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No New Carpeting? No Big Deal.

No New Carpeting? No Big Deal.

Lately, practically everyone is having to tighten their belts. But there's no need to add insult to injury. If you're reminded daily that new carpeting is no longer in this year's home improvement budget, you can do something about it. Fixing the most glaring problems and being diligent about maintenance not only improves the look of your home, but also your peace of mind.

Carpet Tricks and Fixes
When you think about it, modern carpeting is a miracle of durability, but it's not quite invulnerable. Stains happen, rips occur, and heavily trafficked areas wear down over time. Still, in most cases you can dress up even the most downtrodden areas. Begin by thoroughly cleaning your carpets. If necessary, you can rent a carpet cleaner fairly inexpensively at most grocery and home improvement stores. With your carpets clean and dry, you can now assess and address other problems.

  • Stains: Carpet fiber isn't very absorbent to begin with, and it's usually treated with something to make it even less absorbent. This means that most stains--even if they've been there awhile--can be removed. Oxygen-releasing cleaners and repetition can take care of most stains.
  • Odors: Your carpet isn't particularly absorbent but the same can't be said for the carpet pad underneath. If there is a lingering odor in your carpet, the pad is the likely culprit. Start by really saturating the area with warm water, let it sit a minute, then blot it up with towels or absorbent rags. Repeat several times. Next, do the same using a cleaning and deodorizing product (oxygen-releasing cleaners remain a good choice, but for pet odors consider one of the specialized products sold at pet stores). You need to make sure that the cleaner gets through the carpet to the pad. When blotting it up, really push down on the towels to draw as much liquid back up out of the carpet pad as possible.
  • Rips: Rips are actually quite easy to fix. Pull up the carpet on one side of the rip, squeeze a bit of household glue underneath, and then repeat on the other side. After carefully cleaning up any excess glue, weigh the carpet down with a heavy book until the glue dries.
  • Burns, permanent stains, and other disasters: For areas beyond repair, the only option is to patch the damaged area. This is easier than it sounds. You need a circular carpet patch tool and some double-faced adhesive patch tape. Both are available at home improvement stores. Using the patch tool, remove the damaged carpet. Cut a piece of adhesive patch that is slightly larger than the piece of carpet you removed, and put it in place, tucking the edges under the existing carpet. Now use the patch tool to cut an identically-sized piece of carpet from a remnant and press it into place.
  • Worn areas: In some cases, getting and keeping worn areas of your carpet clean makes a big difference. If not, consider patching the area, if it's small enough, or using an inexpensive area rug to cover it until you're able to install new carpeting.
  • Keep your carpet looking good: Because older carpeting isn't as resilient as new, it requires a little more thought and care. Use door mats to protect carpeting from outdoor dirt, vacuum a little more often, and clean up spills as soon as they occur. Consider treating your carpeting with a spray-on stain fighter.

These simple and quick fixes can tide you over until you can finally replace your carpeting.

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