You can buy carpet repair kits, but they aren’t going to tell you more than I will. If you have a piece of the original carpet, and even if you don’t, you probably have everything else you need, too. Don’t waste money on a kit. Treat yourself with the money you saved after a job well done. Here’s how.
Gather The Materials
Two things are critical for this job.
You must have a piece of the original carpet that you left in a closet or out in the garage that you can use to match the area of the stain exactly.
Don’t panic if you don’t have it. There is an alternative. There’s a bookcase, dresser, spinet piano, or even a couch that you’ll never move with carpet under it. The same kind as the stained carpet, of course. If you cut a patch from there and it stays out of sight, it will be out of your mind, too.
You are also going to need a very sharp knife. A box knife with a brand-new blade is good. An Exacto kn2ife with a new blade is even better, in my opinion.
You will also need:
- A marker and a pen.
- A ruler, T-square, or some other straight edge.
- Something with adhesion – Let me offer guidance. You can try carpet tape, but I advise against it if the patch is in a high-traffic area. Carpet glue works well. Elmer’s glue works well if allowed to cure and used in a place that won’t be getting wet. Be careful using Super Glue or any other quick-drying glue. It has good and bad potentials.
- A long, flat piece of wood about 2 inches wide. It should be about as long as the patch.
- A carpenter’s awl, ice pick, or a really big needle.
- A rolling pin – a soda pop can (unopened), a jar of pickles, anything round that will roll.
- A flat board – a piece of plywood, cutting board, chessboard, you get the idea.
- Weight – I’d go with that ugly lamp Aunt Mildred got you that you hope will be knocked over and broken.
- A small brush – like a firm toothbrush.
Let’s Get Going
If your carpet is a solid color, you are good to go. If it is a pattern, you must match the pattern in the stained area with the new carpet. Replacing anything other than a solid color is tricky, but matching the area brings it from the impossible to the possible.
I’ve seen carpet with thin lines of color, overlapping circles, geometric designs, seven different types and colors of butterflies, as well as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy. If it’s Mickey’s left hand with a grape juice stain on it, you must have Mickey’s left hand on the replacement carpet.
Cut Out The Old
Take a good look at the stained or damaged area of the carpet. Draw a box around it in your mind. If it is a 2-inch x 3-inch box, fine. If it is a 2-foot x 3-foot box, okay. Just get the entire damaged area within that box. Lay your straight edge down on one side of that box and slice it from one corner of the box down to the other corner.
Now, slip the long flat piece of wood under the carpet where you will make your next cut. The idea is to use it so you cut the carpet but not the carpet pad under the carpet.
Continue with the other sides the same way until your box with the stain is cut out. It is not critical yet for the cut to be perfect, but if you can, you should follow the grain of the carpet or intersect it at a 90° angle. The corners are also important. They should be cut cleanly and precisely.
Don’t throw away the stained carpet. It hasn’t outlived its usefulness yet.
Here’s The Tricky Part
It’s time to cut out the patch. Notice the carpet’s nap, see how it runs in rows, and line up the old carpet on top of the new to coincide with those rows. Hold it down tight and try not to let it slip around.
Choose one corner of the old carpet and push the awl down into the new carpet right at the tip of the corner of the old carpet. Pick up the edge of the new carpet and mark the spot where the awl comes through.
Do the same thing with the other three corners, holding the old carpet firmly on the new, not letting it slip. When the fourth corner is marked, flip over the new carpet and use a straightedge and pen to outline the box made by the 4 points.
Use the straightedge again to help guide your cuts outside the pen lines. Doing this will ensure the patch is slightly larger than the patched area.
If The Patch Is Something Other Than A Solid Color?
You will have to use your eyes to place the old patch down with the patterns lined up precisely on the new carpet. Think twice and then cut once.
In With The New!
Take the patch and place it in the square cut-out area. It should make a very snug fit. Look at the lines in the nap. Do they line up? Do the patterns line up? If you have enough carpet to try again, do so if you don’t like how things line up. Temper your cuts the next time to accommodate the changes you want.
Remove the patch and get the glue. If you have carpet tape, lay it down so it runs under the edges of the existing carpet. If you have a tube of glue, put down a line about ½ inch from the edge, then make horizontal and vertical lines about an inch apart. If you have a bucket of adhesive, use a putty knife or a butter knife for a small hole to spread the glue evenly.
Now, lay the patch down in the hole. With glue, you’ll have a chance to wiggle the patch around a little. With tape, best to get it right the first time.
Now, roll over the area with a rolling pin to press the patch down and in. After that, lay a flat piece of wood down over the patch and surrounding area and put Aunt Mildred’s lamp on top of it. Weight will help create a tight bond, and the entire arrangement will keep people off the area until it cures.
It’s Almost Done!
Different amounts of different types of glue take different times to dry and cure, but leaving the area covered and weighted for 24 hours should do the trick. Then remove the weight and the board.
Make sure the bond has set, and take a small stiff brush and gently work around the edges of the patch to brush the nap up and together
A patch in an indoor/outdoor carpet will be noticeable, but the stain will be gone. A patch in a loop carpet will be hard to see if you took your time and did a good job. A patch in a cut loop carpet should be invisible.
By the way, this technique works just as well on carpet that has been cut or torn. Good luck!