.


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.



carpet power stretcherA power-stretcher is operated while standing up, and usually requires assembling several adjustable metal poles to reach from one wall to the opposite wall. 


The goal is to use leverage to stretch-in the carpet and affix it onto the tackless strips. One end of the tool has a foot and the other end has a head with a lever to stretch the carpet.



A Knee-kicker is a hand-held tool used while the installer is down on his knees. He uses one knee to physically "kick" or move the carpet into place. It is certainly not as effective as a power-stretcher.

Carpet Knee-Kicker

Here is a photo of a knee kicker in use.


When a wrinkle develops on your carpet it should be major cause for alarm. If not dealt with quickly it could end up ruining your carpet permanently. 


If your carpet is still covered under warranty then you might be able to contact the carpet retailer where you bought the carpet and hopefully 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. 


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 may depend on the reason why your carpet developed wrinkles in the first place. In the next five pages I will provide you with the ten most common reasons why carpets develop wrinkles and what you can do about it.



Typical Carpet Re-stretch and Repair Costs


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. 


Carpet Power Stretcher They will use a tool called a “Power Stretcher” to stretch your carpet tightly from wall to wall. Here is a photo of the head of a power stretcher. 


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.



Call a local carpet installer and ask for a free estimate. Get several estimates if you can and be sure to get local references. Learn more about How to Verify a Contractor's License


If 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 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 seaming.



Who or What May be the 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 it is determined that your carpet is still under warranty and it is a manufacturing defect, then you may receive some form of recourse. 


If your new carpet warranty has expired or they deem your problem is a result of carpet abuse or a bad installation, or some other issue not covered under their warranty limits, then your claim will be denied. 


Most new carpet warranty claims are denied when it comes to wrinkles. They usually blame the cause for the carpet wrinkles on the installer not installing the carpet properly.



Why Do Carpets Wrinkle - Reason #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 which 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 typical life-span of the carpet. If a power-stretcher is not used, then the carpet has not been installed properly.


Some carpet installers do not use a power-stretcher and these installers should be avoided. Some areas to be carpeted are too small to use a power-stretcher, like small closets or small odd shaped steps or other areas, however these small areas rarely develop wrinkles. In these situations the use of a knee kicker is suitable. See photos above.


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, then it may be the fault of the installer.



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.

Tackless Strips are designed to hold the carpet securely. Each tackless strip has many sharp nails that point upward and toward the wall and hold the carpet tight once the carpet has been physically stretched over them with a knee kicker or power-stretcher.

Carpet Tackless Strip

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.








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