A patch is one of the most common types of repairs that we do. We use a carpet patch to solve several types of carpet problems where small to mid-sized portions of wall-to-wall carpet have been damaged. People usually call us to patch their carpet when other methods to restore their carpet won’t work.
Common causes of carpet damage that require this type of carpet repair include carpet burns, carpet stains, carpet tears, carpet holes, pet damage (Bad Kitty!), and remodeling as well as worn traffic paths.
We remove the damaged area, and replace it with an identical piece of carpet. When done correctly, it’s normally, but not always invisible to the eye. Depending on the type of carpet you may be able to see the patch, but it will almost always look far better than what we started with.
Reasons why your carpet patch may not look as good as you’d like
* The patch is a different color due to the original carpet fading.
* The patch is new and the area where it’s going is old and worn.
* The patch has a gap or overlap in the seam.
* The carpet is running the wrong direction.
Start with the essentials: carpet anatomy
The greater the damage, the more complicated the repair, so it helps to understand what exactly your carpet is made of so you can assess how far the damage has gone.
Every carpet has several layers below what we can see with the eye. That top layer, which comes in various colors, weaves, heights, materials, and densities, (and which is the fun part to pick out when you go carpet shopping) is called the pile. The pile is made from many different materials: nylon is the most common encountered in both commercial and residential carpet repair, because it is relatively stain- and heat-resistant and doesn’t crush easily.
Most people are familiar with the fact that padding lies below the carpet, which helps give it its comfortable feel when you walk on it. This is the bottom layer. Common types of padding include foam (cheap), rebond, frothed foam, slab rubber, waffle rubber, fiber (such as jute, recycled textiles, synthetic fibers, etc.), and in some cases special Berber padding.
Between the pile and the padding is the backing, which is made of two layers and holds the fibers together so the carpet doesn’t fall apart. When the carpet is manufactured, needles are used to push the fiber through the primary backing. It’s then sealed against the secondary backing with very strong adhesive to keep everything in place.
Once you’re familiar with how your carpet is constructed, it’s easier to envision how patching works, even if you’ve never done it before. These are the basics of your carpet’s anatomy, and should help you in assessing how far down the damage has gone, which is an important step in carpet repair and carpet patching.
#1 Carpet Patching Requirement: Carpet Patches!
Just as important as removing the damaged carpet is replacing it with well-matched good carpet. There’s a few different ways to find a fresh carpet patch:
· In ideal situations, the new carpet patches come from spare scraps left over from the original installation. Always save the scraps!
· If you don’t have any leftover carpet from the installation we may be able to steal some carpet from a closet, beneath a radiator or from under a piece of furniture that you never move. (Now you’ll never move it for sure.)
· If your carpet is a relatively common style, a nearby retailer may have a perfect or near-perfect match that you can purchase. (The chances of finding a perfect match are somewhere between slim and none.)
· If you need to patch a significant area that matches the rest of the house (such as several steps in a stairway or a hallway, one great carpet patching alternative is to re-appropriate matching carpet from another room, such as a bedroom. Re-carpeting just that one bedroom means the hallway/stairway still matches the rest of the house, and costs a LOT less money than replacing the carpet for whole common area.
Basic Steps of Carpet Patching for the novice.
1. Removing the damaged carpet: Start by using a straight edge and a row finder. An ice pick or a Phillips screwdriver can be used instead of a row finder. Place the straight edge on the carpet with the groove side down. Use the row finder to separate the nap. Do this by dragging the point of the row finder across the carpet up and down and against the edge of the straight edge.
2. Use a slotted blade knife with a fresh blade. You can use a slotted blade knife (butted up against the straight edge to cut through the carpet without cutting through too much of the nap if you used the row finder properly. The more nap you cut off, the worse the carpet patch will look.
3. Choose a scrap of carpet that’s leftover from the original installation for the carpet patch. If you don’t have any leftover scraps of carpet then you’ll need to remove a piece from a closet or from under a piece of furniture. Some people try to find a piece of matching carpet at a carpet store but it’s nearly impossible. On occasion we will have the customer buy some carpet from a carpet store that is very close to matching. We then take carpet from a closet to do the patch with and use the new carpet in the closet.
4. Determine the direction of the nap. Carpet lays down more when you brush your hand in one direction than in other directions. It’s incredibly important for proper carpet patching that all the carpet runs the same direction. Sometimes it’s really hard to tell which way the carpet nap runs. All I can say is to keep brushing your hand in different directions until you really get to know the carpet. If you keep at it, you’ll figure it out.
5. Turn the carpet patch over and use the straight edge to cut a perfect patch from the back. If you are untrained, chances are that you won’t be able to cut a perfect patch. (Tip, use a fresh blade in the slotted blade carpet knife)
6. Now that the carpet patch is cut exactly perfect without any gaps or overlaps at the seams it’s time to seal the edges. You can seal the edges with latex or with a glue gun. Just use the slightest amount of glue along both edges so that there won’t be fraying in the future. Not everyone seals the edges but it is highly recommended.
7. The carpet patch is cut to perfection, the edges are sealed and now you’re ready to adhere the carpet patch to the rest of the carpet. The way we do it is to use a special carpet seam tape with an iron or with a hot glue gun. For the beginner I’d recommend using the glue gun.
Cut the seam tape to the size of the carpet patch. Line up the carpet seam tape so that half of it is under the existing carpet and the other half of it will be under the patch.
Use the glue gun to apply a generous amount of hot glue under the seam of the carpet. Slowly work your way all the way around the carpet until you have glued the carpet patch into place. (hint, have a glass of water right next to you for when you get molten hot glue on your fingers. A quick dip will cool it off right away and prevent you from experiencing nearly as much pain.)
When gluing the carpet patch down using the glue gun, pay special attention to the backing. You want to glue the backing down so that it’s butted up just right. Also be especially careful to avoid getting the nap of the carpet pushed down into the hot glue. It’s a mess when that happens and there’s no recovery.
As you glue the carpet together, push the carpet backing down into the hot glue using a carpet tractor. It’s a good idea to put a flat weight on top of the seam for a few minutes as you work your way around.
If you’re a novice, I wouldn’t recommend that you try to use the carpet seam iron to patch a carpet. It takes a skill that doesn’t come on the first try. You can get a better idea by watching the free videos that you can find on the main website.