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Carpet Repair Basics IV

Mark Violand

In my last article I gave you step-by-step instructions on how to cut the carpet to make a repair on cut pile carpet. In this article I will tell you what to do to make your repair permanent by using hot melt glue and adhering it to the installed carpet.

  • The first step in making the repair permanent is to choose an adhesive to bond the insert to the adjoining carpet. You could use latex or acrylic adhesives that are commonly used to seal seam edges, but my preference is hot melt glue. Using the latex or acrylic is fine, but the carpet cannot have traffic or vacuuming for at least eight hours to allow the glue to set up and cure. I want to have more control over the end result of the repairs I do in the time that I'm there, so I choose hot melt glue.  
  • The next step is to bond the insert to the adjoining carpet. Let's start with the hot glue directions. The glue coming out of HOT hot melt glue gun will melt the polypropylene backings, literally welding the edges of the insert to the installed carpet edges. Now THAT is permanent and bonded.  
  • Using your hot melt glue gun with an extension nozzle, carefully apply the glue to the edge of the backings of the installed carpet around the perimeter of the hole. Be careful not to get too much on the base of the yarns—it can stick them together and give you a repair that looks good from the street but not where you are, if you know what I mean.  
  • Butt the edges of the donor piece up to the hot melt glued edges within seconds of application; hot melt glue hardens and becomes unworkable quickly. Start with the end where the yarns of the installed carpet are leaning over the hole. Trust me on this, you do not want to start from the opposite end and trap those leaning yarns.  
  • Pinch the edges together, tuck, push and tweak and groom as needed with your hawk-bill knife and groomer.  
  • Pile height too low? Pull the donor piece up into alignment with the adjacent backing. Too high? Push the backing edges down into alignment. Still too high? Trim the tips off a cut-pile carpet. Too high on a loop pile carpet, flatten them with a hammer!

    OR if you do use a latex or acrylic adhesive—if you want to be a purist about this—cut a piece of very low profile hot melt seaming tape slightly larger than the hole and place it over the cushion under the hole. You could also use wet tape which is nothing more than paper and scrim. Or you could use cold tape (the kind of tape that has a very sticky adhesive on it). A trick I use to keep the sticky cold sticky tape from sticking to you (did I say it was sticky?) and everything else it darn well wants to stick to is to put a small amount of water in a dish and dip the tape into it and get your fingers wet too. As long as there is a film of water between you and/or what you want the tape to stick to, it will move freely and you can place it where it needs to be placed. When the water evaporates from the tape it will stick just like it is supposed to.

    Then use the sealer on the edges of the installed carpet and the piece you are inserting.

    I caution you, though, about using any type of tape out in the middle of a large room since it may telegraph and look like the infamous hamster caught under the carpet. You've heard the story about the customer's missing hamster (or bird) haven't you? Check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bI7vSYKp8vI. That is exactly what your repair could look like, a bump in the carpet caused by the layers you have inserted.

I still prefer the hot glue method. A very common question I'm asked is "when can I vacuum or walk on it?" Within minutes my client can walk on and vacuum the area I just repaired. After I show them the repair and get their ohh's and ahh's and "I can't see it" comments, I ask them to get their vacuum while I pack up my tools, and then I vacuum the area. Why? Because if the repair is ever going to fail from foot traffic or vacuuming, you want it to fail now, when you are there. You don't want to get a call from your client in a few days just to go back and trim a few frays or whatever. You want to know and know that you know that the repair you just made will last for the life of the carpet. That is my guarantee anyhow. So I vacuum the carpet and fix or tweak it till it looks its best.

So, that's how to make a bonded insert repair. In my next article I will give you step-by-step procedures how to perform pile grafting on berber style carpet.

Mark Violand started his 32+ year floorcovering career in the cleaning and restoration industry. Let Mark show you how to repair carpet professionally and profitably. His reputation precedes him as Northeast Ohio's "go-to" floorcovering inspector, working for carpet, resilient, wood and laminate manufacturers and floorcovering retailers and distributors, along with consulting carpet installation contractors. He still performs carpet repairs on a regular basis.

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