Using A Carpet Stretcher: 3 Frequent Questions Answered

Posted on: 7 September 2016

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Installing wall to wall carpeting doesn't take a rocket scientist, yet it's also not quite as simple as many people assume. Unless you're armed with the right tools--and the right knowledge--you may find yourself dealing with a giant headache. If you are considering installing new carpet in your home, read on. This article will help to prepare you by answering three questions about one of the most important tools you'll need--a carpet stretcher.

Why is it so important to use a carpet stretcher?

Also commonly referred to as power stretchers, carpet stretchers are a specialized type of hand tool. They are used to help ensure that wall to wall carpeting sits as taut and flat against the floor as possible. Don't be fooled into thinking that you can adequately stretch your carpet by hand--it's simply not possible to stretch it tight enough that way. Those who eschew carpet stretchers often end up with bunching, folds, and wrinkles in their carpet.

How do carpet stretchers work?

To effectively do its job, a carpet stretcher must be long enough to span the width of the room in which carpet is being installed. At one end of the stretcher is a rubber foot. This is placed against one wall, where it acts as an anchor. At the opposite end is a rectangular head studded with sharp metal teeth. These provide the necessary "bite" in order to properly stretch the carpet.

Between the head and the foot are a series of interlocking metal pipes. These can be extended or shortened as needed to reach across a given room. With the foot braced against the back wall, the head is pressed into the carpet. Then a lever attached to the head is depressed. This acts to push the head forward, thus generating the force necessary to stretch the carpet as taut as possible and hook it on the tack strip running along the base of the wall.

How do carpet stretchers differ from knee kickers?

To put it simply, a knee kicker is like a carpet stretcher's little brother. Like a carpet stretcher, it has a "toothed" metal head that allows it to grip the carpet. Unlike a carpet stretcher, however, a knee kicker does not extend all the way to the back wall. Rather its foot consists of a thick pad. This provides a cushioned surface against which the user's knee is "kicked," thus pushing the carpet taut.

Though useful for installing carpet in tight areas such as hallways and closets, knee kickers are simply not capable of generating an appropriate amount of force for stretching carpet in full-sized rooms.

For more information, contact Bob Arkus Custom Upholstery Inc or a similar company.