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Monthly Archive September 2014

Carpet Ripples and Carpet Stretching

What Causes Carpet Rippling & Buckling?


Many times carpet ripples will begin to appear in less than a year after they were initially installed. Carpet rippling will sometimes happen in every room in the entire home while in other cases you might only experience wrinkles in carpet in just one area.


To illustrate why carpet buckles, one must understand a little bit more about how carpet’s are installed in the first place.


First, wooden strips known as tackless-strip which have small “nail like” gripping pins protruding up from their surface at a slight outward angle, are nailed down to the sub-flooring around the edges of the room at a distance of roughly a finger’s width off of the baseboard. These pins penetrate through the backing layer of the carpet and are what actually holds the carpeting in place.


Next, the pad is installed. If the sub-floor is wood, the padding is typically affixed to the floor using staples. In the case of concrete such as in a basement, an adhesive of some sort is generally used. Finally, the carpet is attached to the tack-strip along one wall and stretched and hooked on the tack-strip on the opposing wall. This procedure is continued around the entire perimeter of the room.


Traditionally two tools are used for stretching carpeting – knee-kickers and power-stretchers.


The knee-kicker is a devise about 30” in length. It’s head grips the carpet while the opposite end is equipped with a cushion that is designed to be struck with the knee. Rugs cannot be properly stretched with a knee-kicker in a medium or larger sized room. The knee-kicker is primary intended to be used only as a means of positioning the carpet. However, in small carpeted areas such as closets, small hallways, etc. where a power stretcher cannot be used, the knee-kicker is used as a stretching tool.



Contact Custom Group Inc. @ 630-462-9620


The power-stretcher is basically a lever which braces against one wall and extends the length of a room. At the far wall, a rectangular head grips the surface of the carpet and by pressing down on a handle, there is a lever action applied which stretches the carpet with great force.

Carpet Stretcher



TIP: Within the first year after installation, if you start to see signs that your carpet is rippling, call the company you purchased it from immediately. In many cases you can get them to send the installer back to remove the ripples free of charge.


Remember, the squeaky wheel get’s the oil here !! After the first year however, you will likely be out of luck and are better off hiring a company that specializes in correcting the types of problems that installers typically make.


This is when you call Custom Group Inc. @ 630-462-9620


Causes of Rippling: Loose, missing or damaged tackless strip: Many times carpet is rippling up because there is nothing to hold it in place. It is quite common to find loose tackless strip on concrete sub-floors. Securing the strips to the concrete with nails can be difficult depending upon the quality of the concrete and how the concrete was cured.


This can also happen on wood sub-floors if the amount of tension on the tackless strip is to great. In larger rooms and on concrete sub-floors the width of the tackless strip should be doubled to provide a greater surface area to grip on to thus avoiding this problem. Another common scenario that leads to missing tackless strip is when you have a room adjoining a carpet remodeled and a tile or wood floor installed.


It is typical to find missing tackless strip along the adjoining edge because either the installer doesn’t consider it part of the job he is doing to re-secure the carpet or he just simply may not know any better!


Dragging Heavy Furniture: You should make it a point to never drag any heavy furniture across the surface of a carpet. The tackless strip that holds the carpet in place has little nail-like spikes that grip the backing of the carpet.


Don't drag furniture across carpet.


The force excerpted by dragging a heavy object across the surface can easily be enough to rip the carpet right off the tackless strip, damaging the carpet backing or loosening the strip in the process.


Also some carpet fiber types such as olefin have a very low melting point and the heat generated by dragging an object over it can be enough to melt it causing permanent damage in the form of a line across the surface which cannot be removed by carpet cleaning.


Wrong Padding Incorrect pad thickness or density: If the padding is too thick, in some cases it can cause the carpet to disengage from the tackless strip thereby losing tension. A thick, low density pad can cause delamination.



Carpet Delamination: This is the process of latex between the primary and secondary backing layers of a carpet breaking down and allowing the top layer where the carpet fibers are attached to bubble up. Most of the time it is due to a defect in the mixing or application of latex in the manufacturing process.


Example of carpet delamination

Example of carpet delamination


Other causes can be excessively thick, low density padding, heavy equipment being moved frequently over the carpet, improper use of solvent spotters or petroleum bases spills on a carpet such as lamp oil for example. Carpet that remains wet for long periods of time is susceptible to delamination.


Age: Carpet’s can eventually stretch due to normal factors such as the compression of padding in high traffic area’s which allows more flexing of the carpet backing causing it to “Relax” as well as the normal decomposing of the latex in the backing materials with age.


The last type of install we will cover and the least common is known as a “double glue down”. This is where the padding is glued directly to the sub-floor and the carpet is glued to the surface of the padding. No tackless strip is used and the carpet is not stretched in.


Causes of Carpet Rippling in Glue Down Installations


Insufficient Adhesive: Ripples that appear in carpet that has been glued down, are usually do to insufficient adhesive being applied to the sub-floor.


High Alkalinity: On a concrete sub-floor, high alkalinity can cause adhesive failure. An Installer should always test the ph of the concrete before gluing carpet down. A ph range of 7-9 is considered acceptable. Anything higher than a ph of 9 can cause adhesion problems.


Improper use of Solvents: Improper use of solvent spotters or petroleum bases spills on a carpet such as lamp oil can cause bubbles and ripples in carpet due to delamination of the carpet backing and or adhesive failure.


Water: Glued down carpet that is wet for an extended period of time can cause adhesion failure causing carpet ripples.


View our work


Contact Custom Group Inc. @ 630-462-9620 for carpet cleaning, repairs and flooring.


Add luster to your home or office…

Antique type carpets help to add a touch of grandeur to your home or office, speaking greatly about your rich and extravagant tastes. Antique carpets are beautiful home furnishings and solid art investments. They aren’t just decorative items, but pieces of tradition, ethnicity, and true class that dates back thousands of years.


Antique carpets represent enormous range in motifs and color harmonies and you’ll simply lose yourself seeing the diverse combinations of rich antique colors and heavy intricate weaving.


The diverse range of antique carpet pieces that you’ll encounter while shopping for them are mostly Oriental carpets and rugs that portray the mystery and legend of the far off lands of the Orient.


Antique carpets and rugs are imported mostly from China, Persia, India, Afghanistan, Caucasus, and Turkey. Some of the famous weaving areas of such antique carpets include Kashan, Agra, and many other locations.


Antique carpets have a more artistic integrity, as they are exclusively hand woven. They are sold all over the world, with clients more than willing to pay whatever they have to in order to redefine their home and decorate in style.


The first thing to do, is contact one of the several reliable, knowledgeable, and genuine art dealers and galleries who deal in antique carpets and have profound knowledge about the various aspects of a good and genuine antique carpet. They can guide you in selecting the best one per your budget and tastes.


You should visit a lot of dealers and educate yourself about dyes, wools, design quality, and the many styles of weaving as well. Touch the carpet and scrutinize them carefully. Beware of the machine made synthetic carpets that some dealers will tell you are antique carpets.


Below are some tips to help you when buying antique carpet.


1. You have to remain careful and thoughtful while analyzing each piece of antique carpet.


2. You’ll also need to try and understand the age and origin of the carpet that will in turn give you a much better insight about the overall quality of the carpet.


3. You’ll also need to look and see if the edge and borders are there in the antique carpet you intend to buy, as the end and edge borders are sometimes lost or even cut out on purpose. Keep in mind that the borders will determine the overall value of your carpet.


4. Keep an eye out for holes and moth attacks that are both common when dealing with antique carpets. These problems must be attended to before you buy the carpet.


5. You should always deal with dealers who have the prices marked on the carpet. See to it that your dealer sticks to that price.


If your residential or commercial antique, Persian, oriental rug carpeting is in need of cleaning, call us @ 630-462-9620. We can provide services to repair or dye stained and damaged carpet as well.