Carpet Stretching

   Power Stretcher


The “wall to wall power stretcher” is another carpet stretching tool that came about due to changes in the manufacturing process of carpeting. The widths that carpets came in advanced from the size of a stairway runner up to 9 foot, then12 foot, and even 15 feet wide.  These wider carpets brought about the new synthetic fibers and backings.  They were much stiffer and the “knee kicker stretcher”  that my Grandfather used could no longer provide a permanent install. However it still has a legitimate place in a proper install, but not all of the stretching. For example steps and closets can be done with just a knee kicker.

NOTE: Many installers persist in only using a “knee kicker” to fasten all four walls of a room. It can get the carpet flat, but it will not provide a permanent install, no matter what they might promise you.  One of  my specialties if re-doing wrinkled improperly installed carpets.  Berber carper repairs are very tricky to stretch just right. If a power stretcher is used in the original install the chances are the carpet will remain flat for it’s life. Use your intuition when shopping or hiring a service person, and the results will turn out better for you.  Listen carefully and take notes if you have to.

                                                                                Knee Kicker


Having to sew by hand, carpeting the width of a stairway runner, which has  a pattern on it. The strips had to be assembled until it they fit a large living room.  Seventy years ago my Grandfather did just that.  The new wide carpets saved a lot of work time.


Actually my father gradually taught me how to get the “feel” for stretching carpets. Each carpet is different. Not only that, but as the rooms get bigger the stretching requires more pressure. Care must be taken so the the stretching pressure applied is kept even. Too much or too little creates wrinkles instead of removing them.  My dad would call me over to where he was stretching the carpet and pump the crank and then we would switch places and I would try it for a few stretches.

One day dad says to me “Come here, now you do it” This was a bedroom install of a cotton carpet. A type of carpet I have not seen in 20 years. It is soft and very flexible. Well, dad left the room and I was on my own. I was going to show him how great I could do it! I pumped that stretcher crank in each spot three or four times until it was really, really, tight. Boy was I doing a good job. That stuff just kept giving and giving and giving. I got it to have about three inches of excess. When I was about half done with the job dad came in to check on me.  His eyes popped wide open. His words were something like this “Holly Mackerel what are you doing”!  Stop! ,You’re going to rip it in half” I think he actually laughed a sigh of relief. He then patiently explained that each carpet has ‘its own feel. He then showed me the proper pressure and finished the room.   He kept a close eye on me the next time I was given the stretcher to use. We had a good laugh about it later and on many occasions. If you are thinking about carpet repair in Oakland Michigan, call on the experts.


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