Monthly Archives: June 2011

Carpet Stretching – All You Need to Know (To Not Do It Yourself)

Why Carpet Stretching is necessary:

Carpet stretching is, generally, done in two different situations: During the initial installation and for a carpet repair. The initial stretch, during installation, ensures that the carpet is taught, secure, and even across the entire floor covering. Taught carpet will stay in place and stay smooth and flat to the floor where it belongs.

What causes carpets to ripple or buckle:

 

  • Poor installation: The carpet may have been improperly installed. In most cases of a bad installation the installer didn’t use a power stretcher properly or at all.
  • Excessive wear due to traffic: Sometimes a carpet will need to be re-stretched because of wheelchairs, walkers, tricycles, etc. Even when installed to perfection it can become loose from excessive wear.
  • Sliding heavy furniture: Carpet is made of layers of fabric. When heavy furniture slides across the carpet it’s likely that it will cause rippling.
  • Latex: if the latex holding the backing together deteriorates it’s called delamination, the carpet essentially loses its grip on itself, resulting in buckling and loss of fiber.
  • Improper padding for carpet type. Certain pile types require specific padding types; if these are paired improperly, the right amount of grip and support may not be present, resulting in carpet buckles. Make sure you consult a trained professional or manufacturer’s guide when purchasing carpet so you get the right padding to accompany it.

 

If your Carpet is Rippling:

(to stretch or not to stretch)

If you have carpet that looks more like the ocean than a flat carpet, you may have a problem. As soon as it begins to loosen up and become rippled, it wears faster. The bigger the ripples, the faster the ripples grow. This is because carpet is designed to lay flat and not move at all. When you walk on carpet ripples it causes the carpet to move up and down, further loosening it.

If your carpet is loose it’s time to take action. In most cases, carpet stretching can fix the ripples and buckles, and there’s no need to waste money replacing the carpet because of how it lays.

Carpet stretching is a common type of carpet repair that essentially involves pulling the carpet up from around one or more edges of the room, re-stretching it to proper tightness, cutting the carpet to the proper length, tacking back down into place and finally tucking it in along the edge.

Like any type of carpet repair, stretching carpet is more involved than it seems to be. Stretching carpet isn’t just a matter of smoothing out ripples and re-securing, or pulling at the edges by hand as you would a bed sheet. Carpet stretching comes with its own tools and techniques that help you do the job right.

Essential Carpet Stretching Tools

A professional who repairs carpet for a living will have all of these tools on hand. If you decide to try and stretch carpet yourself, most or all of these tools should be available for rental or purchase at a relatively reasonable price. Even contracting out your carpet stretching is far more cost-effective than replacing the carpet, so either way, these tools, in your hands or someone else’s, save you quite a bit of money.

Partial list

 

  • Knee stretcher. A knee stretcher, also known as a kicker, is a special tool that has a grip on one end, to attach to the carpet, and a pad on the other end, for you to ‘kick’ with your quadriceps, (do not kick with your knee!)
  • Power carpet stretcher. In the trade we usually call this too our stretcher. The stretcher is the most important tool for stretching carpet. It’s specially designed to adjust to any size room and help stretch carpet much more effectively than anyone could do by hand (or by knee). A power carpet stretcher features a very long pole with a carpet grip on one end, a wall brace on the other, and a handle lever in the middle. Don’t even try to stretch a carpet without one. This is the most expensive tool most of us carpet people have.
  • Carpet or slotted blade knife. Involved in almost every carpet repair task you can imagine, a good carpet knife will never let you down. In the case of carpet stretching, the knife is used to trim excess carpet from the edge after it’s been pulled tight.
  • Staple gun. An industrial carpet staple gun isn’t a regular staple gun. The staples are far narrower so that they fit between the nap. Carpet staple guns aren’t always necessary for carpet stretching, but it’s good to have on hand just to make sure. Because a properly stretched carpet is pretty tight, the tack strip alone may not hold it down satisfactorily, in which case the staple gun eliminates any doubt.
  • Stair tool. A chisel like tool used for tucking carpet in after cutting it to the right size.
  • Awl. Looks like an ice pick, used to dis-attach carpet from the tack strip
  • Hammer.

 

Carpet Stretching: Do Your Homework First

It’s important to keep a few other things in mind when your carpet repair task is to stretch carpet.

Just as carpet manufacturers specify the appropriate padding type for individual carpet types, so they also specify appropriate carpet stretching methods and amounts. What’s right for some types may not be appropriate for others. For example, tufted carpet with a jute fiber backing needs to be a bit tighter than tufted fiber with a synthetic fiber backing. And some woven carpets will stretch in one direction but not the other. Consult manufacturer instructions or a carpet repair specialist so you have all the facts before you get started. After all, knowing what you’re working with is just as important as knowing what you’re doing.

The following is an over-simplified tutorial. If you don’t already know what you’re doing then you will be better off just hiring a pro. If you decide that you want to tackle stretching your own carpet I suggest that you take your time, use your head, keep your blades sharp, don’t try to just kick it tight with a knee kicker and most of all be careful.

Carpet Stretching Technique

The first step is to empty the room of furniture. If you really know what you’re doing then you can probably work around some furniture but if you’re a novice I suggest that you do yourself a favor and empty the room.

Determine which direction the carpet needs to be pulled. In most cases the carpet only needs to be pulled one direction.

Remove any metal strips that will be in the way. Some flat metal strips need to have nails removed. Another type of metal strip is called a clamp down metal. To free the carpet from the clamp down metal, pry it open (just a little bit) with a flat chisel or a stair tool. There are too many different types of metal strips to describe here so you’ll just have to figure it out.

Use an awl to lift the edge of the carpet. Go to a corner of the room and poke the awl right through the carpet about 6″ from the wall. From here you will be able to pull the carpet up. If you don’t have an awl you can probably use a pair of pliers.

Now it’s time to unpack the carpet stretcher. Set it up so that the foot end is up against the baseboard and the head is a few inches from the wall that you are stretching towards. The power stretcher is more than strong enough to rip carpet so be careful to only stretch the carpet just enough to remove the wrinkles (and maybe just a little bit more). Over stretching carpet isn’t a good idea because you will create ripples going the other direction. So again, only stretch the carpet as much as you need to in order to remover the ripples.

Use the kicker to make small adjustments.

Start at the center of the room and stretch the carpet at a slight angle towards the corners. Each time you push on the handle of the power stretcher you will pull the carpet.

Cut the carpet from the back using the slotted blade knife. You should cut it so that it is still going to belong enough to tuck into the groove between the tack strip and the wall. If you cut the carpet a little bit too short, you can probably stretch it a little bit more. If you cut it too long to tuck it in properly, then just cut some more.

Before moving on to the next area, push the carpet into the nails that stick out of the tack strip. If the carpet is hard to get it to stick to the tack strip then use the carpet staple gun.

Master Bedroom Furniture

The master bedroom in a house is usually meant for the husband and wife. The early concept of a master bedroom involved a simple room with a queen-sized bed and some dressers. But today, a master bedroom has been transformed into a room that caters to the utmost in comfort and luxury. A master bedroom can now be inclusive of a dressing area, a massive walk-in closet, a sitting area, a wet bar, and an adjoining bathroom, and each of these spaces can be adorned with elegant furniture.

The most common master bedroom furniture includes a bed of a specific size, dressers, chests, nightstands, and mirrors. Master bedroom furniture comes in an array of styles, ranging from the traditional to the contemporary. Master bedroom furniture differs from other bedroom furniture in scale and design. Most master bedroom furniture is made of solid wood and metals.

The bed is the most important piece of furniture in any bedroom. In a master bedroom, the size of the bed is the ruling factor. Typically, a master bedroom is adorned with a large bed such as a queen- or king-size bed. Beds are available in different shapes, styles, and materials to suit varying needs.

A dresser is an elegant piece of furniture that primarily functions as a storage space in the master bedroom. A single dresser placed on the left side of the bed is the norm in master bedroom furniture. Depending on the overall theme of the bedroom, one can select anything from a modern to a Victorian-style dresser. Another important piece of master bedroom furniture is the chest. With the introduction of electronic appliances into the bedroom, the chest has evolved into a versatile storage area.

Nightstands and mirrors complete the setting of a master bedroom. A master bedroom normally has a nightstand with one or two drawers. The nightstand is usually placed by the side of the bed. Mirrors are placed over the dresser, and a master bedroom may have one or two mirrors.

Furniture outlets place special emphasis on all kinds of master bedroom furniture. Online sites with an amazing line of furniture stores make shopping easier.

Popular Styles of Bathroom Design

The bathroom has come along way in the past one hundred years. Once just a basic tub set in front of the living room fire and filled with buckets of water, the bathing experience is now a luxury in almost every western home. Back then, a “bathroom” was something only the wealthy and privileged could afford to have in their house. It was this trend which lead to the mass production of bathroom products.

The Edwardian and Victorian styles of the time are still a popular choice today. They look exquisite in a villa or cottage bathroom, and never loose their appeal in terms of design.

Today, thanks to advanced plumbing and modern technology, the bathroom may well have evolved as far as it can. With luxury steam rooms and hydrotherapy baths, it’s difficult to imagine how bathrooms could get any more sophisticated. That said, the bathroom, like any room in the house, is ever changing in terms of design trends.

Here we look at the five most popular styles of bathroom designs. Traditional, Country, Shabby chic, Contemporary and Fantasy.

Traditional

The Traditional bathroom can mean either traditional in terms of Edwardian or Victorian style, or in respect to a standard white bathroom with basic sanitary ware and bath. Here, we’ll be looking at the style of bathroom design where it all started. The Edwardian bathroom.

Over the past decade, with the popularity of TV shows like Changing Rooms, the trend for old-fashioned bathrooms has seen a real upsurge. A rare gem of an old slipper bath or rusty traditional faucet may be found at a scrap yard or in a skip, but thankfully manufacturers are keeping up with demand with skillfully crafted traditional bathroom products.

Certain rooms only work in certain houses, so if you’re living in a modern high rise apartment the traditional bathroom isn’t going to work for you. If you have an old cottage or villa retreat this style of bathroom is one you should definitely consider.

Almost always, the bath is the centre piece attraction of the traditional bathroom. A free-standing roll-top or slipper bath sits proudly on a dark polished floor, and only if going for a traditional continental style bathroom will an inset or sunken tub hold appeal. Either a wall-mounted faucet or a free-standing one looks classy. Deep ridges and curved angles are what makes the traditional sanitary ware what it is – bold and masculine.

When decorating a traditional bathroom both soft tones and bold colours can work well. Strong tones of browns, maroons and greens give a nice warmth to the room, but be sure the bathroom is well lit, maybe with a lavish chandelier. With the right colours, antique gold can look better than chrome. Go for curtains, never blinds. If going for a vanity unit rather than a traditional basin and pedestal, choose an oak or cherry finish; or the white Cynk vanity unit is a good look with traditional baths and toilets.

One of the most appealing things about the traditional bathroom is clutter gives it more of a lived-in effect, thus enhancing the traditional look. Don’t be afraid to put plenty of pictures on the walls – black and white family portraits in gold frames are a good look. A chest of drawers or corner table with scented candles, aromatherapy oils or flowers will really bring the room to life. As a finishing touch an old style set of weighing scales, a large framed mirror or bulky traditional radiator will give the room that cozy old-fashioned feel.

Country

The country style bathroom is perhaps the easiest type of design to create, and like the traditional bathroom only really works well within the right house. The classic country look is best associated with floral wallpaper, high beams, basin frills and a bath canopy. Following the traditional design, cast iron baths and deep ridged sanitary ware are what gives the country bathroom its nostalgic look.

Check, floral or plaid curtains are preferred over roller blinds, and shutters, though rare in England, offer a great form of privacy as well as adding to the country effect. Wood plays a big part in this look, and almost all furniture works well in this setting, especially beech, maple, ash and oak vanity units and cabinets.

Either tiles or wooden floors can be used. Tiles should be a rustic colour, and can be used to create elaborate mosaics. Wooden floors should be varnished to match the furniture. Decorating may see a stenciled motif used as a border, and the technique of rubbing paint on the walls with a sponge gives the room that worn natural look.

Toilets with high level cisterns and pull chains are very rare these days, but a must have for the country bathroom, as are traditional taps for the bath and basin. Just about any kind of free-standing bath will suit the country bathroom. If wishing to have a shower a tiled walk-in shower is the advisable option with a curtain to conceal the area.

For the final touch add wicker baskets filled with pot pouri, wire basket shelves and stylish wall lamps.

Shabby Chic

“Shabby chic”, a relatively new phrase used to describe room designs, is an obscure blend of neglect and style. It is one of the most difficult bathroom designs to create, and it takes a bold decision to go for this bathroom style. It almost certainly achieves its full potential in a continental house, either a French chateau or old Spanish villa.

The absolute opposite of a fitted bathroom, the shabby chic look is a mismatch of styles and products. You can even do the unexpected, like put a put a refrigerator in the corner. Nothing is expected to match and pipework and plumbing are on show rather than concealed. This style is best suited to those who have inherited a bathroom and want to update it a little rather than fork out on a brand new bathroom suite.

The key to decoration is neutral tones with a few dark colors. For the walls choose a matte or flat wall paint. Pale golds and yellows work particularly well as does floral or check patterned wallpaper.

As with the country and traditional bathrooms, cast iron baths are a must. Either a roll-top or slipper bath will do, and although you don’t want holes or rust, the more dilapidated it looks the better. Even consider running sandpaper over the paint work and claw feet. It’s always worth looking out for old fittings at antique shops and car boot sales.

Counter top basins are highly recommended in this setting, and the look out for extremely unusual decorated designs. Place it on a washstand or run-down vanity unit. Add unique ornaments and antique framed mirrors.

Modern

Modern bathrooms are all about what you do with the space you have. Within many bathrooms there is little room to work with, so making the most of the space is essential. This is why fitted bathroom suites are now so popular. Having bathroom furniture made to measure is one of the most practical design solutions when remodeling the bathroom.

How many of us have had a bathroom with a cluttered airing cupboard? With the modern bathroom there’s no need to cram your toiletries, towels and cleaning fluids around the boiler. With fitted vanity units, storage units and cabinets you’ll have all the space you need.

When examining modern bathroom design, wall-hung furniture has to get a mention. White gloss will never go out of fashion, but more recently furniture finishes such as wenge, beech and maple have made a real emergence in popularity.

As well as the furniture, wall-hung sanitary ware is a great space-saving solution while giving the bathroom a contemporary feel. Also, concealed cistern units are a more eye-pleasing look than the standard close-coupled toilet.

Showerbaths are a great practical way of optimizing the space, so that you have the comfort of both bathing and showering. Walk-in showers are also very popular in the modern bathroom, and if buying a shower enclosure for the modern bathroom choose one with a chrome structure over white.

Chrome and stainless steel are the ultimate choice in the modern bathroom, and taps and bath mixers are available in a number of contemporary designs, rather than the traditional style faucets. Also, choose chrome towel rails over standard white radiators, as well as matching chrome accessories..

Don’t be afraid to decorate with bold colours when tiling or painting, getting the contrast right with the chrome and the gloss. If using curtains be subtle with the designs and colours, but preferably go for stylish roller blinds.

Fantasy

Daring to be anything more than conventional, the fantasy bathroom design lets you be truly innovative with your fantasies and tastes. With the emphasis on futuristic, this style of bathroom is the antithesis of the traditionalist.

The fantasy design is ideally exclusive to only larger bathrooms, as with all futuristic interior design large open spaces are what brings the room together. Steam cabins and whirlpool baths are the ideal choice for showering and bathing. Or combine the two will a well designed bath screen and a glass shower panel. Because of their minimal effect, Walk-in showers also work well with modern tiling, chrome shower fixtures and classy shower lighting.

For the sanitary ware go with wall-hung or standard close-coupled toilet and basin with pedestal with acute angles and a contemporary design. Abstract towel rails and wenge wall-hung furniture fit well in the fantasy bathroom, giving it that calm almost surreal look.

The ultimate luxury in a fantasy bathroom would have to be a waterproof TV. You could even think of doubling the bathroom up as gym, complete with exercise bike and rowing machine.