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First off, some pictures of the carpet I am looking to re-stretch:

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I recently finished remodeling a bathroom, and in the process moved a wall, so in the adjacent room we pulled up the carpet along that one wall. Now that we're done, I need to re-stretch and attach the carpet.

I had a quote from a company to re-stretch the carpet but I am also curious what sort of time/frustration it might take for me to try it myself. I'm fairly handy. I can get some tools from Harbor Freight (I know, I know) for fairly cheap, but wondering if this is a job that's just worth having a professional do. If I do it myself, I might save some money but if it's going to take me several hours, it may not be worth it. So, my questions are:

  • Can this be done using only a knee kicker, or would I need a stretcher too?
  • Is it possible to get the carpet taut without weird loose spots given that it's only one wall
  • Any advice on tooling, tack strips, etc. would be appreciated

Looking for any advice, experiences, anything. I have a tentative appointment for the carpet company to come tomorrow afternoon so hopefully can cancel and save some money. Thanks!

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    The reasonable range for project cost is best determined by competing quotes from 2 or 3 contractors, since price will vary by location. – Doresoom Sep 29 '14 at 21:44
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No that quote is too high, especially the 300 side of the quote. You are paying a company, not the installer who gets less than half of that. You should seek out an installer and be able to get that done for ~100, which is reasonable.


Doing the job yourself will be a little more difficult than you might want to get involved in.

First you need to get the knee kicker, then tack strip, some reinforcement nails, something for the room transition (metal, wood, etc.).

Second you are dealing with Berber carpet, which will be difficult to stretch and cut. The berber carpet is stiffer than regular cut pile carpet, so any bubbles/wrinkles will be harder to kick out. The continuous fiber strand will be prone to snagging if not fully cut, pulling across the room and leaving a gap. Plus the chance of leaving cut marks on newly finished baseboards.

But this can be done if competent enough.


When cutting the tack strip, you can use tin snips. It won't damage them for the few cuts you will make. Lay the tack strip against the wall with a distance of 1/2" (approximately the width of your finger). Make sure the tacks are leaning towards the wall, so as to catch the backing of the carpet when stretched over it. The gap you left is where the carpet will be tuck into when trimmed.

If nailing into concrete, make sure you use smooth deliberate hammer strokes so as not to have nail deflection. If nailing into anything harder than concrete, use a 5/16" masonary drill bit and use 3/4"stub nails to secure the tack strip down. Use reinforcement nails where ever necessary.

Before laying the carpet down, make sure the padding is up to but not on the tack strip. Trim if necessary.

When stretching the carpet with the knee kicker, try not to drag your knee or you'll end up with a really sore knee/carpet burn. After each knee kick you will rub/press the carpet onto the tack strip, using a hammer that is clean, to secure it. Keeping the knee kicker perpendicular to the wall, when kicking.

For trimming the carpet, you will want to have a very sharp knife and take your time. For this small of a job you can use a utility knife. Fold the carpet back from the wall without pulling the carpet off the tack strip. Without pressing down too hard on your knife, make a cut a 1/2“ from the fold along the wall. If you have trouble cutting the Berber strands, you can cut them with a scissor. When done with a section, tuck it in with a spackling/paint tool (a 3-n-1 will work as well).

Just take your time if you do this on your own.

  • Thanks for the reply! I saw some of your edits after I completed the job, but overall your advice is pretty much what I did. It took a couple of hours, and the knee kicker was sufficient. I missed the advice about using a hammer to press the carpet onto the tack strip (was using my thumbs and at times, a stiff putty knife which I also used to press the carpet into the gap.) Overall, the job was easier than expected, though a lot of work. The result feels about as taut as carpet anywhere else in the house. Spent 1/3 the minimum quote I received for the job. – trnelson Sep 30 '14 at 13:15
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    @trnelson glad you completed the carpet – HasH_BrowN Oct 1 '14 at 14:32
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I consider myself more than handy and I would still hire carpet guys for a new instillation (if for some reason I wanted installed carpet). You ever use one of those knee things? pfft. You are however, looking at a carpet repair. So long as you don't over cut the carpet, you can give it a go. Call guys in if you have unsatisfactory results. Consider dong your best in the meantime before you have it re-done in hardwood. Or laminate snap-locking flooring, it's rather DiY friendly. HasH_BrowN's answer is spot on.

  • Awesome, thanks for the reply. I ended up doing the job last night and it came out great. Knee kicker was perfect for the job, but a lot of work and a sore knee this morning. And haha about the hardwood--probably won't go that route, but I have laid down engineered wood and agreed, it's actually quite fun and easy. – trnelson Sep 30 '14 at 13:18

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