A Basement Finishing Wrinkle You Have to Think About

While basement finishing is our specialty and expertise, we’re often asked if we can help out with other small projects around the house. Here’s one of those little projects that we’re asked to help out with in practically 9 out of 10 houses.

Seriously, If I had a nickel for every time someone asked why their old carpet had wrinkles or bubbles, I could pay for a vacation home in Tahiti! Starting out in the flooring business I have a unique perspective on this one. And while this may not be at the top of your list of concerns for your basement finishing project, it should at least be on the list.

When residential carpet is installed, it is stretched over the top of tack strip which is nailed to the floor around the room. The tack strip has hundreds of tiny nails angled towards the wall, so when carpet is stretched over it, the carpet can’t spring back to the position it was in before.

Carpet Wrinkles More in Basement Finishing Projects Due to Higher Humidity and Temperature Variability

Wrinkles and bubbles occur when carpet isn’t stretched enough during installation. Compounding the problem, carpet naturally becomes looser (“relaxes”) with heat, humidity, and age. Because of carpets natural tendency to loosen and the fact that the vast majority of carpet is installed incorrectly, wrinkles and bubbles are present in the vast majority of homes within a couple years of installation.

When it comes to basement finishing, the wrinkle problem can become an absolute nightmare! Most basements are naturally more humid than the rest of your house, so if you are considering carpet for your basement finishing project, make sure you have a wrinkle-blocking plan.

Ask your basement finishing contractor how your carpet will be installed. If he tells you it’s installed like carpet is always installed, be nervous. If he tells you it’s installed with a carpet kicker by the best carpet guy he knows, run!

In your basement finishing project even the biggest, best carpet installer will fail miserably if he installs with just a kicker. A carpet kicker is a required tool for carpet, but more importantly your carpet needs to be power-stretched with a tool called a power-stretcher or you’re asking for problems.

When we Finish Your Basement, Your Carpet is Guaranteed to be Wrinkle-Free!

Family Room in Local Basement Finishing Project

This power-stretcher tool runs the length of the room, bracing against one wall and stretching the carpet into the opposite wall. Unlike a kicker, a power-stretcher is able to stretch the entire room enough that bubbles and wrinkles are unlikely to appear in the future. Many basement finishing projects end up with a long game room/family room. Without a power-stretcher, you are virtually guaranteed to have a wrinkle problem in the future.

When I was in the flooring business, we received regular requests to re-stretch carpet for new customers who were past the one year warranty offered by the company that installed their carpet. Contrast that with our new installs, which despite offering a lifetime installation warranty, have never had a single re-stretch warranty call.

Construction costs are unavoidable in your basement finishing project. What is avoidable is the cost to have your carpet re-stretched in a couple of years. Make sure your basement finishing wrinkle-blocking plan includes a power-stretcher and someone who knows how to use it!

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