Stretching vs. Replacing Carpet: Which Is Cheaper?

If you’ve had your carpet for a while, you may notice that it no longer looks as good as new. You can fix this problem by either stretching it or replacing it entirely. However, which solution is cheaper?

Carpet stretching involves straightening any ripples or bumps on the carpet and resecuring the edges appropriately. On the other hand, carpet replacement requires removing existing carpeting and installing a new carpet altogether. Carpet stretching is often cheaper.

In this article, we’ll examine carpet stretching and replacement and discuss the advantages of each option. I’ll also advise you on other essential considerations you should make before deciding between the two.

Stretching vs. Replacing Carpet: Which Is Cheaper?

What Is Carpet Stretching?

Carpet stretching, as previously mentioned, is straightening out uneven parts of the carpet (bubbles, bumps, ripples, etc.) and tightly resecuring its edges. Carpets can become worn down over time due to factors such as:

  • Moving furniture over the carpet
  • Human traffic
  • Poor carpet installation (because of using wrong procedures or improper tools)
  • Poor quality of padding material used on the carpet

Apart from ruining the aesthetic by making the carpet look unkempt, a rippled carpet also poses the following safety concerns:

  • The unevenness creates a tripping hazard, which can result in serious injuries.
  • The creases may also encourage dust accumulation, triggering allergies due to reduced air quality.

Depending on the quality of installation done and the type of activity your carpet is exposed to, it may take you anywhere from a few months to years before you need carpet stretching. 

Nonetheless, when you notice signs that your carpet is going slack, it would be best to contact a carpet stretching service because the loosening will likely worsen with time and continued use.

So, what does carpet stretching entail?

The Process of Carpet Stretching

If you’re considering doing your own carpet stretching, here is a step-by-step breakdown of the process of stretching a carpet:

1. Clear All Furniture on the Carpet

Carefully remove all furniture on the carpet. Improperly moving furniture can damage your carpet, so consider the following helpful tips:

  • Disassemble bulky furniture where possible to make it easier to move.
  • Lift and carry the furniture, rather than dragging it across the carpet.
  • Before proceeding, make the furniture as light as possible by emptying it of any books, decor items, etc.

2. Vacuum and Shampoo the Carpet

Clean the carpet by thoroughly vacuuming and shampooing. Here are some valuable suggestions from Readers Digest on how to clean your carpet. 

You need to set aside an entire day for this step so that the carpet can dry adequately before moving forward with the stretching process.

3. Peel Back the Carpet (Only Two Sides at a Time)

Use pliers to remove any staples securing the carpet edges, then carefully peel the carpet back to loosen it from the tags. Remove two sides first because you’ll need the remaining sides to provide tension when stretching the carpet. 

Be careful not to pull too hard, which may overstretch and destroy the carpet fibers.

Use this chance to clean out dirt and debris that may have accumulated underneath the carpet.

4. Replace the Old Tacks and Tack Strips

Using a pry bar or hammer claw, remove the old tacks and tack strips and install a new set. Tacks should be placed ¼ of an inch (6.3 millimeters) apart on the tack strip. 

5. Stretch Out the Carpet Using a Power Stretcher and Secure It With a Knee Kicker

Use a power stretcher to stretch out the carpet, and secure it using a knee kicker. Apply moderate force because too much tension may ruin your carpet. On the contrary, not stretching it tight enough will leave you with a loose carpet, so you need to use just enough force.

The knee kicker will also help you to stretch the carpet around tight corners and smaller spaces. 

You need to repeat this process for the other two sides as well.

Here’s a video from Floors by Southern boys that demonstrates what a power stretcher and a knee kicker do:


6. Trim off the Excess Carpet From the Edges

After sufficiently stretching out your carpet, trim off the excess carpet along the edges. Doing this will give the carpet a clean, finished look. 

I recommend getting a professional carpet technician to conduct the cleaning and carpet stretching processes, especially if you don’t have adequate experience using the required tools. It’ll save you time and energy and ensure that the job is done well.

Benefits of Carpet Stretching

Stretching your carpet has a number of benefits, such as:

  • Giving the carpet a neat, refreshed look.
  • Eliminating tripping hazards associated with carpet ripples and folds.
  • Potentially extending your carpet’s life since folds make the carpet more likely to rip and accumulate dirt which deteriorates the carpet faster.
  • Allowing for more efficient cleaning of the carpet.
  • It’s cheaper than carpet replacement, which may not be necessary anyway unless the carpet is significantly damaged.
  • It may increase the value of your home or office.

What Is Carpet Replacement?

Carpet replacement is removing used carpeting and putting in a new one. Carpet replacement also involves stretching. However, the difference is that when replacing a carpet, you’ll need to remove the old carpet altogether and put in a different one.

There are several reasons why you would need to do a carpet replacement, including:

  • Significant wear and tear to the carpet, most often brought about by aging
  • Health concerns such as mold, which may result in allergic reactions and respiratory issues
  • Needing to blend the carpeting with new furniture, home decor, etc.
  • Stubborn stains and smells that don’t come out with shampooing and vacuuming
  • Matted or bald parts, especially in areas of high traffic

Carpet cleaning and stretching are often used as a solution for minor carpet problems, such as when the carpet loosens up or if there are removable stains or smells on the carpet. However, in the issues listed above, carpet replacement may be inevitable.

Considerations for Carpet Replacement

When replacing a carpet, you need to consider the following factors:

Preparing for Carpet Replacement

Replacing a carpet involves removing the old carpeting, which can be pretty challenging. You need some elbow grease tools such as a pry or hammer claw to uninstall carpeting successfully. Another crucial step as you prepare for carpet installation is cleaning the floor and clearing any furniture in the room.

Buying a Suitable Carpet

When buying a replacement carpet, it would be best to research products before making a purchase. Doing this will help you determine the most suitable carpet for your household. Consider factors such as:

  • Cost
  • Child and pet friendliness
  • Quality and durability
  • Maintenance requirements and cost
  • Compatibility with your floor type
  • Aesthetic appeal and ability to blend in with furniture and home decor

Procuring Carpet Installation Services vs. Doing It Yourself

Installing carpeting is not as simple as spreading it out on the floor. If you don’t have previous experience, I suggest hiring an expert because of the technicalities involved. Nonetheless, if you research adequately, you could save considerable money by learning how to do it yourself.

Benefits of Carpet Replacement

The following benefits should motivate you to get a carpet replacement:

  • Improved indoor air quality since carpets trap dust and other allergens present in the air
  • Enhances the interior decor and gives your home a revamped look
  • Increases the value of your home (old carpeting is not attractive to prospective buyers)
  • New carpet is often softer and cozier (old carpet may have lost this due to matting)
  • Eliminates unpleasant and musty odors that may have been prevalent with the old carpeting
  • New carpeting is easier to maintain, more so when cleaning

Carpet Stretching vs. Replacement: Which Is Cheaper?

Carpet stretching is cheaper than replacement. The main reason for this price difference is that you need to buy new carpeting for a replacement. On the other hand, carpet stretching utilizes the existing carpet; therefore, no additional purchasing cost is incurred.

Additionally, you get more value for money by stretching your carpet because it extends the life of your carpet. Furthermore, it reduces maintenance costs since your carpet will be easier to clean and less prone to damage through rips and tears after it’s properly stretched.

If you’re considering carpet replacement, you need to assess whether opting for carpet stretching would adequately solve the problem. This will help you to avoid incurring unnecessary costs. Furthermore, it’ll keep you from discarding perfectly good carpeting that can still be used for a couple more years.

Still, carpet stretching will only be helpful for a few years, after which you’ll need to replace the carpet.

Another common question about carpets: Does carpet eliminate the need for baseboards? Find out the answer in my complete guide. [Do You Need Baseboards if You Have Carpet?]


If your home is carpeted, eventually, there’ll be the need for both carpet stretching and replacement. Carpet stretching is cheaper and allows you to get more value for your money before it’s time for a replacement.

However, the question of which service to get also depends on factors such as:

  • The condition of the carpet, which can range from rippling and creasing to more severe wear and tear.
  • Health concerns such as mold, mildew, and recurrent allergies which may be signs that you need a carpet replacement.
  • Stubborn stains and smells, which can’t be fixed by stretching the carpet.

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