I recently retiled my master bathroom. Our bedroom has carpet and I need to stretch the lay the carpet adjacent to the marble transition. For this small space would it be best to use a kicker or carpet stretcher? Please keep in mind that this area is maybe 2x3 ft.

Generally, I'd also like to understand what the differences are and why one would be used over another.

  • The carpet stretchers that I've rented would hardly fit in a 2x3 ft area.
    – Michael Karas
    Commented Nov 11, 2012 at 18:27
  • 1
    Is the carpet already installed and stretched and you just need to reattach a small section, or are you installing all new carpet?
    – Tester101
    Commented Nov 13, 2012 at 18:25

1 Answer 1


In a normal room-sized install, both tools are used. The kicker for the first edge and the stretcher for the rest. Kickers are also used in corners where the stretcher is awkward to use. On stairs, just a kicker is used.

  • A kicker is ideally only used to attach the carpet to the tack strip.

  • A stretcher is used to attach the unanchored sides. You anchor it at an attached side and stretch the carpet to the opposite side.

A pro would use a stretcher as much as possible. A carpet that has been kicked with a reasonable amount of effort will pull up at the edges from any typical abuse.

A small space like 2x3 would have only used a kicker - which is why they invented the mini-stretcher (like this one). They're not cheap for a single job and I haven't seen one for rent, but it's worth a few calls around.

That's not to say you can't just use a kicker, and I probably would if I didn't have access to a mini-stretcher. You can do a 90% job in a small space with a kicker, but you'll definitely work up a sweat.

FYI: For larger jobs, even with maximum effort, the smaller head of the kicker will lead towards ripping the carpet if you try to get the same amount of stretch as the power stretcher will give you with no effort.

  • Because it was such a small space, I just used a kicker. I really appreciate all of the considerations you included in your answer and will continue to come back as I continue to work on the flooring in my home.
    – rynmrtn
    Commented Dec 10, 2012 at 2:07

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