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How to Repair Damaged Carpet

Somebody spilled a glass of wine, dropped a cigarette or your new puppy had an "accident". Whatever caused it you now have big mark in your carpet and it's ugly. Don't despair, here's a good thought--it's quite possible you won't have to live with the ugly blotch or pay thousands of dollars to replace your carpet, in many cases you can actually patch or repair that damaged carpet.

Minor damage

If your carpet damage is relatively minor you can probably repair it by giving the carpet pile a trim or a 'hair transplant'.

Try using your manicure scissors to simply trim off the damaged ends. Obviously, this only works on very minor damage make sure you don't cut too much off the top or your carpet will go from having a stain to having a hole.

Alternatively, you may be able to 'borrow' some carpet fibers. Start by trimming the damaged fibers all the way down to the carpet backing.

Cut replacement fibers from an out of the way area (back of a closet, under a large piece of furniture) or even better, a remnant left over form the original installation (you did keep those remnants didn't you?).

Apply a small dab of clear adhesive to the base of the replacement fibers then attach them to the carpet backing.

Work slowly, you don't want to get any glue on the surrounding carpet fibers or you'll have an even bigger mess than you started with.

More major damage, cut a replacement piece

Larger stains or more major damage probably means you'll need to replace a piece of your carpet. Experts say shapes like circles and triangles are less likely to catch the eye than squares and rectangle, so you've got a couple of options on how to cut your replacement carpet.

Using the lid of a can as a template, place it so it covers the stain, and then nail it to the floor so it can't move. Using your utility knife cut all around the edge of the lid. Make sure you cut through the carpet and underlay (you'll want to keep the underlay to put back into the hole).

Nail the same lid over your remnant and cut your replacement piece.

Alternatively, place your remnant piece directly over the stain, making sure the entire stain is covered.

Now, use your utility knife to cut a triangle (larger than the stain). With this method, you're cutting right through the two pieces of carpet and the underlay. The advantage of cutting your carpet this way, is the piece you remove and the piece you are cutting to replace it are exactly the same size and shape.

Fastening your replacement piece

Fasten one side of the tape down in the hole, positioning it up to edge of the hole.

Peel the top layer off the tape and press the patch firmly into the hole.

Apply the adhesive around the bottom edge of your patch and press it well down into the hole. Make sure you don't get any adhesive onto the carpet fibers around the hole or you'll end up with a sticky mess.

Brush the carpet fibers and the fibers of the patch together with your hand to get rid of the visible edge of the patch.

Put some weight on the patched area (some books will do nicely) and leave it for 24 hours until the adhesive has dried thoroughly.

Things You Will Need

  • Sharp utility knife
  • Sharp scissors (like manicure scissors)
  • Clear waterproof adhesive or clear latex caulk
  • Two-sided carpet tape
  • Clear adhesive

Tips

  • If you have a large stain on your carpet, call your home insurance company. In some cases carpets are covered by your home owner's policy and you might be able to get it replaced under your policy.
  • The shorter the pile of your carpet, the harder it will be to make your patch invisible. Patches work best in longer pile carpets, but in lots of cases, any patch is better looking than a large stain.

Warnings

  • All carpet has a grain or texture (brush it one way the fibers seem to stand up and brush it the other and the fibers seem to lie down). When cutting your patch, make sure the grain of the replacement piece is running the same way as the grain of the damaged piece.
  • Two-sided carpet tape is easier to work with than clear adhesive, but over time it will dry out and it won't stand up well to the chemicals used for cleaning carpets.

About the Author

I learned home repair and maintenance hands on. Over the past 30 years I've built sheds, decks, fences and gates and planted numerous trees and shrubs. Inside I've done all the common jobs like repairing and installing toilets, plumbing and light fixtures plus I've transformed three basements from bare concrete floors and walls into warm , bright family rooms. I write on home maintenance and repair for DoItYourself.com and answer maintenance and repair questions online at MyHomeImprovement.com.